Cricket: Noon nudges way home: Nottinghamshire squeeze win

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The Independent Online
Derbyshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .230 and 222

Nottinghamshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . .199 and 255-9

Nottinghamshire win by 1 wicket

AN ENTHRALLING contest kept everyone on edge right to the end here yesterday when Nottinghamshire defeated Derbyshire by one wicket. They needed 254, significantly the highest total of a low-scoring match and, as fortunes ebbed and flowed, both sides had moments when they thought they had won or lost.

Of these, the first came when Paul Johnson followed Paul Pollard's fluent half-century with an assault on the spinners that underlined Derbyshire's fears about their bowling once Devon Malcom and Phil DeFreitas were out of the attack.

DeFreitas bowled superbly. Johnson, on 14, should have been his fourth victim but was badly missed behind the stumps; there would have been much relief as well as astonishment in the home camp when, on the stroke of lunch, Johnson shouldered arms and was leg before.

Frankie Griffith, finding some swing, compensated for the absence of three unfit seam bowlers - one of whom, Dominic Cork, faces another knee operation this week - but a disciplined innings by Chris Lewis suggested he felt he could win the match, side-strain or no side-strain.

Having taken on Malcolm bareheaded on this slow pitch, he perished to a full toss from Richard Sladdin, just one of many purveyed by the bowler, which left Nottinghamshire still 40 short with eight wickets down. However, Wayne Noon and Andy Pick got their heads down and nudged another vital 31.

When Pick shuffled aross the crease to become an lbw victim, Nottinghamshire still needed nine. But Andy Afford managed a single off his first ball and Noon comfortably drove the first three balls of Malcolm's next over through the covers for 2, 2, 4 and a memorable victory.