Defiant batting from Bowler

Derbyshire 376 and 28-4 Somerset 189 and 434
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THE Bowler's revenge and the wicketkeeper's batting ruined Derbyshire's expectations of an overdue second Championship victory on a contrary day at the County Ground.

A depleted Somerset, following on, reached 434 in their second innings on the back of centuries from Peter Bowler, who left Derbyshire in acrimonious circumstances at the end of last season, and wicketkeeper Robert Turner. Despite lacking front-line seamers Andy Caddick and Andre van Troost, they reduced the home side to 28 for 4 by the close, uncomfortably short of the 248 required.

With Kim Barnett pushing himself down the batting order after three successive ducks and a long bowling stint, Derbyshire sent in Adrian Rollins to open with Wayne Dessaur and lost both of them in six overs, Dessaur caught behind second ball off Graham Rose, and Rollins to the fifth ball bowled by Mushtaq Ahmed, who is in such productive form.

Daryll Cullinan, scorer of 161 in the first innings, fell for one to Rose, and, in Rose's next over, a raucous appeal for a catch against Karl Krikken was deemed unnecessary by the sight of the off bail lying on the floor. All this with Bowler in charge of operations, skipper Andy Hayhurst having sustained a suspected fracture after being hit on the hand by Devon Malcolm.

Bowler's century earlier on was greeted warmly by the Derby crowd but less appreciatively out in the middle. Derbyshire captain Barnett confirmed yesterday that the club had been unhappy with Bowler's attitude and he himself had been prepared to leave if his opening partner stayed.

There could be no faulting his attitude here from the moment he arrived at the crease on Friday evening with Somerset facing shipwreck at 20 for two. A first-innings duck, threatening his place at the top of the national averages, provided even greater incentive and, after five and a half hours, an innings of 138 had made a point or two.

Somerset's lead was 114 when Bowler finally succumbed to Malcolm, where upon Turner took up the cudgels. Heyhurst epitomised his team's spirit in returning for the last wicket despite his pain, enabling Turner to reach a career-best of 106 not out.

What Barnett believes to be the best seam attack in the country was unimpressive all day - Malcolm conceding 127 in 25 overs and Dominic Cork and Phillip DeFreitas also dropping two short - and the fielding was often little better. Given Somerset's injury problems, a lead of 248 nevertheless looked inadequate until the sun came out for them in the dramatic final hour.