Title beckons for rampant Bears

PA Sport
Varun Chopra made a mammoth 195 for Warwickshire in their LV= County Championship clash with Worcestershire

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Varun Chopra made a mammoth 195 for Warwickshire in their LV= County Championship clash with Worcest …

Warwickshire were within sight of the LV= County Championship title after piling on the runs against seemingly relegation-bound local rivals Worcestershire.

Having bowled out Division One's bottom club for just 60 on Tuesday, the Bears declared at 471 for eight as opener Varun Chopra made a mammoth 195 and Ian Blackwell (84) and Keith Barker (40) put on 80 at better than a run a ball.

Worcestershire were 100 for two by the close, with captain Daryl Mitchell unbeaten on 42, but they remained a daunting 311 runs in arrears.

Warwickshire's nearest challengers Sussex were well on top against Somerset, but their failure on Tuesday to amass more than a single batting point will leave them too far adrift should their rivals complete victory.

Steve Magoffin, Lewis Hatchett and Monty Panesar took three wickets each as Somerset were skittled for 134, a first-innings deficit of 87, before Sussex reached 186 for two in their second innings. Chris Nash was 106 not out, with Murray Goodwin on 51 in his final innings at Hove.

Worcestershire's fellow strugglers Lancashire were responding well to Middlesex's score of 446 but will still have their work cut out to force the victory they probably require at Lord's.

The reigning champions began the match 17 points adrift of seventh-placed Surrey and though Neil Dexter added just two to his overnight 123 and Lancashire collected their full three bowling points, Steven Crook hit 66 and Ravi Patel 20 to lift the hosts to 446.

The Red Rose reply reached 236 for three, with half-centuries for Tom Smith, Paul Horton and Ashwell Prince, with the South African set to resume on 57.

But to add to Lancashire's difficulties, Surrey dismissed Nottinghamshire for 227 at the Oval to take a first-innings lead of 42.

Stuart Meaker (29no) and Tim Linley (14) put on 38 for the last wicket to earn the hosts their second batting point and the latter then took five for 62 as Notts subsided, with only wicketkeeper-captain Chris Read (85no) and Sam Wood (45) offering much resistance, including a stand of 92.

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