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Northamptonshire v Lancashire at Northampton

Reports from The Electronic Telegraph

3-6 June 1998

Day 1: Rose seizes the initiative

By Andrew Radd at Northampton

First day of four: Lancashire 152-8 v Northamptonshire

FRANKLYN ROSE'S first five-wicket haul in the championship condemned Lancashire, whose acting captain John Crawley lost a significant toss, to a day of fragile insecurity in showery conditions at Wantage Road.

The 26-year-old Jamaican accounted for Nathan Wood and Crawley in his opening spell, and returned in the afternoon to dismiss the increasingly impressive Andrew Flintoff, plus Warren Hegg and Glen Chapple, in the space of 24 balls before bad light and then heavy rain prevented any further cricket.

Rose made effective use of a pitch offering some movement off the seam. Devon Malcolm lent useful support and was denied a hat-trick by Hegg after Graham Lloyd had edged behind aiming an ugly leg-side heave and Mike Watkinson fell next ball, playing back to a delivery of full length.

Flintoff's innings provided the undisputed batting highlight. Driving with power and confidence, he reached 46 from 51 balls, including nine fours, but his concentration was broken by an interruption for rain shortly after lunch and upon the resumption he miscued a drive to mid-off.

Day 2: Lancashire suffer as Loye cuts loose

By Andrew Radd at Northampton

Second day of four: Northants (248-5) lead Lancs (230) by 18 runs

LANCASHIRE'S bowlers, like Glamorgan's in the previous championship match at Wantage Road, yesterday came across Mal Loye in irresistible form. The dust barely having settled from his record-breaking triple century against the Welshmen, Northamptonshire's man of the moment kicked on with an unbeaten 119 as his side eased into the lead.

Loye's latest exhibition of high calibre strokeplay featured 16 fours and his partnership with Tony Penberthy, worth 105, rescued Northants from a perilous position at 73 for four. At the end of the day he found a familiar ally in David Ripley, though their stand of 70 does not yet threaten the 401 of 10 days ago.

Lancashire's innings achieved respectability through the doughty efforts of the ninth-wicket pair, Ian Austin and Peter Martin. They added 84 in 25 overs before Austin, three of whose 11 rasping boundaries came in the space of seven deliveries from Devon Malcolm, fell to Taylor, and Martin followed in Malcolm's next over.

Despite Loye, Northants still have problems at the top of their order. Openers Richard Montgomerie and Russell Warren both went at 25, Rob Bailey was bowled offering no stroke and Kevin Curran sliced an expansive drive to third man.

Loye, missed at long leg on 41, and Penberthy halted the slide - the Cornish left-hander justifying his championship inclusion after a sequence of consistent limited overs scores.

Day 3: Flintoff century lifts Lancashire

By Andrew Radd at Northampton

Third day of four: Lancashire (230 & 311-3) lead Northants (332) by 209 runs

JOHN Crawley and Andrew Flintoff, with a century apiece, have drastically altered the complexion of a match which Northamptonshire looked to have well in hand, having secured a 102-run advantage on first innings.

Lancashire's acting captain contributed a composed 109 in 3.5 hours, but was outshone by 20-year'-old Flintoff an exciting bruiser of a batsman. His career-best unbeaten 124 contained two sixes - the second carrying him into three figures - and 17 fours.

The pair added 166 in 33 overs and revived the visitors' cause in style after the loss of Nathan Wood and Neil Fairbrother before the arrears were cleared.

Crawley eventually fell to Swann, but Flintoff, a star of the very near future who packs a hefty punch with his full-blooded driving and pulling, has power to add today.

Crawley had earlier seen Mal Loye, a former England A and under-19 colleague, increase his tally of first- class runs since last being dismissed to 471 in 18 hours at the crease before Peter Martin moved one away with the new ball to have him taken by Flintoff at second slip for 149.

John Emburey, Northants' chief coach, believes Loye could press for international recognition before long. ``The England side looks rock solid at the moment, but if Mal can put together another couple of scores then I imagine the selectors will be on the phone asking how he's playing,'' Emburey said.

Loye's departure triggered a collapse which saw the last four Northants' wickets tumble in 29 balls as Martin and Glen Chapple mounted an effective damage limitation exercise.

Day 4: Malcolm adds power lines

By Andrew Radd at Northampton

Final day of four: Northamptonshire v Lancashire

NOTHING would give Devon Malcolm greater pleasure than to be asked to produce an updated version of his forthcoming autobiography in a couple of years' time to take account of his highly successful 'second career' with Northamptonshire.

The events of last Friday evening would not, in all probability, feature too prominantly in that sequel. Feeling the full weight of Andrew Flintoff's bat, not to mention those of Neil Fairbrother and John Crawley, the 35-year-old paceman conceded 93 in 14 nightmarish overs.

Yesterday's proceedings at Wantage Road stand much more chance of getting a line or two. The radar having been given a swift kick to restore it to working order, Malcolm claimed four Lancashire wickets in 32 balls before the visitors declared on 438 for eight.

Needing 337 for victory in a minimum of 66 overs, Northamptonshire were given a chance by Mal Loye, whose fluent 71 boosted them to 124 for three at tea.

Malcolm rejoined the attack in the morning after a testing early spell from Paul Taylor which included the wicket of Flintoff, leg-before without addition.

In cool and misty conditions, Malcolm accounted first for Graham Lloyd, who edged a ball of full length to the wicketkeeper after a bustling 49, with seven fours.

His next over found him on a hat-trick for the second time in the match. Mike Watkinson and Ian Austin both fell lbw as Malcolm enjoyed a profitable return for pitching the ball up, and another would-be toe crusher homed in on Glen Chapple's leg stump and knocked it flying.

Since joining Northamptonshire during the winter, Malcolm has been only too willing to stress his determination to recapture an England place, and when he gets it right, there are few more threatening fast bowlers to be seen on the county circuit.

His tally of 25 championship wickets in five matches for his new club underlines the fact that he still has much to offer, although David Graveney and his colleagues might baulk at selecting a man conceding just over four runs an over as the spearhead of their Test attack.

Warren Hegg, as busy as ever, steered Lancashire to their lunchtime declaration with an undefeated 56 and Northamptonshire began their chase under gradually brightening skies.

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
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Date-stamped : 07 Jun1998 - 06:22