Cricket: Benson ties up Notts

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The Independent Online
Kent 110-2 v Notts

ANOTHER day, another dolour. Just as Kent seemed poised to make the most of an excellent pitch, a gritty half-century by Mark Benson and a vignette of full-bloodied strokes by Carl Hooper, the weather closed in shortly after lunch here yesterday.

Nottinghamshire would not have been too sorry because, in deference to light that was never better than gloomy, their spinners were operating at the time; it might be a different story when their quicker bowlers reenter the fray.

While the ball was new and hard, Benson and Trevor Ward certainly had their work cut out against Chris Cairns and Andy Pick. It was to the credit of the groundsman, Ron Allsopp, that amid the murk of this month he came up with a pitch with more than a hint of pace and bounce and the Kent openers, coming from two slowish ones down south, probably needed time to adjust.

Ward almost did not get it. He misread or maybe failed to pick up the first ball of the match from Cairns, which he scooped just short of cover. After that, stoical survival was his game while Benson needed all his cool judgement of what could be safely left around off stump.

In these conditions the slash, controlled or otherwise, over the slips is probably as profitable a stroke as any and Benson found the width to produce two or three samples while Ward held on until, when at last venturing a front-foot stroke, he escaped off a hard chance to slip off Pick at 13.

When the spinners appeared, there was more than a little irony in Ward's dismissal caught down the leg side off Michael Field-Buss, while Andy Afford occasionally passed the bat with his arm ball. Despite that, it was a bonus for Notts when Neil Taylor was leg before padding up to a similar delivery.

Tony Penberthy grabbed a Championship-best five for 37 to put the skids under Glamorgan at Swansea. Only Viv Richards offered resistance with a stylish 64 before he was the last man out with the total 165. Northants ended on 133 for 5.

Derbyshire yesterday made redundant their chief executive and two other members of staff due to a 'deterioration in the financial position of the club'. The chief executive, Bob Lark, the administrative secretary, Hiren Bakhda, and the commercial manager, Ian Davies, all leave this week.