Cricket: Rose exploits conditions

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Derbyshire Scorpions 158-8 Somerset Sabres 160-5 Somerset win by 5 wickets

SOMERSET, HELPED in no small measure by winning the toss, took another confident stride towards gaining promotion to Division One of the National Cricket League here yesterday, beating Derbyshire by five wickets with 14 overs to spare.

As is so often the case with one-day cricket, it was a game which was virtually bereft of excitement. And high drama was always unlikely once Andy Caddick and Graham Rose, exploiting the conditions wonderfully well, had ensured an unequal struggle for Derbyshire's batsmen.

The ball not only moved about but frequently bounced steeply. Not much could be ventured off the front foot with any comfort or certainty.

But even allowing for the permissiveness of one-day cricket, some of the stroke selection was shoddy and unacceptable.

Unsurprisingly, Somerset kept the field up much of the time. From the moment that Marcus Trescothick held a brilliant catch from a chance that appeared to have gone past him, they employed two, sometimes three slips; the fact that five of the first six batsmen perished either there or behind the wicket illustrates their problems.

Between times Robin Weston, seizing on a rare wide long hop from Caddick, succeeded only in carving it into the hands of third man. At 57 for 6 there seemed no way back, but not all the support bowling was as tight as it should have been; and 23 wides were 23 too many.

Helped by this, and Jamie Cox resisting the opportunity to recall Caddick, Ian Blackwell and Phil De Freitas with a mixture of common sense and judicious strokeplay gave their side something to bowl at; but the brief appearance of the sun, after its humiliating experience the previous morning, hinted at batting becoming more straightforward as the afternoon wore on.

Cox and Peter Bowler confirmed this with an opening onslaught full of powerful and positive strokes which produced 67 from 11 overs.

DeFreitas, possibly identified as a threat, was twice hit back over his head, causing him to pitch disastrously short and the rest for Somerset was mostly predictable and eventually profitable.