simon francis

Throwback: Francis enters the record books

Today’s Throwback recalls a bowling performance that remains the 10th best figures in the history of One-Day cricket, taken back in 2004!

The match in question was a second round tie in the Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy between Derbyshire and Somerset and took place at the County Ground, Derby on May 5th.

After being asked to bat first Somerset lost opener John Francis for three with the total on nine.  Carl Gazzard followed for nine before Jamie Cox walked to the wicket to join skipper Mike Burns with the scoreboard showing 40 for two.

Between them the third wicket pair took the score onto 123 before Burns was run out for 59.

Somerset lost two further wickets before Aaron Laraman joined Cox and shared a partnership of 123. Cox was then run out for 131 (his highest one-day innings for the Club). Laraman remained until the 50 overs were up by which time the total had moved onto 290 for 6, and he was unbeaten on 50.

When Derbyshire replied openers Chris Rogers and Andrew Gait took the total onto 55 when Simon Francis had Gait caught by ‘keeper Rob Turner for 17.

New batsman Chris Bassano helped to take the hosts onto 100 before Francis trapped him lbw for 18. Rogers was joined by Hassan Adnan and the third wicket pair put on 93 until Keith Parsons accounted for Rogers (93), caught at long leg by Laraman trying to hook.

With 10 overs remaining and the Derbyshire score showing 213 for 3 the home side looked well set for victory.

However Francis returned to bowl and struck almost immediately when he had Adnan caught in the deep by Parsons for 78 which made Derbyshire 216 for four.  That soon became 218 for five when Francis had Luke Sutton caught by ‘keeper Turner.  Turner picked up another catch when Jonathan Moss edged an Andy Caddick delivery which saw the hosts to 224 for six.

As the Derbyshire run chase became more frantic Francis picked up the remaining four wickets, all caught in the outfield, before the hosts were all out for 276 to give Somerset a stunning victory by 14 runs with seven balls to spare.

Derbyshire lost their last seven wickets for 60 runs with Francis taking six of them to to end with figures of eight for 66, a new record for Somerset in List A cricket.  This beat the previous best of seven for 15 set by Roland Lefebvre against Devon in 1990.

Reflecting on the game 13 years on Simon Francis said: “If I remember rightly they seemed to be going along very nicely but then kept losing a couple of wickets before getting a few more runs.  Then towards the end they lost a stack of wickets most of which I managed to bag.”

“I remember that there were lots of good quality catches taken by our fielders, particularly on the boundary towards the end.  I have to admit that the game is a bit of a blur in many ways but it’s a bit odd really because it didn’t feel like it should be remembered as my best bowling spell for Somerset.  However, you’ve got to take what you can and to win the game was the most important thing for us, not how we won it.

“Its something that I am still very proud of.  It’s my career best bowling figures and since then it’s started to sink in that to get eight wickets on your own is a pretty special achievement and quite rare.  It’s probably something that I’m a little bit more proud of now than I have been in the past, but it’s good to remember that day.”

Pictures courtesy of Getty Images

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