Reiffel's all-round efforts deny Warwickshire victory

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The Independent Online

Paul Reiffel led a battling rearguard action and hit his maiden County Championship half-century to salvage a draw for Nottinghamshire against Warwickshire yesterday.

Paul Reiffel led a battling rearguard action and hit his maiden County Championship half-century to salvage a draw for Nottinghamshire against Warwickshire yesterday.

The Australian Test bowler followed up his first five-wicket haul by smashing 60 from 98 balls to ensure promotion-chasing Warwickshire had to settle for a draw in the Second Division game at Trent Bridge.

Nottinghamshire had resumed considerable in trouble at 85 for 5 after a marathon spell by the discarded England bowler Ed Giddins had been rewarded with four wickets.

The Nottinghamshire tail-end survived long enough to allow their captain Jason Gallian the luxury of declaring on 232 for 8, but although the two sides tried hard to carve out a win it was the 55 overs lost on the first day to rain that proved too big an obstacle to clear.

The day had started badly for Nottinghamshire when Darren Bicknell - batting down the order with an injured knee - slashed a drive to third man as he looked for a third consecutive boundary off Allan Donald.

Chris Read was joined by Paul Franks who raced to 20 before top-edging an intended cut off Dougie Brown to Dominic Ostler at slip and the hosts were again staring defeat in the face at 135 for 7.

Read and Reiffel enjoyed a partnership of 48 before the young wicketkeeper was caught by his opposite number Keith Piper off Donald for 45. But the experienced Reiffel played sensibly, waited to punish any bad bowling and cruised to 50.

Andrew Harris joined the Australian and the pair ate up the overs until Gallian called a halt to the innings, setting Warwickshire 277 to win from just 49 overs at almost a run a ball.

The tough task was made even tougher when Michael Powell edged Harris and Read flung himself in front of first slip to take a superb low catch.

The game was effectively killed off just before tea when Paul Johnson clung onto a sharp chance off David Lucas to send Ostler back to the dressing-room.

When Read took another superb catch after the interval to remove David Hemp and Chris Tolley then bowled Nick Knight to leave Warwickshire on 83 for 4, Nottinghamshire sensed an unlikely victory.

The fielders closed in but Trevor Penney and Brown stood firm to see Warwickshire through to 132 for 4 and Gallian agreed to accept the draw just 10 minutes before the close of play.

On Saturday, Warwickshire's slow scoring rate did not help the prospects of forcing a result. The bowlers were given little help under clear morning skies and with an old ball, but only 34 runs came in the first hour during which the only excitement was nightwatchman Keith Piper losing his bails to Reiffel's first and only no-ball of the innings. Piper's partner, David Hemp, who had resumed on 26 not out, took 24 overs to add the runs needed to reach his 50.

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