Cricket: Morris' festival dance: Derbyshire run up a record: Derek Hodgson reports from Cheltenham

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Derbyshire 408-5 v Gloucestershire

A DOUBLE CENTURY of quality from John Morris, his fourth three-figure score of the summer, in a county record fifth-wicket partnership with Dominic Cork, stood the opening day of the festival on its head. The only blemish on Derbyshire's day was a pulled hamstring for Cork after, he, too, had passed his career best.

Derbyshire had been sent in, on a dank, drizzly morning, Kim Barnett and Peter Bowler letting off so many fireworks that 46 were on the board in six overs, one local suggesting that 'our lot are bowling for a first-innings declaration'. The lack of a third man, shortish square boundaries, a fast outfield despite the damp and the renowned Barnett-Bowler taste for mayhem was the real explanation.

Bowler had pulled Courtney Walsh for successive fours, and took two more off Martin Gerrard before the pitch woke up. Barnett, who had escaped a catch at short leg off the second ball to reach his 1,000 for the 11th season (another county record), was less fortunate at his second pop-up and, in the ninth over, Walsh, thoroughly riled, completed a spell of three wickets for no runs in 12 balls.

From 58 for 4, Derbyshire, watched by Keith Fletcher, enjoyed a total triumph. Morris batted beautifully, flicking off his wrists, driving with superb power and timing, and celebrated his 100 by pulling and lifting Kevin Cooper for sixes (one over the marquees). Soon after 6pm he passed his previous best, 191.

The junior partner was content to be mostly that but, as in the Benson and Hedges final, he displayed a serene confidence in his batting whether facing the captain of Jamaica or lesser mortals. He was on 98, and Morris on 198, when he pulled up but hobbled to his ton and Morris to his double, his second 100 coming off 70 balls.

Looking at the scoreboard, it was hard to believe that 30 overs had been lost to rain. Sad Gloucestershire, with their recently resigned captain Tony Wright dropped, Bill Athey and Justin Vaughan departed and David Lawrence still to make his comeback, seem unlikely to escape bottom place.

Morris continued to make the running with Matt Vandrau until, with 346 added, he was leg before to Tim Hancock. His 229 came off 228 balls, with 32 fours, three sixes, and in it he passed 1,000 runs for the season, more Tornado than Tiger Moth.

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