Cricket: Broad upstaged by Bowler

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Derbyshire win on fewer wickets lost

IN a riveting finish, which would have graced a Lord's final, Karl Krikken on-drove the final ball from Richard Scott at 7.45pm to bring Derbyshire a breathless victory. They qualified for the first round proper of the Benson and Hedges Cup on fewer wickets lost, with Krikken and Frank Griffith declining to take a freely available second run which would have brought success on something more than a technicality.

Peter Bowler, the Gold Award winner, effectively carried Derbyshire to the last 16 and a meeting with Middlesex at Derby on 11 May with an innings of 92 from 164 balls.

The question still remains how a first-class county can be knocked out of a major competition on the season's opening day. It will probably be a quiz question in a couple of decades.

Hopefully, sanity will be restored by then, with the preliminary round of this competition played near the end of May after a Championship game or two.

Put in, Gloucestershire were 50 runs short of their intent. Two half-volleys and a long-hop accounted for Chris Broad, who made a half-century on returning to his native county, Richard Scott and Tony Wright, the captain. The loss of their wickets for eight runs in five overs foreshadowed defeat.

As the pros say, the ball was not 'coming on' on a green pitch, not like it did in Sri Lanka, where Gloucestershire completed their season's preparations little more than a week ago.

They had the worse of the batting conditions on a misty morning. Broad, back where he began 14 years ago, made 58 off 97 balls. Scott approached a half-century, but, like his partner, got out just when he seemed very much in.

Devon Malcolm and Dominic Cork apart, Derbyshire offered their own version of looseness, but Kevin Cooper, the former Nottinghamshire seamer, showed no such frailty for Gloucestershire. When he bowls in tandem with Courtney Walsh, his accuracy will bring wickets as well as economy.