Sussex moved themselves into title contention with a three-day win over Middlesex at Hove, while in the Clydesdale Bank 40, the Netherlands’ encouraging campaign ended with a whimper at Old Trafford.
Sussex moved up to second in the LV= County Championship after beating Middlesex inside three days at Hove. The visitors began the day on 92 for two in their second innings, but could make only 211 as Sussex’s four bowlers shared the wickets. This left the home side needing just 95 to win, which they knocked off for the loss of just two wickets.
In Division Two, Leicestershire put up a fight on the third day against Northamptonshire, but still face a tricky final day if they are to avoid defeat at Wantage Road. Shiv Thakor and Claude Henderson both made half-centuries for the Foxes to ensure that they avoided the follow-on by being bowled out for 299. This gave Northamptonshire a 100-run lead on first innings, which they had extended to 311 by stumps thanks to half-centuries from Stephen Peters and Niall O’Brien.
The Netherlands’ hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals of the Clydesdale Bank 40 now hang by the slenderest of threads following their nine-wicket demolition at the hands of Lancashire at Old Trafford. In a match that was reduced to 27 overs aside before the start, the Dutch were bundled out for just 68, with slow left-arm spinners Stephen Parry and Gary Keedy each picking up three cheap wickets. Stephen Moore hit 50 not out in the successful Lancashire run chase.
In Group B, three batsmen hit centuries in a high-scoring match at Chester-le-Street. Durham’s openers, Phil Mustard and Mark Stoneman, both reached three figures and added 157 in just 17 overs for the first wicket. It was Mustard’s second explosive century in as many days and came off only 55 balls. Gordon Muchall then came in and added an unbeaten 75 off 70 balls to take the home side to 307 for two after 40 overs. Glamorgan skipper Mark Wallace then hit his maiden list A century in their reply and added 117 with Marcus North (59 off 58 balls) for the fourth-wicket, but wasn’t enough and they were bowled out for 248 with Gareth Breese taking four for 50.
Marcus Trescothick blazed 87 off only 69 balls to help Somerset comfortably overhaul Nottinghamshire’s total of 206 for nine with more than ten overs to spare at Taunton. That followed up an even more impressive performance with the ball from Pakistani left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman, who took six for 16 opening the bowling.
In Group C, Kent trounced Derbyshire at Canterbury thanks to a sublime 143 off only 113 balls from young opener Sam Billings. The 21 year-old, who has already caught the eye of former England captain Michael Atherton, brought up his century off 97 balls and hit 18 boundaries in total during his innings. His excellence left Derbyshire needing 249 for victory and they never got close and all for just 137 with Darren Stevens taking five for 36.
Yorkshire beat the Unicorns by five-wickets with three overs to spare at Headingley. They restricted the amateurs to 150 for six from a reduced 37 overs, with Keith Parsons top-scoring with 48 not out and Adil Rashid taking three for 24. In reply, Yorkshire slipped to 71 for five, but Gary Ballance (69 not out off 83 balls) and Azeem Rafiq (34 not out off 48) shared an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 91 to avoid any embarrassment for the home side.
Day Four, LV=CCD2, Northamptonshire v Leicestershire at Wantage Road
Group C, Warwickshire v Kent at Edgbaston (1540 GMT start)
Weather Forecast: The rain returns tomorrow to end the brief dry spell. It will make its way in from the west and work its way steadily eastwards throughout the day. Temperatures will peak at around 19 degrees Celsius.
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