Cricket: Randall spearheads chase when chips are down

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Nottinghamshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .233 and 295

Worcestershire. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .203 and 325-8 dec

Match tied

ADAM SEYMOUR launched the pin-point throw from deep backward square leg to produce a Championship tie after a two-year gap and the first for either county since the War. Andy Pick, who had become a father earlier in the day, was not so much in a rush to the hospital but to the other end and beaten by a yard.

Greg Pick, his newborn, will hear of this in years to come. Eight points each was the immediate outcome after three days of attrition and ultimately and thankfully, a day to entertain all and sundry.

Needing 296 from 87 overs, through an eminently fair declaration by Tim Curtis, Nottinghamshire launched their challenge through a familiar folk hero, Derek Randall. He made 98 from 147 balls, narrowly failing to emulate the century he scored against Worcestershire on the same ground 20 years earlier. A teenager at heart, he offered a fatal front-foot stroke, flying uppishly into the gully when playing back was the better option.

Randall is his own man, asking for and then shedding a sweater in a few overs after lunch. Whatever curious game he has played in the mind, Randall has turned it into runs galore and this summer, a second benefit year.

The match went on deep into the gloaming with Phil Newport taking centre stage as 6 for 63 testified. An excellent career best of 5 for 65 by Greg Mike had long faded into the distance. The last pair, Pick and Andy Afford, needed 6 from 9 balls after Chris Cairns had followed the Randall victory doctrine. Cairns scored 68 from 92 balls, just the antidote to the advances Newport made into the Nottinghamshire batting.

Newport's first over, the 11th of the innings, had transformed 63 for no wicket into 65 for 2, with Tim Robinson cheaply departed from a leading edge as well as Paul Pollard, their opener, playing all around a yorker, perhaps losing concentration after strenuous duties as a makeshift wicketkeeper.

The game was just unfolding after three days of fairly dull preliminary skirmishes. Two runs an over in earlier sunshine ironically turned into acceleration and excitement in the cold. Mark Crawley and Chris Lewis did their bit in the chase, too, but Randall was the maestro, timing his strokes to perfection at the advanced age of 42. A clown prince maybe, but when the chips go down, he is probably the croupier of the year.