Cricket: Cox steers Somerset home

Derbyshire 359 & 194 Somerset 361 & 196-2 Somerset win by 8 wickets
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The Independent Online
SOMERSET EARNED the rewards warranted by their greater application with the bat and extra penetration with the ball here yesterday when they made the 193 runs required to beat Derbyshire with a minimum of fuss.

That is how they would have scripted it. On this pitch, even allowing for Derbyshire's below strength attack, it would have been all too easy to get into a tangle either batting against the clock or trying to recover from the loss of early wickets.

Neither happened. Thanks to some hostile bowling by Andrew Caddick, well supported by Matt Bulbeck and Paul Jarvis, Somerset's target was always within comfortable reach of a side prepared to graft, and they did it with four overs to spare.

Derbyshire probably sensed the game was up when they discovered that, perhaps for the first time in four days, the ball would not swing. This was compounded by a certain amount of shortness and width, resulting in an untroubled ride for Jamie Cox and Marcus Trescothick.

Cox dropped anchor leaving his left-handed partner to time a series of front-foot strokes, not straightforward in these conditions. The slip disappeared and only an excess of ambition accounted for Trescothick when he mistimed a pull.

The introduction of Ian Blackwell's left-arm spin while the ball was still hard was Derbyshire's last throw of the dice. Unsurprisingly nothing much happened for him. More disturbing was the sight of his run-up, if that is the term, of only two or three paces. It may be good for the over rate but it does not look right for a young spinner of his type and he seems to need expert tuition.

To Blackwell's partner Simon Lacey fell the honour of the only wicket in the match to fall to a slow bowler, though this was probably achieved by an arm ball rather than an off-break when Piran Holloway missed an attempted sweep and was leg before.

Cox dug in to ensure there were no more mishaps. In making an unbeaten 89 from 207 balls, he offered nothing to any bowler and, with Peter Bowler, ensured that the excellent work of Caddick and company earlier was not squandered.

Using a ball that was more than 50 overs old, Caddick probably surprised batsmen who felt that increasingly low bounce would be the big problem of the final day. He fizzed it through at chest height and, from close to the stumps, moved it enough to dismiss Lacey and Andrew Harris with successive deliveries.

Neither offered a stroke. In a match where this type of dismissal was more common than usual, a unique hat-trick beckoned, but Karl Krikken got his feet moving to the all important next ball and denied Caddick a special place in the record books.