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Northamptonshire v Derbyshire at Northampton

Reports from The Electronic Telegraph

22-25 July 1998

Day 1: Loye takes giant step with 157

By Geoffrey Dean at Northampton

First day of four: Northants 335-2 v Derbys

A YEAR ago, Mal Loye feared a serious back injury had ended his career. Yesterday, as if taking his cue from his favourite book, Awake the Giant Within, he became the first Englishman to pass 1,000 championship runs this summer, boosting his average to 92.

Loye's attacking talent has long been known but team-mates say that what has really elevated his game to a higher plane has been a big dose of extra discipline. ``He's so much tighter in defence now,'' purred Paul Taylor.

It was not as if Loye curbed his aggressive instincts - his 157 took him only 224 balls. Arriving in the first over of the day after Richard Montgomerie gave Spendlove some catching practice, Loye and Rob Bailey charged to 71 apiece by lunch.

Both might have gone early to streaky edges at catchable height through the slips, but the ball swung only for a limited period and there was no movement whatsoever off a particularly flat pitch.

At times, the visitors' attack did a passable imitation of cannon fodder as both players combined remorselessly to set a county record for any wicket against Derbyshire, no less than 296 in 80 overs.

Loye, pulling voraciously, struck three straight sixes off Glenn Roberts' left-arm spin, landing one on a spectator's head.

Nor did fortune favour Derbyshire. They lost the toss for the eighth time in nine games this season and when Bailey, cutting mercilessly, finally offered a chance after reaching his first hundred of the summer, off 165 balls, Karl Krikken dropped him.

Day 2: Lament by Lamb despite run flurry

By Geoffrey Dean at Northampton

Second day of four: Derbys (161-4) trail Northants (608-6 dec) by 447 runs

WHILE Allan Lamb described Northamptonshire this season as ``a shambles'', the club posted their highest score against Derbyshire. By motoring along at four an over, Kevin Curran's side gave themselves plenty of time to bowl Derbyshire out twice. Significantly, this pitch is starting to turn.

Lamb says that the club never replied after approaching him in early season about the possibility of becoming batting coach. ``It's a shame because I think that is the one thing they need. Several people need a kick up the backside.'' Chief executive Steve Coverdale retorted that talks were still taking place between the parties.

On such a good batting pitch and with Derbyshire a seamer short after Trevor Smith strained a groin muscle, it was no surprise that nearly all the Northants batsmen stuck their fist in the honeypot. Rob Bailey continued to drive with impressive timing on his way to his best score for five years, 188 in just under seven hours.

Graeme Swann unfurled all manner of pedigree shots in a rousing 91 from 75 balls. Driving on the up through extra, pulling and late cutting, he struck 15 fours and two sixes. Later, he had championship debutant, Robin Weston, taken at slip.

Day 3: Brown and Swann turn the match

By Geoffrey Dean at Northampton

Third day of four: Northants (608-6 dec) bt Derbys (225 & 289) by an innings and 94 runs

THEIR first championship win for 10 weeks lifted Northamptonshire off the foot of the table. On a pitch offering an increasing amount of turn, Northants' two young off-spinners underlined their potential with a fine display, taking 13 wickets between them to finish the match inside three days.

Jason Brown, 23, playing his first championship game of the season, bowled patiently and skilfully, probing away with the precision of a dentist. Graeme Swann, making his last appearance before joining England Under 19 next week, was more teasing with his flight. ``I certainly didn't have his loop or turn when I was his age,'' said coach John Emburey.

Derbyshire, resuming at 161 for four, were bowled out before lunch after losing their last six wickets for 34 runs. Later, after following on, they collapsed in identically feeble fashion as the lower order simply fell at Northants' feet, shaking defeat by the hand.

The pace bowlers played their part on a wicket that offered little. Franklyn Rose's pace and aggression brought him four valuable match wickets, Paul Taylor was impressive in the first innings and Devon Malcolm, though at times erratic, had Michael Slater lbw playing round a straight one.

The Australian blazed 46 off 48 balls, including a six over cover off Rose, but Derbyshire needed a long innings from him. Kim Barnett, as strong as ever through the off side, hinted at one and Matt Cassar resisted stubbornly. But, surrounded by close catchers, they eventually succumbed to pressure.

Robin Weston, on his championship debut, followed his 51 with 40 before missing a sweep. Karl Krikken, trying to cut, hit his own stumps and Phil DeFreitas holed out to deep midwicket.

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
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Date-stamped : 25 Jul1998 - 10:18