Cricket: Longley follows Saxelby's lead with debut century

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Durham 625-6 dec; Derbyshire 251-5

DURHAM rewrote a few more pages of the record books yesterday as nonchalantly as if they had been doing it for years. Whether they can follow up their positive batting by bowling out Derbyshire twice is another matter, but so far they have done most things right.

John Longley followed Mark Saxelby in making a century on his first appearance for the county, a feat John Morris had missed by only 10 runs the previous day. Stewart Hutton's 78 equalled his career best, all this adding up to a total of 625 for 6.

It was the fourth highest against Derbyshire and only 37 short of the record 662 which Yorkshire amassed here in 1898. And, ironically, it all happened on a pitch which the groundsman had been asked to leave well-grassed to help the home seam bowlers.

No doubt mindful that they had scored over 500 and still lost to Lancashire in the opening match of last season, skipper Phil Bainbridge was happy to let Longley and company bat Derbyshire right out of contention against an attack minus Dominic Cork, who was attending a family funeral.

Longley needed only 124 balls to reach three figures, confirming the overall impression that Durham had shopped wisely during the close season. All that left Derbyshire needing 476 to avoid the follow-on.

On this pitch it was not impossible, and Simon Brown, in a worthy spell, not only prised out Peter Bowler, but had Kim Barnett dropped at slip and all but dismissed Chris Adams before he had scored.

Runs remained thin on the ground at Bristol, where the new Gloucestershire captain, Courtney Walsh, countered Nick Folland's unconquered 79 with 5 for 71 to limit Somerset to 229, a lead of 26. The home batsmen continued to struggle thereafter, Mushtaq Ahmed's leg-breaks accounting for Chris Broad, Dean Hodgson and Tony Wright before Simon Hinks (55 not out) shepherded Gloucestershire to 126 for 4.