Northumberland ended their long wait for a victory in the National Counties Championship with a 98 runs success over Cumbria at Carlisle in Eastern Division Two.
It was Northumberland’s first three-day win since they beat Cambridgeshire at Jesmond in August 2016 and ended a winless run of 19 matches in the competition.
Alasdair Appleby was Northumberland’s match-winner but in an unfamiliar role. The left-handed batsman has scored heavily this season but it was with his occasional off-breaks that he turned the match.
Appleby had taken only two wickets in the competition before this match but he followed up his three for 30 in the first innings by breaking a threatening third wicket stand of 86 between Nathan Waterston (42) and Matt Sempill (49).
Appleby then removed Tom Benn for duck and struck a decisive blow just before tea when Sempill departed.
Appleby took his fourth wicket for a career-best return of four for 33 in 20.5 overs when Sam Sharp was LBW to wrap up the win.
Slow left armer Oli McGee also took four wickets to finish with a career-best match haul of ten for 121.
Former Hampshire batsman Oli Soames led Dorset to an eight wickets win over Wiltshire at Wimborne with his second half century of the match.
Soames followed up his first innings 55 with 91 from 114 balls to see Dorset home in some comfort in a low-scoring contest.
A target of 141 had looked potentially tricky but Soames and Josh Digby got Dorset most of the way home with an opening partnership of 120 in 37 overs.
Soames missed out on a maiden century in the competition when he was caught behind off Ed Young with Dorset 14 away from victory.
Earlier Dorset had wrapped up Wiltshire’s last four wickets for 11 runs with seamer Ben Fletcher and slow left-armer Rob Pack taking two apiece. Pack finished with career-best match figures of nine for 82.
Cheshire were indebted to left-arm seamer Ben Gibbon for a decisive contribution which opened up their route to an eight wickets win over Oxfordshire at Banbury.
Gibbon broke a stubborn fifth wicket partnership of 135 between Tom Cosford and George Tait which threatened to bat Oxfordshire into a match-winning position.
Having bowled Tait for 42, Gibbon then snared Cosford four short of a century and two balls later accounted for dangerman Gareth Andrew.
With former Yorkshire and Derbyshire slow left-armer David Wainwright getting rid of Will Sutcliffe and Matt Warner, Oxfordshire lost five wickets for 20 in 16 overs.
The last wicket pair of Robbie Shurmer and Joe Thomas then held up Cheshire for 45 minutes while 22 more valuable runs were scored.
Thomas kept Oxfordshire in the hunt by having openers Tim Hughes and Calum Rowe LBW but Rob Sehmi, with his second half century of the match, and Sam Perry soon slammed the door shut with an unbroken third wicket partnership of 160 in 27 overs.
Herefordshire made it two wins out of two in Western Division Two by beating Shropshire – and the forecast rain – by seven wickets at Shifnal.
Shropshire were only 32 ahead with three wickets in hand at the start of the day but they made Herefordshire wait until the afternoon session before victory was secured with Matty Simmonds (40) and David Laird (30) adding 65 in a stubborn eighth wicket partnership.
But the end came quickly after Laird was stumped off slow left-armer Matt Pardoe (four for 50) and Herefordshire were left needing 110 for victory.
Pardoe went cheaply but first innings century-maker Ben Chapman-Lilley and Nick Hammond added 50 for the second wicket and Hammond – who finished 44 not out – and Connor Smith 55 in an unbroken fourth wicket stand.
Rain ruined the prospect of an intriguing finale at Sandford where Devon and Wales NC had to settle for a draw.
Wales’ morning declaration challenged Devon to make 286 in around 80 overs plus the final hour. They were 82 for two at lunch with Matt Thompson unbeaten on 32 but, with the match nicely balanced, the rain arrived and did not relent.
Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire fought out a draw at Bishop’s Stortford in Eastern Division Two with Dominic Chatfield’s unbeaten 64 blunting Bedfordshire’s attack after former Kent, Hampshire and Essex paceman Matt Coles had taken three early wickets.
Chatfield batted three-and-a-half hours and faced 174 balls while Essex all-rounder Eshun Kalley proved equally obdurate, batting 90 minutes and facing 87 balls for his seven not out.
Earlier Matt Taylor made 64 not out to help left Bedfordshire to 173 all out in their second innings with slow left-armer Ben Waring taking four for 30 in 28 overs, 12 of them maidens.
Staffordshire’s hopes of starting their Eastern Division One campaign with a win over Lincolnshire at West Bromwich Dartmouth were frustrated by rain.
Beefy showers prevented play until 4pm which meant that Lincolnshire had the easier task of surviving only one session instead of three.
Only nine overs were bowled before the rain returned during which time Lincolnshire added 17, all bit one of them scored by Leicestershire batsman Hasan Azad, who was unbeaten on 33 when the terminal deluge arrived.
National Counties Championship (final day of three)
Eastern Division One
Manor Park: Suffolk 269 (Josh Cantrell 71, Feroze Khushi 65), Norfolk 132-6 (Ben Wilcox 57). Match abandoned. Norfolk (8pts), Suffolk (8pts).
West Bromwich Dartmouth: Staffordshire 388-7 (Alex Mellor 140, Zen Malik 96) & 226-6 dec (Liam Banks 61, Zen Malik 54), Lincolnshire 144 & 99-1. Staffordshire (12 pts) drew with Lincolnshire (7 pts).
Eastern Division Two
Carlisle: Northumberland 242 (Alasdair Appleby 65) & 193 (Matt Siddall 5-50), Cumbria 172 (Oli McGee 6-49) & 165. Northumberland (22pts) beat Cumbria (4 pts) by 98 runs.
Bishop’s Stortford: Bedfordshire 307 (George Darlow 88, Jack Fuller 53) & 173 (Matt Taylor 64 not out), Hertfordshire 246 (Andrew Neal 73) & 123-4 (Dominic Chatfield 64 not out). Hertfordshire (10 pts) drew with Bedfordshire (11 pts).
Western Division One
Wimborne: Wiltshire 194-9 dec (Ed Young 53, Will Wade 51, Rob Pack 6-38) & 119, Dorset 172 (Oli Soames 55) & 145-2 (Oli Soames 91). Dorset (20 pts) beat Wales (5 pts) by eight wickets.
Banbury: Oxfordshire 329-9 (Gareth Andrew 73, George Tait 50) & 237 (Tom Cosford 96), Cheshire 354-8 dec (Will Evans 112 not out, Calum Rowe 75, Rob Sehmi 65) & 216-2 Rob Sehmi 80 not out, Sam Perry 76 not out. Cheshire (24 pts) beat Oxfordshire (7 pts) by eight wickets.
Western Division Two
Shifnal: Herefordshire 347-9 (Ben Chapman-Lilley 125, Connor Smith 68) & 110-3, Shropshire 149 & 307 (Graham Wagg 65, Simon Gregory 53). Herefordshire (24 pts) beat Shropshire (4 pts) by seven wickets.
Sandford: Wales NC 229 (Connor Brown 60, Cameron Herring 54, Kaz Szymanski 5-26) & 261-9 dec (Oskar Kolk 134, Cameron Herring 74), Devon 205 (Matt Golding 59, Sam Pearce 5-68) & 82-2. Devon (9 pts) drew with Wales NC (9 pts).