Cricket: Impressive Pollock takes the plaudits

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The Independent Online
Northamptonshire 314 & 174 Warwickshire 447 & 44-1 (Warwickshire win by 9 wickets)

This season has not exactly been a picnic for the Bears. Down in the Midlands backwoods, they've sure had a big surprise. But matching the standards of five titles in the past two summers would tax even the richest in playing terms.

Unpopular they remain, because of their success and maybe because of their captain, Dermot Reeve, with his unorthodox tactics.

But he is a winner. So are Warwickshire, as they were again yesterday. A 24-point maximum rocketed the champions up the table after a match that gained Shaun Pollock - their new all-rounder from South Africa - just about universal applause from North- amptonshire. Their players rated him highly, as a maiden first-class century maker, as well as a quick bowler, fiery as his flame hair.

When Dominic Ostler on-drove Robert Bailey's off-break to win the match with two sessions to spare, he finished the task that Andy Moles and Pollock had begun. They shared a sixth-wicket partnership of 194 in 62 overs after Warwickshire were 118 for 5 just before lunch on the second day, when following-on was a realistic threat.

During Warwickshire's rush to victory at almost a run a ball yesterday, Moles fell to a catch at silly point off Bailey, but there was no escape for Northamptonshire, who cherish hopes of winning the Sunday League, at least. Their last three wickets tumbled earlier for the addition of 26 runs. Wicketkeeper- batsman David Ripley had offered a reminder that he is not a back number with 35 not out. Tony Penberthy was caught at the wicket off Pollock, who finished with 3 for 49, Curtly Ambrose hoisted Neil Smith to deep extra cover and Pollock bowled Paul Taylor.

The histrionics and fun of this game were over, just about. Perhaps when they meet in the Benson and Hedges Cup semi-final next Tuesday, the verbal darts of last week may not resume. Doubtless the red leather ones, hurled by Pollock, are those that Northamptonshire fear most.