Newton at the double as County escape with a draw

Rob Newton made two centuries in the game against Derbyshire
Rob Newton made two centuries in the game against Derbyshire
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For a time, they made hard work of it but the County escaped from their Championship clash against Derbyshire with a draw.

After finally bowling the visitors out for a mammoth 569 which only took the small matter of 163.5 overs, the home side slumped to 37-4 before lunch but were rescued by Rob Newton and David Sales whose unbroken fifth-wicket partnership of 175 steered them to safety.

It was an especially good day for Newton who recorded his second century of the game, and his career best score, only the 11th time the feat has been achieved for the club and the first since Chris Rogers at Taunton in 2006.

The day started in anti-climatic style – for the visitors at least – as Wayne Madsen and Tom Poynton’s bid to break the world record for the ninth record came to an end in the second over of the day.

A single apiece in Lee Daggett’s opener was their total addition to the 259 they had contributed on the previous day, leaving them 22 shy of the mark set 102 years ago, before Jack Brooks uprooted Poynton’s off stump for his first wicket of the match.

There was still half an hour more torment to come as Tim Groenewald hacked his way into the forties as the tenth wicket added 55 in a fraction more than seven overs.

The number 11’s fun finally came to an end courtesy of a good tumbling catch by Alex Wakely at long-off, leaving Madsen unbeaten on 231, but that wasn’t it as far as the hosts’ misery went.

Facing a deficit of 169, the 17 overs they faced before the lunch interval could hardly have gone any worse as four wickets disappeared in next to no time.

Kyle Coetzer was the first to depart as he pushed at Groenewald and his exit heralded a mad few overs in which the County went from dipping a toe in trouble to jumping in head first.

Wakely, who has yet to rid himself of a habit of finding soft ways to get out, picked out short midwicket, Niall O’Brien was hit in front by a delivery that scuttled through and Andrew Hall wafted needlessly in the over before the break.

Something resembling normality resumed in the afternoon as Rob Newton and David Sales offered some belated, and required, resistance.

Despite a broken finger on his left hand, suffered in the field yesterday, Sales appeared at number six and didn’t appear to be too hampered while Newton picked up where he left off in the first innings.

The former had a let off when Wes Durston spilt a chance at slip off Tony Palladino but with the pitch remaining true and the spinners finding little encouragement, the contest swung back in favour of the bat as another session without a wicket falling would indicate.

While Sales was relatively sedate by his standards, Newton made light of the situation with another free-scoring soiree – he’s looked a new man since the change in management – as he posted 80 off his own back in the session.

Despite being dropped at fine leg from a top-edged hook on 91, he proceeded to motor to his second century of the game as he tucked into some friendly offerings from the part-time spin of Usman Khawaja.

In the process the deficit was wiped out and it became a matter of playing out time with the batting averages of the men at the crease the only things to benefit.