Conners takes five and Reece hits 54 on Day Three

Friday 21st July 2023
Photography by: David Griffin, written by ECB Reporters Network

Sam Conners claimed his first five-wicket haul of the season, while Luis Reece ended Day Three unbeaten on 54 against Durham at The Incora County Ground.

Matthew Potts scored 64 and shared an eighth wicket stand of 110 from 113 balls with Brydon Carse who made 80 on a day of stoppages at the Incora County Ground.

The Division Two leaders secured maximum batting points for the sixth time this season before they were bowled out for 575 with fast bowler Sam Conners claiming 5 for 115.

That gave Durham a lead of 132 but Derbyshire responded strongly in their second innings to close on 89 without loss,43 behind, with Luis Reece 54 not out

The prospects of a positive result on a pitch where more than 800 runs had been scored on the first two days receded further when only 47 balls were bowled in the morning because of rain.

There was time for Conners to take his fourth wicket when Migael Pretorious was lbw playing back to a full length ball but after lunch the game was held up again but this time in bizarre circumstances.

A coin or a washer was found embedded in the pitch resulting in a delay of several minutes before the umpires decided it did not pose a problem and both teams agreed the match could continue.

Potts and Carse took advantage but only after two excellent catches had stalled Durham’s advance towards a full house of batting points.

Ollie Robinson was looking to the cover boundary when he drove Zak Chappell powerfully but Anuj Dal showed why he is rated one of the top fielders on the circuit by taking off to his right and holding a stunning one-handed grab.

Graham Clark’s edged drive at Chappell was almost past Harry Came at first slip but he swooped to pull off a superb low catch.

At that point, Durham were still 33 short of 450 but Potts continued to exude confidence, putting away the bad balls with crisp drives and cuts.

He reached his third first-class fifty by turning Dal off his hip to the fine leg fence for his seventh four and with Carse quickly finding his range, Durham were motoring along at nearly five an over.

Carse straight drove Dal for six and he also hit nine fours in a 41 ball fifty that underlined the dominance of bat over ball.

The lead was 86 when Potts drove at Reece in the final over before tea and Wayne Madsen pouched his 26th catch in championship cricket  this season.

But there was no respite after the interval as Carse and Ben Raine added 43 before Carse was caught behind down the leg side off Reece.

Conners quickly cleaned up Matthew Parkinson to claim his fifth wicket and leave Derbyshire with 27 overs to bat until the close.

Reece and Came had some anxious moments against Raine and Potts with the new ball but once they settled in, played with increasing assurance on a pitch which shows no sign of deteriorating.

Reece came down the track to dispatch Parkinson for six and although Came edged Raine just over the slips, Durham could not break through and with heavy rain forecast for much of day four, a draw looks increasingly likely.

Derbyshire all-rounder Luis Reece said: “It’s probably been a tough couple of days, I thought the way we played in the first innings was superb, especially Guesty (Brooke Guest) and then we probably missed our straps with the ball yesterday.

“We had a ball that didn’t offer a great deal and two quality players got in and made us pay for not as disciplined bowling as we would have liked but I thought the way Sammy (Sam Conners) bowled was outstanding in only his second game back after injury and he deserved everyone of those five.

“We finished the day okay but we’ve still got a job to do tomorrow and hopefully we can make them stay out there and keep building on good cricket that we’re playing, we are playing some good cricket but just not getting over the line with a win.

“A mixture of the weather and perhaps the docile nature of this pitch has dictated that but all we can control is trying to keep getting better and making sure our disciplines are better and eventually the tide will turn here and we’ll get that elusive win.”

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