Cricket: Morris has measure of Gloucestershire

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The Independent Online
Derbyshire. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .521 and 139-3

Gloucestershire . . . . . . . . . . . . . .139 and 520

Derbyshire win by seven wickets

DERBYSHIRE needed only 28.4 overs to complete their third Championship victory of the season, and move away from an area of the table embarrassing for the holders of the Benson and Hedges Cup.

As a team, they do not possess, as was predictable, enough spinning expertise to win regularly over four days, but given a hard or seaming surface they are a match for most, and too much for the likes of Gloucestershire.

Even without the injured Dominic Cork, Kim Barnett had in Malcolm, Base and Warner a superior attack and, apart from himself, the Derbyshire captain has other batsmen who enjoy the ball coming on to the bat. Gloucestershire, their new caretaker captain Courtney Walsh apart, have little form and even less confidence.

They recovered well in their second innings to make Derbyshire bat again and, unknown to them, Derbyshire were more worried than they would have admitted yesterday morning. Apart from Cork's hamstring, Barnett had a strained side and Matthew Vandrau a suspected broken finger, fortunately on his left hand. A sustained assault by Walsh might have put Derbyshire in trouble.

However, John Morris continued as he had done in his first innings of 229, savaging Kevin Cooper for two sixes over midwicket, adding another nine boundaries to his handsome collection on this ground. Chris Adams looked like marching to victory with him, but became a victim of Walsh in one lethal over that might have brought more than one wicket.

With showers building up - seven overs were lost soon after mid-day - Derbyshire had another factor to consider, but Chris O'Gorman joined Morris to bring a well-measured win on the stroke of lunch. Short of cash Derbyshire may be but, in style, sparkle and ability, they cannot have had a better team, not even the champions of 1936.

Gloucestershire now have a sadly tarnished reputation to salvage, in some counties the committee would have been thrown out after such a season of mishaps. A decision has to be made as to whether Walsh stays or goes - and if he goes, who is to replace him? Similarly, a permanent new captain needs to be appointed as quickly as possible: Walsh or Chris Broad? After that, the recruiting must be planned: one experienced middle-order batsman and one seamer the priorities, the targeted players to be dentified before September.

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