Cricket: Lewis stuck on duck

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Notts 208-9; Cheshire 146

Nottinghamshire win by 62 runs

THESE NatWest matches inevitably throw up the bricklayer who bowls a Test player for nought, but it was even more predictable this time. Chris Lewis scored a third consecutive duck, two against Australia at Lord's, another against Cheshire, and dolefully contemplated an injury with a difference.

He walked around the well- appointed sports club here wearing a collar, having suffered strained neck and shoulder muscles in fielding practice just after the toss with the teams already announced.

Injuries and some cynicism about the curious fortunes of Lewis and his expensive failings are an inevitable accompaniment. Lewis has much to prove to his new employers since leaving Leicestershire, whose former second-team player John Potts, a schoolmaster at Queen Elizabeth Grammar, Blackburn, braved a torn hamstring to deliver his final seven overs of right-arm seam for Cheshire. He confessed that the last three were a battle through the pain barrier. Figures of 1 for 34 from 12 were testimony to his grit.

In other circumstances, the Lewis injury might have been critical for a side beaten five times in six previous one-day matches. Without a recognised sixth bowler, through the absence of Mark Crawley, ironically a former Warrington player, the other 12 overs were shared between Mark Saxelby and Paul Pollard.

At pounds 8 admission, the crowd barely reached four figures. A couple of familiar names kept the game alive until 6.05pm, when Chris Cairns became the deserved man of the match.

Cairns, with 64 from 85 balls after Nottinghamshire were struggling, also compensated for the Lewis factor with 4 for 18. John O'Brien was a claimant, too, for more unusual reasons, with three caught and bowled dismissals in two overs, which illustrated how the ball failed to come on to the bat.

Graeme Archer, in the words of Nottinghamshire's manager, Mike Hendrick, is a 'thinking batter' and proved it with an innings of 39 in a fifth-wicket partnership of 81 from 20 overs with Cairns, the biggest of the match.