BERKSHIRE Over 50s remain second in Group Five of the County Championship following a fine 44-run victory at home to Kent last Wednesday, writes Richard Ashton.

The home side lost an early wicket when Nick Pitcher was caught off the bowling of Nigel Keess, but from 19-1, Gordon Morgan (38) and skipper Gary Loveday put on 58 until the former was bowled by John Butterworth.

David Shaw (37) took up the baton and added 121 for the third wicket with Loveday, with the captain going on to record a brilliant unbeaten 117 from 137 balls, Berkshire ending their 45 overs on 240-5.

Kent reached 39 before Graham Nicholls edged Peter Randall to wicketkeeper Andrew Davis, and the same bowler then cleaned up Verinder Bhoombla to make it 60-2.

Shaw grabbed a brace of quick wickets as Berkshire turned the screw, reducing their opponents to 73-4.

Kent opener Tim Luckhurst batted well for 43, but when he was bowled by John Macdonald, the writing was on the wall for the away side as they stood on 108-5.

Simon Routh was then caught and bowled by Richard West with just a further run added, although Kent skipper Chris Dale then dug in with a gritty half century.

Macdonald (3-34) picked up a couple more and Randall (4-39) ended Dale's (53) resistance before bowling Doug Forbes first ball as Kent were eventually dismissed for 196 in 43.3 overs.

Berkshire Over 60s 2nds were well beaten by Surrey on Thursday, slipping to an 87-run defeat at Wargrave.

Potts Connolly made an early breakthrough after Berkshire won the toss and chose to bowl, but from 7-1, fine innings by Richard Greatorex (96no from 77 balls), Stephen Isaac (58 from 37), Nigel Angus (45) and captain Stephen King helped the visitors to an impressive 271-5 from their 45 overs.

Connolly (2-35) was the pick of the Berkshire attack, while there were also wickets for Jerry Smith (1-39), Ian Harvey (1-41) and Peter Henley (1-80).

Berkshire found it hard to score at the required rate in reply, although Henly made a fluent 54 from 58 balls.

However, he lacked support, and despite Harvey striking 31 not out late on, Berkshire were only able to reach 184-6.