Worcestershire hopes dashed by Hutton

Worcestershire's hopes of pushing into the top four of the Frizzell County Championship were crushed yesterday when they suffered a six-wicket defeat at home to Middlesex. The visitors easily reached the victory target of 104 runs with Ben Hutton's 43 off 63 balls the highlight of the second innings.

Simon Cook (6 for 89) was the star of the Middlesex attack as the Pears were dismissed for 323. Andy Bichel (108) and Andrew Hall (81) were the only players to distinguish themselves.

The Sussex batsman Tony Cottey hit 185 to put his side in control of their match against Kent at Hove. Cottey's first-innings effort, along with 123 from Matt Prior, helped the home side reach 618 after resuming on 396 for four in the morning.

Kent needed to dig in to avoid defeat but finished 99 for 3 at the close of play as captain David Fulton fell three runs short of a half-century when he was caught and bowled by Mark Davis. England batsman Ed Smith was earlier out for just four at the hands of Mushtaq Ahmed. Matthew Walker (32 not out) offered a thin ray of hope for the visitors.

In Division Two, leaders Nottinghamshire were closing in on third-place Hampshire's huge total of 641 for 4 declared at Trent Bridge in a match poised to end as a draw today.

Notts climbed to 534 for 6 by stumps as David Hussey struck 20 fours and four sixes in his 170. Darren Bicknell also added 103 for the hosts with Shane Warne claiming two wickets for 133.

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