• County Championship round-up

Warks return to summit after draw

May 19, 2012
Paul Horton hit a first century since April 2010 © Getty Images

Paul Horton's first LV= County Championship century in more than two years steered champions Lancashire to a face-saving draw at Edgbaston which took Warwickshire back to the top of the table.

Horton batted through a rain-shortened final day, and for seven and a half hours in all, for his 137 not out to save Lancashire from their fourth defeat in six matches as Warwickshire's bowlers toiled in vain on a flat pitch.

Following on from a first-innings 197 in response to the home side's 557 for six, Lancashire moored up on 343 for five. It was thanks largely to the 14th first-class century of Horton's career - his first in the championship since April 2010.

A top-class contest did not have the finish it deserved at the Kia Oval as Surrey decided to bat it out for a draw in their match against Somerset. Needing 305 to win from 85 overs, after taking the last three Somerset second-innings wickets at the start of the day, Surrey reached a promising 96 for one before a mid-afternoon collapse to 148 for six scuppered their realistic hopes of reaching that target. They eventually ended up on 239 for seven when the match was declared a draw.

A farewell half-century by Michael Klinger helped Worcestershire to a draw after rain on the final morning spoiled a hard-fought match with Sussex at New Road.

The visitors tried to make up for the lost time with a century for Ed Joyce and a knock of 98 by Chris Nash before a declaration at 258 for four left Worcestershire chasing a target of 315 in 60 overs. This was beyond their range in cold and miserable conditions but they made sure of their fourth draw in six games, reaching 174 for four before time was called at 5.50pm with a dozen overs still to be bowled.

In Division Two, despite a brace of declarations that raised hopes for an enthralling last day run chase, Kent's encounter with Division Two rivals Northamptonshire petered out into a dull draw.

The floodlights were on in gloomy Canterbury when the skippers shook hands at 5pm with Kent on 112 for one following an uninspiring pursuit of their victory target of 262 from a minimum of 60 overs. Home captain Rob Key, having posted an unadventurous half-century from 114 balls, was unbeaten with 55 while Ben Harmison kept him company for two hours, limping to 27 not out.

The weather was the winner as Leicestershire's game against Essex at Grace Road ended in a tame draw. Essex were set a victory target of 270 in 60 overs, but in gloomy conditions umpires Peter Willey and Jeremy Lloyds finally abandoned the game at 3.45pm, with Essex on 30 for two from 12.2 overs. The draw earned Essex 10 points and Leicestershire nine.

Yorkshire's rain-hit clash against Hampshire at Headingley ended in the predictably dull draw which had seemed inevitable after the first 90 minutes of the final day were lost to light drizzle.

When play was able to resume following an early lunch, 24 of the day's ration of 96 overs had been lost, and the only chance of a positive result lay in Yorkshire picking up a cluster of wickets in quick time. It did not happen as Hampshire's second-wicket pair of Jimmy Adams and Michael Carberry dug their heels in and the visitors went on to reach 191 for two, with an overall lead of 219, before declaring to end the match.

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