Clean-cut Dowman

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The Independent Online
Notts 314 & 114-1

v Essex 301

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE will today hand their Sunday League patrons a printed warning about recent unseemly sabbath behaviour that includes swearing, excessive drinking, continuous chanting and baying and a brief appearance by a streaker.

The spectators who yesterday, apart from the proverbial three men and a dog, stayed away, were not bad judges. It was 3.30 before play resumed in a match which, if not exactly exciting, had at least been interestingly poised.

When the irritating drizzle did abate long enough to allow a start, Essex began with Mark Waugh, his new status as an opening bowler symbolising their decline as a seam-bowling side.

In a game where 13 wickets had already fallen to spinners, however, it was no surprise that John Childs and Peter Such were soon operating from opposite ends. A pitch which turned so spitefully on the first day held fewer terrors for Tim Robinson and Matthew Dowman as they advanced towards their second century opening partnership of the match.

Dowman reached his own 50 in streaky fashion, putting one chance just short of Darren Robinson on its way to the boundary and then edging the next ball from Childs through Waugh at leg slip.

His captain, with two hundreds and a fifty in his last three Championship innings, fell two short of another half-century, leg before to Such, before the return of the rain ended what might be loosely termed the day's entertainment.

Nottinghamshire have problems of their own, especially among their all- rounders, with Chris Lewis injured and Chris Cairns only available as a batsman for the next fortnight. Given any sort of break with the weather, though, they could yet take adavantage of Essex's disarray by just about wringing a result out of their now healthy lead. That would be cause enough for a small celebration, if not for excessive chanting, baying and streaking.