Warwickshire defeated Scotland by five wickets

A century by Nick Knight helped Warwickshire to victory and saw his side into the promotion positions in the totesport League.

Results elsewhere mean that Durham and Sussex are assured of promotion but Warwickshire can clinch the final place if they win both of their final two matches. Indeed their superior runrate means that victory over Yorkshire tomorrow at Edgbaston will almost certainly be enough.

Knight's century, his fourth in six matches in all competitions, ensured there was no repeat of May's embarrassing result at Stratford when Scotland inflicted a one-wicket loss on the Bears.

Yet this victory was not entirely convincing. Warwickshire produced their most untidy display of the season in the field and, had the hosts taken their chances, could well have suffered a double reverse against the unfancied Scots.

Knight enjoyed some fortune. He was very badly missed at point on 48 by Qasim Sheikh and survived another chance in the same position of 62. "He's still the best one-day batsman in the country," Scotland's coach, Andy Moles, said. "You just can't afford to give him lives."

The great thing about Knight, however, is his unflappable temperament. Age may have dimmed the senses a little but he remains a tough opponent, blessed with copious experience and an apparently innate ability to judge the tempo of a oneday innings.

He was never at his most fluent but Knight (121 balls, nine fours) kept his head, put away the poor ball and saw his side home with 20 deliveries to spare.

Only the in-form Jonathan Trott lent the necessary support. Trott, who had scored centuries in the previous two matches, defied the pain of a finger he dislocated in the field to stroke six boundaries in a 62-ball innings. His fluency eased the pressure on his captain in a 101-run stand but Trott will regret not seeing the job through as Warwickshire suffered a midinnings stumble that could have been costly.

Jim Troughton, Dougie Brown and Alex Loudon - who survived a simple stumping chance on seven - all fell cheaply. Had the Scots taken the chances Knight offered, the result could well have been different. It was the fifth one-day century of Knight's season and the 29th of a remarkable career.

Earlier, a stand of 123 in 25 overs for the second wicket between Fraser Watts (118 balls, nine fours) and Ian Stanger (89 balls, three fours) laid the platform for a competitive Scotland total. The pair ran brilliantly between the wickets but failed to fully capitalise on the fine quality of the pitch and finished perhaps 30 runs short of a par total.

The Bears were far from their best in the field. Possibly hampered by a bumpy outfield and the blustery conditions, they were guilty of an unusually high number of misfields while Trevor Penney dropped a low chance at second slip when Watts had sscored only seven off the deserving Neil Carter.

James Anyon again bowled well, however. The 22-yearold was the most impressive of the seamers, providing little width for the batsmen and continuing his impressive development, but Naqaash Tahir looked some way short of match fitness. It was again left to the admirable Trott to make up the shortfall of overs.

Meanwhile, Moles is far from certain to accept the Warwickshire coaching post even if it is offered to him. He will be interviewed this week for the position of director of cricket at Edgbaston, but said that he was enjoying his present role greatly and would be torn were he forced to choose between Scotland and Warwickshire.

Moles told The Post: "The situation is that I have a twoyear offer on the table from Scotland. Scotland are aware of my interest in the Warwickshire role and they are aware that I have an interview this week.

"There is a huge amount to look forward to here [in Scotland]. Of course, it would be difficult to turn down the chance to take a team to the World Cup and I've had a great time here with the players and the officials. It's been a valuable experience and I would be sad to leave.

"But it's no secret that Warwickshire is a club for which I have a great affinity. There are five players still on the staff [Knight, Dougie Brown, Penney, Michael Powell and Tony Frost] who I played with and the only job I consider as good as Warwickshire coach is the role of England coach.

"But I don't want to put the cart before the horse. There are five good candidates for the job. I'm looking forward to talking to Warwickshire and we'll have a look at it then. If they do want me, well, it's not a decision that I'm looking froward to taking."