Leaders triumph between showers

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The Independent Online
The top two teams in the AXA Life League took full advantage of what little play was possible yesterday. Both Warwickshire and Kent dodged the showers to win under the Duckworth-Lewis method.

Warwickshire kept themselves on top with an eight-run win over Worcestershire in a rain-interrupted game at New Road while Kent beat Somerset at Taunton.

In a match reduced to 25 overs Warwickshire won their eighth victory in their last nine Sunday games when Worcestershire, originally set 152 to win, were restricted to 87 for 5 off 16 overs before rain sent the players to the pavilion.

Warwickshire, after being put in, reached 151 for 8 thanks to a 56-run third wicket stand in just eight overs between David Hemp (45) and Nick Knight (24). Ashley Giles (27no) and Keith Piper (14) then hit 41 runs between them off 24 balls.

Kent are two points behind Warwickshire after winning on a faster scoring rate under the Duckworth-Lewis system, making 81 for 6 off 12.2 overs in reply to 89 for 7 off 18.

Trevor Ward (34) and Matthew Fleming (23no) saw Kent home after Andy Caddick (3 for 8) and reduced them to 11 for 4. At that stage the target was 98 off 18 overs, but more rain reduced it to 78 off 13.

As scorers, umpires and both teams held regular consultations about the required target a somewhat farcical contest came to a close when Fleming hit two successive boundaries.

Lancashire lost their chance of making a stronger claim for the title as their game against Gloucestershire at Bristol was washed out.

After being put in they made 41 for 3 in 10 overs before umpires Vanburn Holder and John Harris took them off. The Gloucestershire captain, Mark Alleyne, said both teams had been willing to play on but the umpires insisted the rain was too heavy.