Moles inspires an unlikely triumph

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The Independent Online
Somerset 495 and 119-4

Warwicks 314-4 dec and 304-7

Warwickshire win by 3 wickets

As solid citizens go,Warwickshire have few more zealots than Andy Moles, who turned this match on its head with a match-winning 131. Challenged to make 301 from what became 80 overs, they triumphed with seven balls to spare.

Moles braved a strained calf muscle and batted with a runner, Nick Knight, for most of a supremely disciplined innings spanning 215 balls and ending in a catch at leg slip with the scores level. His 26th first-class hundred kept a tight reign on Northamptonshire's lead at the top of the table.

The Midas touch has still not deserted Warwickshire, despite their problems in limited-overs competitions. Few teams could dust themselves down after almost two debilitating days in the field, the first innings concession of 495, and manipulate a favourable target to chase, having put in the opposition.

Dermot Reeve, their captain, managed it, having first agreed with Peter Bowler that Somerset would waive the follow-on if he declared more than 150 runs behind.

Bowler, leading his new county for the first time, had a bitter-sweet experience, making 176 but seeing his side suffer a third defeat in four Championship matches.

Dougie Brown was the most profitable ally for Moles during a crucial partnership of 81 in 11 overs for the seventh wicket. Wasim Khan and Roger Twose both played relevant parts, long after Jeremy Hallett's best Championship score guided Somerset to a highly sporting declaration - especially against the team that most are determined to deprive of a title this summer.