Cricket: Morris moves quickly into top gear: Derek Hodgson reports from Worcester

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The Independent Online
Derbyshire 246; Worcestershire 29-0

WORCESTERSHIRE, under Tim Curtis, have not won universal approval; like Major after Thatcher, Curtis after Neale has had to impress upon the public that the administration and its aims are the same while the suspicions remain that, due to time and circumstance, they are very different.

Yesterday Graham Dilley was making his umpteenth return with the stiffs at Taunton; Tom Moody, playing his last match before being recalled for Australia's tour of Sri Lanka, drifted off the field on a glorious morning by the Severn, looking sick. He has the flu. Phil Newport, discarded by England, limped off after two overs with a groin strain; it seems he had been over-bowled in the Headingley nets. What is more, Derbyshire had won the toss, the old firm of Kim Barnett and Peter Bowler were re-united after a month and the pitch, and outfield, looked rich with runs.

What cricket taketh away, it also giveth. Before Moody left he took a fine slip catch to dismiss Barnett; Newport's departure meant that Curtis had to use Damien D'Oliveira's little off-breaks and cutters, this surface having an affection for the creative spirits of the game.

John Morris exacted a cruel 67; he hit 10 boundaries in scoring 52 off the 84 made while he was at the wicket but he was missed at slip at 21 and at extra cover on 66.

At lunch Derbyshire were riding high, at 119 for 2, Morris becoming Richard Illingworth's first victim in a permanent occupation of the Diglis End. The turning point came when the dogged Bowler, 50 in 41 overs, suddenly went after D'Oliveira and was stumped by yards.

Curtis then chiselled away at the Derbyshire middle; they all scored runs but no one was allowed to become established, a contest all the more interesting in that it had some balance between bat and ball. Chris Adams, caught at silly point, walked when the umpire admitted he could not see whether the ball had left bat or pad or both .

Worcestershire then batted for 75 minutes, the scoreboard tells one story, the bruises received from Ian Bishop another.