Cricket: Robinson ends drought

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The Independent Online
Surrey 207 and 411

Nottinghamshire 357 and 262-5

Nottinghamshire win by 5 wickets

AFTER seven matches without a Championship win, Nottinghamshire at last reasserted themselves yesterday. They rose to fourth place in the table through a typically dutiful 100 from Tim Robinson, their captain.

Victory with 15 balls to spare ended the August anguish Nottinghamshire had suffered. They lost by 10 runs or less to Gloucestershire and Glamorgan when in a strong position to challenge Essex, now the re-crowned champions.

Robinson's final target this summer is a win over Somerset in the game starting tomorrow to collect pounds 23,000 as runners-up, a position they last occupied in late May.

With Chris Broad released, Paul Johnson injured and Derek Randall omitted, Robinson carried a heavy responsibility, especially with only three capped players at his disposal. Robinson duly scored 129 not out, his 46th first- class 100 and 18th at this ground.

Fittingly, Chris Lewis still made the winning hit, an on-driven four, his second in succession. The England all-rounder scored 26 off 39 balls to supplement his best bowling figures for Nottinghamshire of 6 for 90, a match analysis of 10 for 155 and a first-innings half-century.

If that does not sound like game, set and match, nothing would because Lewis imposed himself with no restraints on this contest. He is among the precious few with England qualifications who would have taken 4 for 7 in 39 balls to usher out the Surrey tail on this flat pitch.

Alistair Brown, who has flashed across Surrey's horizon like a proverbial meteor this season with three first-class 100s, resisted by making a third 50 as well from 15 career innings. Promotion from six in the order looks imminent.

Lewis, in the bowling mode, allowed Nottinghamshire a generous minimum of 84 overs to reach their target as Surrey lost their last five wickets for 34 runs in 70 minutes. The morning collapse was reminiscent of the first day when Surrey lunched at 94 for 7.

Robinson's innings was chanceless and mostly featureless, a good old pro's contribution, dead-pan and modelled on his hero, Geoffrey Boycott. He batted for four and three-quarter hours, faced 241 balls and hit 16 fours.

Paul Pollard, his opening partner, had bagged a pair, facing only five balls in all. But Graeme Archer, a Cumbrian recruited from his adopted Walsall home, confirmed his promise with an innings of 66, from 39 for 3, in a crucial century stand with the captain.

Surrey were handicapped by Martin Bicknell's eventual absence with a strained hamstring but the match had gone full circle. Nottinghamshire won, as they had looked likely to do on the first morning, if not sometimes in between.