Northumberland ended a six-year wait for a National Counties Trophy win thanks to a century from opener Alasdair Appleby which took them to a three wickets win over Lincolnshire in the first county match staged at Allendale.
Northumberland had lost ten consecutive games in the competition since they beat Cambridgeshire in May 2016 but Appleby’s first century in the Trophy helped them break the drought.
The left-hander followed up a century against Cheshire in the T20 competition last month with 118 from 111 balls with five sixes and 16 fours.
Appleby and Stuart Poynter added 109 for the third wicket and although Northumberland stuttered as they closed in on a target of 275 they got home with 15 balls to spare.
Half centuries from Ben Wright and Jack Timby, on his first county appearance in three years, who shared a fourth wicket partnership of 109 but it was not enough to save Lincolnshire from defeat.
Former Durham batsman Gary Pratt scored the day’s other century, a competition-best 122 which helpedCumbria beat Herefordshire by 18 runs at Cockermouth.
Pratt’s century was his fifth in the competition and it dominated a fourth wicket partnership of 146 with Matt Sempill (49).
Herefordshire recovered from one for two thanks to a third wicket partnership of 116 between Zain ul-Hassan and Jujhar Johal.
Jake Rowe sustained the chase with a half century on his competition debut before Sempill took two wickets in ten balls.
Former Worcestershire Academy all-rounder Ed Bragg shone with bat and ball to help Buckinghamshire beat Wiltshire by six wickets at High Wycombe.
Bragg took four 29 with his seamers as Wiltshire were dismissed for 187 which owed much to Jake Goodwin’s 68.
He then made 58 from 55 balls to help steer Buckinghamshire to a target of 188 with more than 20 overs to spare.
Bragg shared a third wicket partnership of 111 with Conrad Louth (44) after his Halesowen club-mate Alexei Kervezee, the former Worcestershire and Netherlands batter, had launched the chase with 55 from 22 balls.
Kervezee completely dominated an opening stand of 67 with Chris Marrow.
Staffordshire held their nerve to defeat Wales NC by three wickets in a tense finish at Himley.
The match, which reduced to a 35 overs contest by overnight rain, finished in drizzle and semi-darkness with Staffordshire getting to a target of 180 with eight balls to spare.
A third wicket partnership of 79 between Zen Malik (48) and Michael Hill (45) to within 45 of their target but five wickets went down in the gloom before Jack Redman and Alex Coates got Staffordshire home.
Wales’ catching, a strength when they reached last season’s Trophy semi-finals, let them down with three catches of varying degrees of difficulty being put down.
Wales also looked set for a bigger total than their 179 all out as Tom Bevan, Steve Reingold, Conor Brown and Greg Smith all passed 20 but no-one made more than Smith’s 34.
Holders Berkshire were beaten by five wickets by Cornwall at Truro.
Half centuries from captain Dan Lincoln and Hampshire staff man Toby Albert took Berkshire to a useful 279 for nine.
But Cornwall paced their chase to perfection and got home with three balls to spare.
Openers Christian Purchase and Chris Gibson laid the platform with a stand of 92, Paul Smith (49) and debutant Max Tryfonos steadied the ship after the loss of four quick wickets with a fifth wicket partnership of 67 and Tryfonos (56 not out) and Dan Lello finished the job by adding 62 in an unbroken sixth wicket alliance.
Devon bounced back from a heavy defeat at the hands of Berkshire last week by trouncing Bedfordshire by 161 runs at Exeter.
Plympton left-arm seamer Jonty Walliker took four for 40 on his Devon debut including the wicket of Northamptonshire batter Charlie Thurston, on his first appearance for Bedfordshire in five years.
But it was the early inroads made by Dan Goodey (three for 20) and Somerset seamer Ned Leonard (two for 38) that undermined Bedfordshire who collapsed to 59 for eight.
Sam Jarvis’s unbeaten 30 provided some resistance but Bedfordshire were shot out for 123 with more than 15 overs unbowled.
In contrast, Devon’s 284 for seven was based on solid contributions down the order with Sam Read and Calum Haggett making half centuries.
Rain prevented results in the two Group Three matches with a complete washout at Oswestry whereShropshire were due to host Suffolk and only one innings completed at Manor Park where the weather closed in at the halfway stage between Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.
Cambridgeshire made 226 for eight in their 50 overs with Lee Thomason top scoring with 66. Thomason shared partnerships of 55 for the fifth wicket his captain Callum Guest and 51 for the sixth with debutant Danny Mohammed, the Peterborough Town all-rounder.
National Counties Trophy
Cockermouth: Cumbria 288-6 (Gary Pratt 122), Herefordshire 270 (Zain up-Hassan 78, Jujhar Johal 61, Jake Rowe 51). Cumbria won by 18 runs.
Allendale: Lincolnshire 274-7 (Ben Wright 71, Jack Timby 54), Northumberland 278-7 (Alasdair Appleby 118, Stuart Poynter 58). Northumberland won by three wickets.
Truro: Berkshire 279-9 (Dan Lincoln 61, Toby Albert 51), Cornwall 280-5 (Christian Purchase 63, Max Tryfonos 56 not out, Chris Gibson 52). Cornwall won by five wickets.
Exeter: Devon 284-7 (Sam Read 66, Calum Haggett 63 not out), Bedfordshire 123 (Jonty Walliker 4-40). Devon won by 161 runs.
Manor Park: Cambridgeshire 226-8 (Lee Thomason 66) v Norfolk. No result.
Oswestry: Shropshire v Suffolk. Abandoned.
High Wycombe: Wiltshire 187 (Jake Goodwin 68, Ed Bragg 4-29), Buckinghamshire 191-4(Ed Bragg 58, Alexei Kervezee 54). Buckinghamshire won by six wickets.
Himley: Wales NC 179, Staffordshire 180-7. Staffordshire won by three wickets.