Controversial decision clouds Northants' draw with Derbyshire

Billy Godleman was controversially reprieved on the final afternoon at Wantage Road as Derbyshire comfortably batted out for a draw against Northants.

Wednesday, 4th May 2016, 5:44 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th May 2016, 6:47 pm
Richard Levi reached a century for Northants against Derbyshire (picture: Dave Ikin)

The incident came shortly before tea when Godleman stood his ground after a fair catch was claimed by Jake Libby.

It mattered not in the wider context of the game with Derbyshire declaring 229 for one in their second innings. They took 10 points to Northants’ 13.

But a bad taste was left after Godleman, on 63, drove in the air to Libby at deep point who took the catch down low. But Godleman refused to move, disputing whether the catch had carried.

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A long conversation began with umpires Martin Saggers and Russell Evans and despite both umpires being at least 70 yards from the fielder, they decided Godleman was not out.

A long protest from Northants captain Alex Wakely followed, but Godleman was allowed to bat on.

“I thought it was out,” said Northants head coach David Ripley.

“If you’re caught on the boundary 80 yards from the wicket, it’s a difficult precedent to set standing there and saying ‘well you can’t be sure somebody’s dived and caught it’.

“Days of looking at the fielder and walking off are of course long gone so that’s not a strong argument. Maybe the umpires should have nipped it in the bud.

“If it happened again tomorrow, I’d like to think it would be handled differently.”

In an ironic twist after tea, Godleman, having quickly moved to 94, rocked back to cut Libby’s very part-time offspin, and hit his own wicket. Godleman left the ground to cat-calls.

There was nothing to taint the innings of Chesney Hughes who brought up his second century of the season. A chanceless innings of 162 balls with 12 fours and two sixes on an afternoon of few problems under glorious blue skies. He walked off 109 not out.

The only danger came from the spin of Graeme White, who created some nervous moments early in his spell but Hughes and Godleman used their feet smarty against the left-arm spinner and both lifted him for six over midwicket.

A change of ends brought no further joy and the day meandered to a close with a draw shaken on at 4.50pm.

It was Derbyshire’s third successive stalemate and a second in three games for Northants.

Northants hoped to put their visitors under pressure on the final day, having batted on for seven overs of the morning to add 32 more runs to their overnight total.

Bowled out for 470, they took a first-innings lead of 146 and left Derbyshire 87 overs to bat out for a draw.

Richard Levi took his overnight 84 to a seventh first-class hundred - and first of the season. His first scoring strokes of the morning were two boundaries to take him into the 90s. The 11th four of his innings - clipped through midwicket - brought up a century in 127 balls.

He was last man out in the Northants first innings - and the penultimate wicket of a tepid final day’s play.