Gurney and Ball rip through Lancashire as Notts win on top-flight return

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Lancashire lost eight wickets for 15 runs on an extraordinary final morning as Nottinghamshire began life back in Division One of the Specsavers County Championship with a win.

The Red Rose resumed on 58 for two and six runs in arrears at Old Trafford, but dramatically collapsed to 73 all out as Harry Gurney and Jake Ball ran amok.

Left armer Gurney took first-class best figures of six for 25, while Ball boosted his chances of an England recall this summer with a nine-wicket match haul.

Nottinghamshire were therefore left a paltry victory target of 10, but even the chase was not without excitement as Joe Mennie took three wickets in eight balls, including two in two.

New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor was out for a golden duck with one still required before newly-promoted Nottinghamshire got over the line with six wickets to spare.

Worcestershire, who pipped Nottinghamshire to last season’s Division Two title, opened their campaign back in the top flight with a 196-run defeat to Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl.

Kyle Abbott’s late burst had left Worcestershire wobbling on 59 for three in pursuit of an unlikely 324 and the Pears succumbed to 127 all out.

Travis Head provided the only meaningful resistance with 45 not out as Abbott finished as the pick of the bowlers with four for 45.

The much-anticipated clash between Yorkshire and county champions Essex ended in a washout, with the Headingley pitch once more deemed unsuitable as the venue suffered its first-ever four-day abandonment.

Essex coach Anthony McGrath, who spent his entire playing career at Yorkshire, was disappointed as he said: “We’d have at least liked to see some work going on out there. It was almost conceding that we weren’t going to play without doing anything.”

In Division Two, Benny Howell’s unbeaten half-century saw Gloucestershire clinch a five-wicket triumph over Kent following a mini-wobble at Canterbury.

From 81 for one – needing 27 more for victory – the visitors stuttered to 102 for five, but Howell’s 52 not out steered them to their total.

David Wiese registered the first championship century of the season as Sussex’s rain-interrupted clash with Warwickshire ended in a draw at Edgbaston.

Wiese amassed 106 from 105 deliveries from number nine as Sussex were all out for 374 and a 75-run first-innings lead, with Olly Stone claiming eight for 80 on his first championship appearance for the Bears.

The players shook hands with Warwickshire on 87 for three in their second innings.

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