Cricket: Somerset to seek change to bowl-out rules: Derbyshire and Northants reach B & H semi-finals by vastly contrasting methods, leading to calls for new regulations

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Derbyshire 69-0 v Somerset

Derbyshire win 6-3 in bowl-out

SOMERSET are to seek to change the rules of the Benson and Hedges Cup competition after their elimination in a bowl-out, six hits to three, by Derbyshire in the quarter-final yesterday. Their chief executive, Peter Anderson, said he would be asking Derbyshire's support for a move to allow matches badly affected by the weather to be played at a later date.

Somerset made their decision before the bowl-out took place, at 5pm, on the second day. Derbyshire had scored 69 for 0 off 20.3 overs, the only play possible on the first day. The umpires John Harris and Don Oslear abandoned the first match yesterday afternoon but their hopes of playing a match of reduced overs was blocked by a disagreement between the captains, Chris Tavare and Kim Barnett.

Barnett was willing to play a 10-over slog; Tavare, with the ground obviously unfit for play and a Championship match due to start here today, opted for the bowl-out. Of the five players selected from each side to bowl twice at a set of stumps, only the Derbyshire batsman Chris Adams scored two hits.

Both Dominic Cork and Andrew Caddick, who have appeared for England's Texaco team, managed only one hit. Peter Bowler, the ninth to bowl, scored with his second ball leaving Somerset's last man, Mushtaq Ahmed, redundant.

Barnett said: 'We feel for them. We know what it is like to lose like this.' Two years ago, Derbyshire were eliminated from the NatWest Trophy competition on a bowl-out by the minor county, Hertfordshire.

Anderson pointed out that under the new four-day Championship schedule it would have been possible to replay this match on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, although players required by England from either club would have to be excused pre-Test preparation at Old Trafford.

Cricket has always been reluctant to switch match dates. Derbyshire are now at home to Northamptonshire in the semi-finals. The result was a disappointment for Somerset on a celebratory day when they announced that former players Viv Richards, Ian Botham and Joel Garner had accepted honorary life memberships.

The honours signal the end of the strife that has divided Somerset since the three great players left in 1986, the two West Indians being sacked, Botham leaving in anger.

Common sense prevailed, Botham and Richards found new counties, Garner retired and Somerset rebuilt patiently until, nine years on, they have become again one of England's leading and most attractive teams. The controversy has rumbled on,

Lord Rees-Mogg firing the odd volley from the Mendips, the former captain Peter Roebuck defending the committee.

Roebuck said yesterday: 'It's appropriate recognition for the magnificent service given by three great servants of the Somerset club. I'm delighted.'

Kathy Botham, speaking for Ian, said: 'He's delighted. He accepted straight away. He always wanted bygones to be bygones.'

The trio join a list of former players so honoured including Brian Close, Bill Alley, Eric Hill, Brian Langford, Kenny Palmer and Peter Wight.

Allan Lamb and Mal Loye sent Northamptonshire into the semi-finals by scoring the 64 runs they still needed to beat Hampshire. Loye took 11 off the day's second over, and Lamb struck 14 off a Malcolm Marshall over as Northamptonshire reached 227 for 3 to win with eight balls to spare.