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LV=CC, July 16: As it happened

Division Two leaders Worcestershire won again while Essex claimed a nail-biting victory in the LV= County Championship. Gloucestershire steadily built a lead against Derbyshire with a day to go at Cheltenham.

By Rob Barnett & Will Jackson

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6.50pm - Here is a wrap of today's action:

Worcestershire wrapped up a comfortable 204-run victory over Leicestershire, with Saeed Ajmal and Joe Leach taking three wickets apiece at New Road.

Essex made a meal of what seemed to be a simple chase. Needing 133 to win, they were were 80 for seven before Ravi Bopara saw them home by two wickets to inflict Hampshire's first championship defeat of the campaign.

Gloucestershire ended day three at Cheltenham on 137 for five and with a lead of 121 runs against Derbyshire, with Hamish Marshall unbeaten on 43.

6.16pm - Will Gidman falls late in the day. Wes Durston claims the breakthrough as Wayne Madsen holds onto an edge at slip. That ends an 81-run stand that has built Gloucestershire's lead to 105 runs.

5.36pm - Will Gidman and Marshall have fought through the tricky period and spin is on at Cheltenham as the day begins to draw to a close. The scoring has picked up somewhat and it's Gidman in particular who is pushing it along; he has moved into the 30s as the 100 comes up, but just a lead of 85 remember.

4.58pm - Since lunch nine wickets have fallen for 95 runs and despite their earlier collapse, it's Derbyshire who are in the stronger position at the moment.

Hamish Marshall and Will Gidman are digging in, the lead is up to 33 with six wickets remaining.

4.37pm - Alex Gidman is bowled by Thomas Taylor shortly after the players returned from the tea break.

4pm - Tea is taken at Cheltenham, where the home side are in a bit of trouble on 37 for two, with a lead of 21. 

3.40pm - Just the one game going on now, with Gloucestershire and Derbyshire having started a day later than the other two games that came to a conclusion today.

Michael Klinger is the second wicket to fall to Footitt; Gloucestershire are effectiely five for two.

3.36pm - RESULT! Essex (285 & 136/8) scramble to two-wicket win over Hampshire (246 & 171) at Colchester. Sajid Mahmood finishes the game with two boundaries off Dawson, but Essex are indebted to Bopara who finished on 48 not out to see them through to the end while everything crumbled around him.

3.30pm - Will Tavare can't repeat his first-innings heroics and falls for a 17-ball duck after edging Mark Footitt behind. 

3.19pm - Napier becomes Dawson's fourth victim, for a breezy 19. It really is nip and tuck down there, 25 needed with just two wickets left. Bopara remains with 30 not out...

3.10pm - It's going to be a tense finish at Colchester. Graham Napier has come out firing and with Bopara has quickly moved the home team up to 100 with three wickets left.

RESULT! Worcestershire (321 & 416/8d) beat Leicestershire (280 & 253) by 204 runs at New Road. Shaaiq Choudhry removes Charlie Shreck and Worcester remain top of Division Two.

2.56pm - Hampshire are all of a sudden closing in on a shock victory. Tim Phillips is caught at slip as Dawson gets his third scalp. Crucially for Essex, Ravi Bopara is still at the crease but can anyone hang around long enough with him to see it through? 53 runs still needed...


2.45pm - There have been two more quick wickets to fall at Cheltenham, with Tony Palladino and Tom Taylor going back in quick succession to leave Derbyshire 372 for nine.

O'Brien has finally fallen, to Charlie Morris for 57, which means Worcestershire are just one wicket from victory.

2.34pm - O'Brien has reached his half-century at Worcester with a bit of support from Nathan Buck at the other end, but the visitors have just two wickets left.

2.22pm - A counter-attacking innings from Ryan ten Doeschate is brought to an end at 18. He's bowled by Briggs, who has now has four wickets and Essex are struggling on 55 for five.

Meanwhile at Cheltenham, where it's all relatively quiet comparatively, Alex Hughes has fallen for 39 to Benny Howell and Derbyshire have just gone past Gloucestershire's first-innings total with a lead of four runs, at 360 for six.

2.15pm - James Sykes falls to Ajmal, bowled for five. Niall O'Brien is still there unbeaten on 47 but it's looking increasingly forlorn as the wickets continue to clatter around him.

2.08pm - It would appear the end is nigh for Leicestershire as Jigar Naik is caught and bowled by Saeed Ajmal. The league leaders need just three wickets to secure the win.

2pm - Leach has his third wicket of the innings at New Road as Rob Taylor departs for just six, leaving Leicestershire struggling in their pursuit of a draw.

1.51pm - There might be a few nervous butterflies in the Essex dressing room now as Tom Westley is trapped in front on the sweep by Danny Briggs. 21 for two.

Westley is followed back to the pavilion by Jesse Ryder who has also fallen to Briggs. Essex still need 108 to win and the visitors are on a roll...

1.49pm - Liam Dawson reduces Essex to 21 for one at Colchester. Nick Browne is stumped by Adam Wheater from Dawson's first delivery in the innings.

Josh Cobb is snaffled by Joe Leach off his own bowling and Worcestershire inch closer to a win. They need five wickets this afternoon to wrap up victory.

1.42pm - We're back underway in our three remaining games. At Cheltenham, there are just 10 overs left for either team to claim any further bonus points.

Essex meanwhile are 16 without loss as they chase down 133.

1.06pm – Hampshire slumped from 81 for one overnight to 171 all out at Colchester, leaving Essex needing 133 for victory.

Batting to save the game, Leicestershire are 165 for four versus Worcestershire. The visitors to New Road need another 293 to win.

Derbyshire are 326 for five in their first innings, 30 behind Gloucestershire on day three at Cheltenham.

12.53pm – Matt Coles’ late hitting is ended by Smith, who returns 4-46 as Hampshire are dismissed for 171. Essex will need 133 to win after lunch.

12.48pm – Essex’s Smith traps Danny Briggs in front for nought, leaving Hampshire nine down while only 125 ahead.

Tom Smith snares Durston for 58, making Derbyshire 314 for five and just 42 behind Gloucestershire on first innings.

12.34pm – It gets worse for Hampshire, who lose Sean Ervine to Greg Smith.

Wes Durston raises a fifty for Derbyshire, who have bagged a third batting point, and soon after shares a half-century alliance with Alex Hughes.

12.23pm – Hampshire are is real bother now as Panesar has Dawson caught behind. Division Two’s second-placed side lead by 91 with four wickets in hand.

It was happily a brief delay at Cheltenham where play has resumed.

12.09pm – Worcestershire dangerman Saeed Ajmal strikes, removing Dan Redfern for 29 and leaving Leicestershire four down.

11.59am  Hampshire lose a fifth wicket when Wheater edges Monty Panesar to slip.

11.44am – Ryder now has three scalps in as many overs, this time bowling James Vince for 13. Hampshire lead by 71 with six wickets left. They need Adam Wheater and Liam Dawson to hold firm.

11.35am – Leicestershire, batting for a draw against Worcestershire, lose Greg Smith for 46 to Charlie Morris and are therefore 75 for three.

Ryder makes is two wickets in two overs by ousting Carberry for 56. Are Essex scenting victory?

11.20am – Michael Carberry raises a fifty for Hampshire, who lead Essex by 55 in their second innings with nine wickets left on the last day at Colchester.

11.11am – Benny Howell makes the day’s first breakthrough, having Wayne Madsen held at gully for 80 to end a stand of 117 with Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

11.01am – We are under way in games that could go a long way to deciding promotion.

10.50am – There was some sensational drama yesterday as Somerset briefly went top of Division One only to be replaced by Notts. You can watch free video highlights and read about it all here.

10.40am – Good morning and welcome to our LV= County Championship blog. After thrilling wins yesterday for Nottinghamshire, Somerset and Warwickshire here’s how the remaining games, all in Division Two, stand: 

Leicestershire are 56 for two heading into the final day against Worcestershire at New Road. Saving a draw will be the order of the day as the visitors need another 402 for victory.

Hampshire are 83 for one in their second innings against Essex, a lead of 44 after their bowlers earlier did a fine job of restricting the hosts to 285 all out at Colchester.

Derbyshire are 216 for two and moving towards Gloucestershire’s 356 all out after day two at Cheltenham. Unbeaten half-centurions Wayne Madsen and Shivnarine Chanderpaul will have an eye on three figures, while Will Gidman was earlier the last man out for the visitors having amassed 125.

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