Wells steps up

By Dave Hadfield at Derby Derbyshire 295 and 157-4 Hampshire 284 and 167 Derbyshire won by six wkts
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EVEN without Dominic Cork, Derbyshire were sufficiently buoyant yesterday to float away from the foot of the County Championship table.

While the rested England hero was doing his bit instead for the club at the local hospital's open day, his team-mates proved capable of consigning Hampshire to the casualty ward cheaply enough to leave themselves with a comfortable task to complete their second championship victory of the season.

One of the paradoxes of Derbyshire's appalling form has been the presence in their ranks of three of the fast bowlers used by England this season, all well- placed in the national averages.

In the absence of Cork, Phillip DeFreitas opened up by dismissing the Hampshire captain, Mark Nicholas, with the first ball of the day, caught behind off the faintest of touches.

Devon Malcolm, also a candidate for a Test recall, did not add to his wicket of the previous day, but bowled a long, hostile and tidy spell. The crucial wicket came from a different source.

Colin Wells would not expect to do a great deal of bowling with a full Derbyshire attack available, but after Frank Griffith had taken the vital scalp of Robin Smith, the former Sussex all-rounder took the next four wickets for 29 runs, his best figures since joining Derbyshire. Kevin James, Adrian Aymes and Shaun Udal all fell to loose shots outside the off-stump, giving catches in the arc from second slip to point.

Wells needed no help from the cordon for this fourth wicket, a surprising piece of agility accounting for Martin Thursfield, caught and bowled.

The one exception to the voluntary euthanasia was Giles White, with a gritty 62, although when he was last out, giving DeFreitas his fourth wicket, Hampshire were a mere 156 ahead.

Even against Derbyshire batting that has often been brittle this season, that hardly looked likely to be enough.

Wayne Dessaur and Adrian Rollins gave them a solid start with a stand of 82. Rollins finally fell to John Stephenson on 43, but despite a flutter on the heart monitor induced by the loss of three more wickets with the score on 95, Darryl Cullinan and Kim Barnett steered them safely to a morale-boosting win.