Cricket / County Championship: Robinson finds true romance

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The Independent Online
Nottinghamshire 333-5 v Essex

VALENTINE'S PARK is traditionally a haven where runs flow. Tim Robinson, the Nottinghamshire captain, was well-nigh insatiable yesterday as two of the likelier Championship aspirants squared up.

Absent from his side's previous game with tendinitis of the elbow, there was nothing stiff about Robinson's strokes as he converted his first century of the season into an unbeaten 178. Hastened by generous slopes on both sides of the square, most of his 23 boundaries sped through the covers with impeccable timing , recalling those salad days of the mid-80s when he was dissecting Australian seam and Indian spin at will.

Having lost his opening partner to the 11th ball of the day when Darren Cousins zipped one through Paul Pollard's back-foot prod, Robinson was a largely silent partner while Graeme Archer dominated a stand of 112, flashing his way to 67 off 83 balls before nicking the bustling Ronnie Irani to slip. The roles were reversed, however, during a third-wicket alliance of 81 with Jimmy Adams, whose sedate assurance was surprisingly disrupted when Peter Such, having recovered from a brief bout of blurred vision that delayed his reappearance after lunch, induced another edged drive to slip.

Fond hopes that the advent of Paul Johnson would lift the prosaic tempo were abruptly dashed when, in the same over, Robinson pushed in to the covers whereupon a breakdown in communication saw the new arrival stranded and comfortably run out.

Fit again after a rib complaint, the mercurial Chris Lewis was patently keen to impress the watching Keith Fletcher with his diligence, but after nudging 19 in 22 overs, Such had him snared at the bat-pad.