Cricket: Robinson's prolific patch

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The Independent Online
Worcestershire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .185-7


MARK ROBINSON was a stand-by fast bowler for England's last winter tour. He is probably grateful that he was never promoted but if he continues at his present rate of taking wickets he will become a contender by sheer weight of figures. He shattered Worcestershire on a bleak day and at tea, when the rain arrived, was on 21-6-34-5.

Robinson, who was allowed to join Northamptonshire, was recalled two seasons ago and made a disappointing return. He worked at his game and his fitness, reduced his long run and won attention with 50 Championship wickets last season at an average of 22.

He learned to conserve his pace for the occasional genuinely quick delivery, to seam the ball both ways and to develop a slower delivery. This season, while opposing batsmen have been concerned with his England partner Paul Jarvis, it is Robinson who has been reaping the wickets.

The selectors may see him now as a quick and accurate bowler who may not be quite good enough to get out the best while Jarvis, who may not be as consistent, is capable of dismissing any current player. They may be wrong about Robinson.

Tim Curtis was prepared to risk the poor light and early mist in order to bat first on what he thought was a good surface but Robinson forced Philip Weston to play on in his second over, had Graeme Hick leg before in his fourth and finished his initial spell by having Adam Seymour well taken at third slip.

He returned to have the stubborn Curtis caught behind and in his third spell ended a defiant seventh-wicket partnership between Steven Rhodes and Richard Illingworth.

Seymour took three leg-side boundaries off Jarvis but the real resistance began with Stuart Lampitt, who might have been caught when one, 23 and 32, but who continued to an invaluable 37 until confounded by Richard Stemp's arm ball.

The rain cleared the crowd and lifted the temperature slightly as Rhodes, actively assisted by Phil Newport, prolonged Worcestershire's innings on the restart. After another six overs the doughty wicketkeeper was on the verge of a splendid 50. He looked in the least difficulty of all the batsmen, hitting seven boundaries.