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AXA League Round-Up: Rain saves Lancashire blushes

By Rob Wildman

24 August 1998

LANCASHIRE will go top of the AXA League tonight if they manage to defeat Yorkshire in the first floodlit 40-over match to be staged at Headingley.

Rain ruined Lancashire's match against Durham at Riverside yesterday, though Wasim Akram's team might have been glad of the intervention after 13.2 overs, having stumbled to 43 for four after losing the toss.

Neil Killeen, who twice claimed the wicket of John Crawley in the championship match just concluded for a combined total of 18 runs, once again dimissed the recalled England batsman - this time for seven.

Michael Atherton followed Crawley, caught down the leg side off Martin Saggers, and Paul Collingwood then bowled Graham Lloyd and had Andrew Flintoff caught behind.

At Colchester, only 17 balls were bowled before rain set in for the day, frustrating joint leaders Essex' hopes of going clear at the top. Bobbie Dawson took three leg-side fours off Mark Ilott before being bowled by the left armer off what proved the last delivery of the day.

Persistent drizzle set in after 6.5 overs at the St Lawrence Ground in Canterbury, though that was long enough for Kent's Graeme Hick to be dismissed without scoring. Dean Headley, who bowled superbly, began proceedings with a maiden and, in his next over, had Tom Moody caught behind.

In Ben Phillips' second over, Hick square-cut the fourth ball he faced hard and low to Nigel Llong's right at point. Llong dived to hold a stunning catch. Shortly afterwards, at 2.30pm, the rain set in, yet it was not until 5.40pm that the match was abandoned.

Yorkshire are hoping to maintain a strong challenge for the championship after signing Australian batsman Greg Blewett as a stand-in for compatriot Darren Lehmann for the 1999 season.

The Yorkshire captain, David Byas, said: ``He is an ideal signing and will put us in a strong position to challenge on all fronts next season.''

Lehmann, who is expected to be on World Cup duty next season, remains Yorkshire's first choice in the longer term and has signed for the club for a further two years after next season.

New Zealand will meet Zimbabwe in the opening match of the Wills International Cup in Bangladesh, a limited-overs tournament involving the nine Test-playing nations. The tournament starts on Oct 24 with the final scheduled for Nov 1.

WILLS INT'NAL CUP.- Oct 24, pre-qtr-final: New Zealand v Zimbabwe; Oct 25, qtr-final: England v S Africa; Oct 26, qtr-final: Sri Lanka v New Zealand or Zimbabwe; Oct 28, qtr-final: Australia v India; Oct 29, qtr-final: Pakistan v West Indies.Oct 30 & 31: Semi-finals. Nov 1: Final.

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Date-stamped : 24 Aug1998 - 10:46