Cricket: Penney coins in a handsome tally

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The Independent Online
Northamptonshire 334-9 dec

Warwickshire 316-7 dec

AFTER the major currency of Allan Lamb's innings, eventually worth 209, it was something of a loose change day at Wantage Road yesterday. Trevor Penney still coined in the runs, his maiden Championship hundred reviving Warwickshire.

Lamb had extended his own innings from 188 not out to complete his third double-hundred on the basis that the pitch, already in its fifth consecutive day of use, was wearing. Northamptonshire's attack had a similar experience later.

With a strike bowler, Allan Donald, as their overseas player, Warwickshire have become a bits and pieces batting team with Dermot Reeve the consistent middle-order prop, making 48. Penney, a 24- year-old Zimbabwean newly qualified, is a valuable acquisition and has already pledged England loyalty despite his native country recently achieving Test status.

Penney would probably walk into Zimbabwe's team but then he would rejoin the ranks as a part- time player because as an embryonic batsman, he could not yet warrant the precious status as an overseas professional in any English county team.

The blond-haired Penney has much to commend him as a fielder willing to chase swallows and a batsman with an early-season, first-class hundred against Cambridge University and two previous Championship half-centuries.

Penney saved himself a sleepless night and the possibility of being deprived of a century by a declaration when pushing Richard Pearson for a single. Andy Lloyd promptly declared with eight balls still remaining.

Northamptonshire's three spinners, Pearson (on his Championship debut), Andy Roberts and Robert Bailey twirled away merrily. Pearson, who took 5 for 108 against Warwickshire when opening the bowling for Cambridge two months ago, willingly flighted his off breaks and was rewarded with the wickets of Dominic Ostler and Roger Twose.

Roberts, the leg spinner, extracted turn and deserved more than just bowling Paul Smith around his legs.

It will be the 'joke bowlers' turn today with Northamptonshire leading by only 18 runs. If Lamb had declared overnight on Tuesday, the game would have been in a more advanced state.

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