Cricket: Nottinghamshire let chances slip

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The Independent Online
Nottinghamshire. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .538 and 153-3 dec

Northamptonshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .417 and 88-1

Match drawn

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE lost ground in the Championship race yesterday when rain put paid to their outside hopes of a victory here; it also left them not only regretting fielding lapses but also lamenting a pitch on which a result was not possible without contrivance.

It was one of Ron Allsop's straw-coloured featherbeds. Of the 21 wickets that fell, most went when the ball was new. By batting on to make 538, Nottinghamshire had committed themselves to bowling Northamptonshire out twice. To do so on this pitch meant holding on to chances, which did not happen. Rob Bailey, dropped before he had scored, made his first century of the season, which helped to put the ball back into Tim Robinson's court.

So yesterday Northamptonshire were mercifully able to resist the temptation to toss up rubbish and used their orthodox bowlers, smugly aware that Robinson had the job of deciding upon a target, knowing all the time that it was not possible to bowl out a side unless they were taking chances.

Robinson timed the ball well in making 94 from 151 balls. His declaration asked Northamptonshire to make 275 from what would have been at least 60 overs; not an unreasonable task for a side in good fettle and batting well.

But Northamptonshire are anything but that these days. In addition, they were without David Capel, who injured his right knee in the Sunday game. There are now fears that his days as a bowler are numbered.