Cricket: Marsh rallies Kent in title countdown

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The Independent Online
Steve Marsh, the Kent captain, has urged his side to repeat their match-winning Britannic Assurance Championship display against Gloucestershire for their crucial match with Yorkshire, which starts at Headingley today.

Kent ended Gloucestershire's Championship hopes with their 272-run win last week and are now 4-11 favourites for the title after opening up a 12-point lead over second-placed Glamorgan and an 18-point advantage over Yorkshire, who are third.

Marsh said: "Yorkshire are one of the three sides left in contention for the title. If we play the same way as we did last week, we are going to prove a tough side to beat."

Martin McCague and Graham Cowdrey should be in contention for Kent, while Paul Strang makes his last appearance before returning to Zimbabwe.

Yorkshire must avoid distractions over their controversial plans to leave Headingley. The row over the proposed move to Wakefield escalated yesterday when the ground-owners gained a court writ for pounds 17m in damages. The Leeds Cricket, Football and Athletic Company have given up hope of persuading Yorkshire to change their mind about moving.

They will give their England fast bowler Darren Gough a final fitness check before the game. Gough has been troubled by a knee injury.

Essex take on Glamorgan at Sophia Gardens aiming to build on their NatWest Trophy final success. "We know that we simply have to beat Essex," the Glamorgan skipper, Matthew Maynard, said. "If we can do that, it will go down to the final round of matches."

Steve James hopes to be fit to celebrate his England A tour call-up for Glamorgan, while Essex's Ashley Cowan will be celebrating his summons to the party to tour the West Indies.

Fifth meet fourth at Edgbaston, where Warwickshire take on Gloucestershire, with opener Mark Wagh set to return.

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