Cricket: Drakes stirs passions

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Nottinghamshire 232 and 153 Derbyshire 263 and 44-0

THINGS DO not improve much for Nottinghamshire, 16th in the Championship last year and likely to be in the Second Division next summer if Derbyshire consign them to a fifth successive defeat here. Now their ambitious chief executive, Mark Arthur, seems likely to cross the road in exchange for the same title at Nottingham Forest.

He would wish to be leaving them in better fettle. Despite a season under the influence of Clive Rice they have been unable to overcome a lack of quality in depth and show no signs of learning how to make a match go the distance. None of the scheduled four-day matches here this season has lasted beyond three and this will be no exception following Nottinghamshire's collapse last evening.

Left to chase only 123 to win after the home side crumbled to 153 all out, Derbyshire will be back today needing only 79 more with all wickets intact.

The contest was not without passion, although it is doubtful that traditional rivalry had much to do with the eye-balling in which Dominic Cork and Vasbert Drakes engaged before lunch. At one point umpire Mervyn Kitchen called on Jason Gallian, the Nottinghamshire captain, to give Drakes some cautionary advice.

By this stage Derbyshire, without Michael Slater and further handicapped by the loss of Andrew Harris with a broken thumb, were wasting the chance to establish a good first-innings lead. Well placed at 137 for 2 overnight, they had slipped to 188 for 5 with Steve Titchard and Ben Spendlove seen off by Drakes and Matthew Cassar flummoxed by Franks's slower ball.

Cork threatened to gain the upper hand but after he had lobbed an easy catch to mid-off, the last five wickets fell for 26.

The pitch, always lively, was becoming untrustworthy as Nottinghamshire batted again and although they reached 92 for 1, three then fell for 10 runs and another five for 15. Cork took 4 for 46 and Derbyshire were barely inconvenienced by being a bowler short.