The North finally claimed their first victory in the North-South Series at the fifth attempt to take this year’s series into a decider on Friday.

They held their nerve in the field despite a second consecutive century from South opener Nick Gubbins, with Lancashire leg-spinner Matt Parkinson claiming three important wickets.

Middlesex's Gubbins, who had hit a match-winning 116 earlier this week in the opening clash of the series, continued his exceptional pre-season form, smashing a magnificent 109 off 125 balls in an innings which included five boundaries and two maximums. His efforts were in vain however, as the North's huge total of 335 for 8 proved too tough a task for the South to chase down. 

Earlier the Worcestershire pair of Joe Clarke (71) and Brett D’Oliveira (79) had laid the foundations for the strong North total.

But they were in danger of losing their way until a swashbuckling 64 from Derbyshire all-rounder Matt Critchley on his North debut ensured the South had too much to chase.

Even then there were times in the South reply when the North seemed to be staring at a fifth consecutive defeat, as Gubbins again played beautifully, and Laurie Evans hit 64 from 67 balls.

But Richard Gleeson yorked Gubbins for 109 and then dismissed Delray Rawlins two balls later to change the momentum, and Parkinson then showed his skill to keep up the pressure.

Both teams made two changes to ensure that all 13 of their squads had been involved in the series, with Ollie Pope and Jamie Porter replacing John Simpson and Tom Barber for the South, and Matt Critchley and Matt Fisher replacing Keaton Jennings and Zak Chappell for the North.

Sam Northeast chose to bowl after ending a run of four consecutive toss defeats for the South, but the North got off to a flier with an opening stand of 95 inside 11 overs between Joe Clarke and Alex Davies.

Paul Walter broke the stand by bowling Davies for 42 with a slower ball, then had Sam Hain snapped up by Delray Rawlins at mid wicket.

Clarke powered on to 71 from 58 balls with two sixes and nine fours but his dismissal, pulling Dom Bess to mid-wicket where Sam Curran took a sharp catch, followed the loss of Adam Hose in the previous over, and meant that at 132 for four the North had lost four for 37.

As in the first game, Brett D’Oliveira joined his captain Steven Mullaney to steady the ship in an intelligent fifth-wicket stand.

This time they put on 108 in 18 overs before Mullaney drove Bess to cover, deserved reward for the Somerset spinner who earned figures of two for 47 from his 10 overs.

But D’Oliveira, who had reached his 50 with a straight six off Ravi Patel, moved to 79 off 83 balls before he drove Curran to long on.

And Critchley provided the North with perfect late-order impetus as he swung four sixes in an innings of 64 from 37 balls, one of them bouncing off the roof of the Greenidge & Haynes Stand and going out of the ground.