Mr Nice Guy brings out the worst in rivals

NatWest Trophy semi-finals: Warwickshire enjoy a trouble-free ride but 15 are arrested at Headingley as Yorkshire lose control
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reports from Headingley

Northamptonshire 286-5 Yorkshire 199 Northants win by 87 runs

Headingley's notorious Western Terrace was yesterday responsible for far greater anti-social excesses than lobbing tomatoes at an opposition player, but as they were no more accurate than their own bowlers yesterday Anil Kumble left the field with a clean pair of flannels, and Northamptonshire progressed into the NatWest Cup final with an even cleaner pair of heels.

When Yorkshire last enjoyed salad days, tomatoes were a good bit cheaper than the ones propelled in this game. Not since 1969 have they reached the final of cricket's premier one-day competition, and the man of the match on that occasion - Barry Leadbeater - had a fair old claim to yesterday's gong as well.

Parents worried about their offspring spending too much time watching television ought to think twice before reaching for the off button, as they might be rearing children gaining invaluable experience for a worthwhile profession. A first class cricket umpire, for example.

Leadbeater, yesterday's third umpire, was consulted no less than nine times for television adjudications, which, while Bill Frindall has yet to be consulted, is thought to be a NatWest record. It won't be long before umpires are wheeled out on a sofa carrying a copy of the Radio Times, although on the other hand, waiting for Leadbeater to crackle his various adjudications down the walkie-talkie constituted the only real periods of tension in this semi-final.

Tedium doubtless contributed to several punch-ups in a full house crowd and 15 arrests were made. Yorkshire later announced an enquiry into the disturbances but they already know the solution. Headingley has so many previous convictions on high-profile occasions that they should either be forced into a complete alcohol ban or deprived of home matches.

Northamptonshire opted to set a total rather than chase, although even on a bland pitch 286 exceeded their expectations. Darren Gough and Peter Hartley bowled well, both with the new ball and during the slog overs, but the rest of Yorkshire's bowlers were so ordinary that they were carved all round the field.

Yorkshire also dropped four catches, one of them, offered by Rob Bailey to Michael Bevan at cover point when he made 38, proving to be crucial. For all Leadbeater's claims, Bailey's classy 93 not out (which would have been a century had he not lost most of the strike during the closing overs) deservedly won him the man of the match award.

Bailey is one of cricket's genuine nice guys, whose only recorded display of temper came when he was ludicrously adjudged caught behind in the Barbados Test of 1990, and broke a toe kicking the dressing room fridge when he got back to the pavilion. Yesterday he faced only 103 balls, and struck eight boundaries.

The kick-start to the Northamptonshire innings, however, was provided by Allan Lamb, who made 63 off 67 balls, and shepherded his side from 79 for 2 to 210 for 3 between the 28th and 50th overs. Lamb remains one of the best players of fast bowling in the country, and would be an interesting selection for the final Test at the Oval.

Lamb, though, does not expect to play, neither does he particularly want to. It would mean him missing a crucial championship match, and the Northamptonshire captain wants above all - the NatWest Trophy included - to see the pennant fluttering over the County Ground for the first time in the Cobblers' history.

Yorkshire's reply was already beginning to resemble a croak when they suddenly disintegrated from 97 for 3 to 99 for 6 in the 33rd over. Craig White capped a memorable week by getting run out for 4, Ashley Metcalfe was lbw first ball, and Bevan was run out by half a pitch.

This sparked off the Western Terrace into fisticuffs among themselves, and the tomato throwing at Kumble, although it was scarcely likely to bother someone reared in Bangalore. There, boundary fielders have been known to start their own fruit and veg business on the strength of one dropped catch.



R R Montgomerie run out 26

A Fordham run out 48

R J Bailey not out 93

*A J Lamb c and b Grayson 63

K M Curran b Gough 29

D J Capel lbw b Hartley 9

R J Warren not out 8

Extras (b1 lb5 nb4) 10

Total (for 5, 60 overs) 286

Fall: 1-75 2-79 3-210 4-263 5-272.

Did not bat: A L Penberthy, J N Snape, A Kumble, J P Taylor.

Bowling: Gough 12-1-39-1; Hartley 12-3-37-1; White 12-1-62-0; Robinson 8-0-48-0; Grayson 11-1-66-1; Bevan 5-0-28-0.


*M D Moxon c Warren b Curran 15

M P Vaughan run out 34

D Byas c Capel b Penberthy 19

M G Bevan run out 9

C White run out 4

A A Metcalfe lbw b Kumble 0

R J Blakey c Warren b Capel 39

A P Grayson c Lamb b Penberthy 20

D Gough c Curran b Kumble 22

P J Hartley b Kumble 16

M A Robinson not out 0

Extras (lb12 w9) 21

Total (54.3 overs) 199

Fall: 1-26 2-76 3-91 4-97 5-97 6-99 7-154 8-161 9-199.

Bowling: Taylor 10-3-23-0; Curran 10-2-22-1; Penberthy 11-0-42-2; Capel 12-1-59-1; Kumble 11.3-0-41-3.

Man of the match: R J Bailey (Northants).

Umpires: J C Balderstone and J H Hampshire.