Cricket Round-up: Gower yet to reach take-off

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RUMOUR has it that all David Gower needed to do to reclaim his England place was to make at least one contribution of substance to his county's cause before June. Like the government, sadly, even that trifling proposition is proving beyond him, writes Rob Steen.

In full view of one of the selectors, Dennis Amiss, the out-of-sorts Hampshire hedonist was caught and bowled by Allan Warner for five as the visitors struggled to 192 for 7 at Derby yesterday. Mind you, Gower may at least derive some consolation from Graham Gooch's latest encounter with humility for Essex Seconds at Colchester, where the England captain was again dismissed by Somerset's Andrew Payne, this time for 23.

Another ageing supermodel, Ian Botham, picked up 3 for 52 at Darlington, but Kent had already overhauled Durham's 160 before the usual dose of thunderballs from Matthew Fleming (70 off 65 balls) secured a lead of 157. Defeat beckons for the hosts, who closed on 28 for 2.

Richard Illingworth's campaign to promote himself as a Test candidate instead of a one-day specialist may not be as futile as some believe. When hostilities eventually commenced following a blank opening day at King's School, Gloucester, the much-maligned Worcestershire slow left-armer exploited a damp pitch to take a Championship-best 6 for 28 under the beady eye of Keith Fletcher as Gloucestershire continued to depress with the bat by collapsing for 101. Tim Curtis (60 not out) and Graeme Hick then steered the visitors to 120 for 1.

The Test and County Cricket Board has announced that the third umpire system will not be used in the first Test. Another trial is planned for the Benson and Hedges Cup semi-final between Leicestershire and Lancashire on 8 June.

Charlie Barnett, the former Gloucestershire and England opener, died yesterday at 82. Capped 20 times between 1933 and 1948, he scored two Test centuries.