Smith spell fires Lancashire title hopes

Tom Smith took four wickets for just seven runs as Lancashire's bowlers needed only 55 minutes to wrap up their vital 98-run victory over Worcestershire in the County Championship at Blackpool on Saturday.

Gary Keedy started the ball rolling for the title contenders by claiming his 50th championship wicket of the season when he had Aneesh Kapil smartly stumped by Gareth Cross for seven.

The rest of the morning belonged to Smith, who began his best spell of the season when he had nightwatchman Shaaiq Choudhry caught low down at backward point by Stephen Moore for four and wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Scott soon followed after being trapped lbw. Smith then struck the final blows, bowling Richard Jones and having Alan Richardson caught at second slip.

James Vince's third century of the season put Hampshire on the way to a stunning 209-run victory over Warwickshire at Edgbaston. Vince made an eye-catching 145 as the Division One strugglers overcame a first-innings deficit of 109 and then routed Warwickshire for 98.

Somerset's rain-affected match against Nottinghamshire ended in an almost inevitable draw at Taunton, a result which further dents the hosts' title aspirations. When play did eventually get under way, Samit Patel celebrated his England one-day selection with his third century of the summer, while his overnight partner Riki Wessels scored a season-best 82. Together they added 178 to help Notts to 402 for nine in reply to Somerset's 177.

Yorkshire fell just short of an audacious attempt to secure victory over Sussex after being set 344 off a possible 54 overs in their match at Scarborough. The hosts closed on 312 for six, just 32 runs away from the winning line, as they settled for a draw. The platform for the chase was laid by Jacques Rudolph, who thrashed 120 off 125 balls.

In the Second Division, Northamptonshire's David Lucas took four for 75 to help the county move closer to promotion as the leaders completed a 165-run victory over Derbyshire at Chesterfield. PA

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