Winning send-off for Ajmal
A review of Wednesday's action in the LV= County Championship, including wins for Worcestershire and Essex.
Division Two leaders Worcestershire gave Saeed Ajmal a winning send-off as they overpowered Leicestershire by 204 runs at New Road in a major step towards securing promotion in the LV=County Championship.
The Pakistan off-spinner took seven more wickets in the match for a total of 63 in nine games, but this was by no means a one-man effort as a young seam attack, led by impressive all-rounder Joe Leach, played a big part in dismissing the Foxes for 253.
A sixth win in 11 games has given Worcestershire a significant cushion in the promotion race before they have to cope without Ajmal for the last five fixtures.
Ravi Bopara steered Essex to a close-run victory over Hampshire at Colchester, his 48 not out at odds with a day where ball dominated bat.
Hampshire started day four relatively secure at 83 for one but collapsed to 171 all out as Greg Smith and Jesse Ryder took seven wickets between them in a manic 28.1 overs.
But the visitors responded in kind, Essex tumbling to 29 for four and 55 for five in pursuit of 133 to win.
Danny Briggs and Liam Dawson finished with four wickets apiece but Bopara's knock, including seven fours and two sixes, won the day.
A total of 13 wickets fell on day three at Cheltenham as Gloucestershire and Derbyshire jockeyed for position.
Derbyshire began by losing eight first innings wickets for 156 to be 372 all out, a lead of just 16 and disappointing given strong foundations of 228 for two.
But Gloucestershire were equally fragile with bat in hand and begin the final day on 137 for five - a lead of 121 - with Hamish Marshall present on 43 not out.