Worcestershire win wicket feast

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The Independent Online

Worcestershire kept alive their hopes of a late promotion run in the County Championship Second Division by completing a seven-wicket win against Gloucestershire on the third morning at New Road yesterday. They took only 52 minutes to wrap up their third win of the season – and the second in succession – by galloping past a short-haul target of 70.

Worcestershire kept alive their hopes of a late promotion run in the County Championship Second Division by completing a seven-wicket win against Gloucestershire on the third morning at New Road yesterday. They took only 52 minutes to wrap up their third win of the season – and the second in succession – by galloping past a short-haul target of 70.

The result was signposted when Gloucestershire were routed for 87 in their second innings as 20 wickets fell on an unreliable pitch on Saturday. A combination of seam movement and uneven bounce meant that the match lasted for fewer than 200 overs, but Worcestershire are not expecting any points sanction for preparing an "unsuitable" surface.

"The pitch has not been reported by the umpires," said the Worcestershire chief executive Mark Newton before the home side resumed, needing a further 56 to register a seasonal double over the West Country county.

The opener Philip Weston finished unbeaten with 38 for a not inconsiderable match total of 63 in difficult batting conditions and David Leatherdale drove through the covers for the winning boundary in only the 13th over of the day.

Leicestershire took a four-point lead at the top of the Norwich Union National League First Division after a five-wicket win over their nearest rivals, Kent.

Jon Dakin and Shahid Afridi put on 58 for the first wicket as the Foxes raced along at Grace Road but they suffered a mid-order crisis, losing their next four wickets for 44 runs.

But Afridi's 70 – off just 32 balls – was the linchpin of the innings as Leicestershire moved four points ahead of their opponents with a game in hand.

Darren Maddy (25no) and Ben Smith (15no) put on an unbroken 43 for the sixth wicket as the home side reached 145 for 5 in reply to Kent's 144 all out.

Mark Ealham took 3 for 19 but it was not enough for Kent, who had been undone by Leicestershire's James Ormond, who took 3 for 16.

A superb 170-run partnership between Mal Loye and Michael Hussey led the Northamptonshire Steelbacks to a vital eight-wicket victory in the First Division basement battle with Surrey Lions at Guildford.

Having been set a revised target of 176, the visitors – demolished by Surrey in their championship encounter, recovered splendidly from a couple of early blows to hammer the Surrey attack to every corner of a packed Woodbridge ground.

Loye finished unbeaten on 70 and Hussey scored an excellent 96 off just 88 balls as Northamptonshire eased to victory.

The Australian Martin Love's unbeaten 75 was the backbone of Durham's seven-wicket victory over Sussex at the Riverside. The Dynamos had looked in trouble when they lost their first wicket with 11 on the board but Love made sure there were no real doubts about their victory charge which came in 34 overs.

Richard Montgomerie's 47 was the mainstay of the Sharks' 144 all out as the 20-year-old seamer Mark Davies claimed four wickets for a miserly 13 runs and also included two maidens in his seven overs. Victory took Durham level at the top of the Second Division with Worcestershire.

The Zimbabwean Neil Johnson's unbeaten 105 and 53 from Dimitri Mascarenhas helped Hampshire defeat Essex by 85 runs. The Hawks had closed their innings on 213 for 6 but the Eagles were reduced to 128, James Hamblin returning three wickets for 33 runs.

Derbyshire's miserable season continued as they lost by six wickets to Glamorgan at Cardiff.

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