Millns and Cousins clean up

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The Independent Online

Northamptonshire 153 Nottinghamshire 79-9

29 April 2000

These sides may not have relished being cast into the lower tier of Championship cricket's two-division revolution but they performed here as if born to it.

Northamptonshire were bad, dismissed inside 55 overs and fortunate to survive that long. But Nottinghamshire were worse. It is early, of course, but on this evidence neither can talk of promotion with even a modicum of confidence. The first two days had been washed out but the chance of a result has not been prejudiced one bit.

Promotion, of course, is what it is all about, as football managers would say. Get used to the new vernacular. With three teams to go up, most of the nine in the second section will be in the hunt, so to speak, for most of the season, as the promoters of change always intended.

And the consequence of competitive cricket, the mantra goes, is better cricket. Which all sounds terrific. Put together two mediocre teams and the result will be mediocre cricket. For sure they did compete. David Millns, back at the county he left 11 years ago, marked his second first-class debut by taking 5 for 58, bettering the 4 for 86 he returned against Australia in one of the 15 appearances he made during his first term at Trent Bridge.

He steamed in from the pavilion end, eager to extract such pace as there was in a slow, undoubtedly damp track, eager to prove he still has something to offer. From the first telling away-swinger that accounted for Adrian Rollins, making his Northamptonshire debut, it was clear Millns would have a big say in matters. He had come up from the mines as a teenager to join Nottinghamshire, fulfilling a dream, only to find too many others barring his way forward. After a decade at Leicester, where at his peak he almost made the Test side, coming back almost feels as good.

Soon he would send Mal Loye packing, too, caught behind off, and clip out Russell Warren's off stump as the ball moved around. At 35, Millns is not a bowler to be worked long and hard but his captain would persevere here for 11 consecutive overs. Two more after lunch gave him the nap hand.

There were three also for David Lucas, a left-armer they rate highly here, but in truth Northamptonshire were poor. An unbeaten 47 by Penberthy saved their blushes. But he was dropped on nought, a simple slip chance spilled by Jason Gallian, the captain, of all people, denying Millns another success.

He might have had seven, had that one stuck and had Chris Read not missed Darren Cousins. There were two other drops, in the slips, both perpetrated by Darren Bicknell, who allowed Penberthy another escape on 29 and Richard Logan to survive on 10.

But then Nottinghamshire batted even more inadequately, half their order perishing for 26 as Cousins, returning career-best Championship figures on his Northamptonshire debut, and Devon Malcolm, showed that they, too, could prosper. By the time bad light halted play, Gallian's side were 79 for 9.


Northamptonshire First Innings

AS Rollins c Read b Millns 0 ML Hayden c Read b Franks 7 MB Loye c Read b Millns 21 DJG Sales lbw b Lucas 5 RJ Warren b Millns 2 AL Penberthy not out 47 GP Swann c Johnson b Lucas 25 TMB Bailey c Read b Lucas 4 RJ Logan c Morris b Millns 15 DM Cousins c Read b Millns 4 DE Malcolm c Lucas b Franks 8 Extras lb7 w6 nb2 15

Total (54.4 overs) 153

Fall: 1-3 2-19 3-29 4-31 5-41 6-83 7-89 8-114 9-128

Nottinghamshire First Innings

DJ Bicknell c Penberthy b Malcolm 11 U Afzaal lbw b Malcolm 0 JER Gallian c Bailey b Cousins 2 P Johnson c Bailey b Cousins 0 JE Morris c Sales b Cousins 5 CMW Read lbw b Cousins 7 CM Tolley c Bailey b Malcolm 2 PJ Franks b Malcolm 1 DJ Millns lbw b Malcolm 9 DS Lucas not out 25 RD Stemp not out 6 Extras lb3 w4 nb4 11

Total 9 wkts (26 overs) 79

Fall: 1-1 2-8 3-8 4-26 5-26 6-33 7-35 8-40 9-63

Umpires: A Clarkson and D R Shepherd