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Derbyshire v Leicestershire at Derby

Reports from The Electronic Telegraph

29 May - 1 June, 1998

Day 1: Cork grabs glory for Derbyshire

By Neil Hallam at Derby

First day of four: Derbyshire (71-2) trail Leicestershire (246) by 175 runs

OPINIONS about the merits of Dominic Cork may be divided but few will dispute that Derbyshire's captain possesses an acute sense of occasion.

England coach David Lloyd was dispatched to Queen's Park for a final assessment of Darren Maddy's credentials but saw proceedings dominated instead by Cork, with his first five-wicket return in the championship since 1995.

A week after scoring his first championship century for five years in Derbyshire's victory over Sussex, Cork took five for 72 in four spells of growing control and penetration as Leicestershire tumbled from 158 for two to 246 all out, their last five wickets perishing for only 17 runs.

Chesterfield's reputation for most of its 100 years as a championship venue has been for pitches with pace and bounce and Leicestershire, who won the toss, found this was another of them.

Maddy batted tidily for 10 overs before Phil DeFreitas produced a beauty to have him held at third slip but generally the bowling was too erratic to make best use of conditions until a stricter line and fuller length yielded profit after lunch.

Iain Sutcliffe walked for the faintest of edges after picking off the loose stuff with impressive fluency in his 82 and Leicestershire were in steep decline when Paul Nixon departed to one of the less vociferous lbw appeals of the day, Chris Lewis steered to third slip and James Ormond was bowled offering no stroke.

Day 2: Ormond proves he can handle the pace

By Neil Hallam at Chesterfield

IT was like watching cricket edited for a television highlights programme at Queen's Park yesterday - all fours, appeals, near misses and wickets - as Derbyshire clattered their way to a potentially decisive first innings deficit of 69 runs and Leicestershire lost six wickets in extending their lead by 132 runs.

England A seamer Jimmy Ormond, who missed the start of the season following surgery to remove an abscess at the base of his spine, showed that he is restored to rude health by taking five for 50 as Derbyshire collapsed to 177 all out in 40 overs on a pitch offering pace, movement and bounce, some of it disconcertingly uneven, to a bristling seam attack.

Leicestershire then found conditions no less testing in extending their lead to 201 at tea - already a daunting target on such a ``sporting'' surface.

The recent demolition of an unsightly Sixties office block at the town end has added to the visual appeal of this ground. It retains, however, its tradition of being an inhospitable place for batsmen and Ormond, Alan Mullally and Chris Lewis took full advantage as the ball reared and seamed from a full length and Derbyshire, 71 for two overnight, lost their last eight wickets in only an hour and a half.

Lewis and Mullally made the breakthrough and Ormond, who had taken the first two wickets the previous evening, polished off the innings in his first championship appearance of the season.

``He is full of enthusiasm after his lay-off and it is good to see him looking so sharp so soon,'' commented Leicestershire's injured captain James Whitaker, also due for surgery shortly on a knee condition.

``We would have given him more time to get back to match fitness, but with David Millns in hospital with an ear infection last week and Phil Simmons struggling with a side strain, we had to bring him in after only one second team game. He has looked fired up and pacy.''

An opening stand worth 76 reinforced Leicestershire's position until Darren Maddy sliced a drive to first slip and they were in steep decline when Vince Wells, who had grafted for 42 overs over 64, was brilliantly held in the gully.

Day 3: Mullally treats the wounded

By Neil Hallam at Derby

Leics (246 & 186) bt Derbys (177 & 217) by 38 runs

BATTING was never a comfortable experience on a Queen's Park pitch which maintained its sporting character throughout but it was hard to imagine, as Leicestershire won by 38 runs with an hour and a day to spare, that this season will produce many more eventful or absorbing contests than this.

The ball bounced, swung and seamed at pace from first over to last and there was sharp turn on the final afternoon but Derbyshire, resuming at 43 for one in pursuit of 256, for much of the day looked capable of overcoming steep odds as injury problems strained Leicestershire's resources.

James Ormond bowled only two overs before limping off with a sore groin, Phil Simmons was unable to bowl at all because of a strained side and with David Millns out with an ear infection the burden on Alan Mullally and Chris Lewis was never lifted for long.

Mullally rose manfully to the task with four for 57 in 24 overs of sustained hostility and Leicestershire were similarly well served when Lewis, leading the side in the continued absence of James Whitaker, turned to the gentler pace of Vince Wells and the left-arm spin of Matt Brimson for respite.

Adrian Rollins perished early, edging to second slip, but nightwatchman Kevin Dean stuck fast until after lunch and Derbyshire's hopes perked up when Kim Barnett took charge of a fifth wicket stand with Michael May which added 81 runs in 26 overs.

Both endured frequent alarms but their willingness to graft looked like paying off until a double bowling change paid immediate dividends.

Barnett was deceived by Brimson's awkward bounce and May fell an over later, miscueing a return catch to Wells.

Karl Krikken fell for a duck and Derbyshire had a change of tactics once Matt Cassar had steered to second slip, clearly deciding that patience and application were less likely to redeem their situation than muscular aggression.

Dominic Cork hoisted Brimson straight on to the pavilion balcony to take Derbyshire past the 200 mark but the next ball ended in the hands of first slip and Phil DeFreitas followed in almost identical fashion to give Leicestershire a second championship win.

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
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Date-stamped : 01 Jun1998 - 06:34