Adams sets a perfect example

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Northamptonshire 179

Derbyshire 180-2

(Derbyshire win by 8 wickets)

Of two sides with much to prove this summer, probably to themselves as well as anyone else, Derbyshire had emphatically the better of things yesterday. From the moment they won the toss, a mostly disciplined performance saw off Northamptonshire with 15 overs in hand.

Chris Adams, who was at odds with his county in the winter, made an increasingly forthright 94 from 101 balls which earned him the gold award and ought to pave the way to a harmonious and more prolific season; but as ever in this competition, the die was cast much earlier.

The pitch was a pretty good one for this time of year, but early on the ball was inclined to move off the seam or stop a little. Its slowness demanded a certain amount of patience and the ability to graft quietly for runs, which Northamptonshire never quite mustered after losing their openers inside three overs.

They will be not a little dismayed that most of their middle order reached the 20s before finding various ways of getting out. But Allan Lamb may find it a little difficult to read the riot act about that since he was the biggest culprit.

Lamb, having been badly dropped on the square leg boundary off a full toss, tried to fetch a ball from some way outside his off stump but succeeded only in lofting it into mid-on's hands and, not unreasonably, stood mortified in the crease.

The bowler was Colin Wells, whose medium pace was ideal for the conditions. Finding a tight, off-stump line and sometimes moving the ball late, he bowled an important, strangling spell. At times, some of his colleagues lapsed into a costly shortness, but by then Northamptonshire had found that it was one of those days when every error or lapse of concentration was punished.

With so few runs to play with, Northamptonshire would have been disappointed to see Paul Taylor struggling to find his rhythm and opening with a flurry of wides and no-balls. By now, though, batting was more straightforward and Adams, after getting a few inside edges out of his system, stroked the ball through the covers with an impressive mixture of power and timing.

He survived a couple of awkward chances in the same area at 47 and 56 but by then Northamptonshire had sensed not only that the game had gone from them but that a return to the drawing board was necessary.

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