eft-hander, batting at No. 3, shared a second-wicket stand of 124 with skipper Steve Stubbings (72).
Ballance, who has scored two centuries for the 2nd XI, is staying with David Houghton, the ex-Zimbabwe captain who recently made an approach for veteran fellow-countryman Graeme Hick, currently in his 23rd season with Worcestershire.
Meantime, Derbyshire have clinched their first home Championship win in four years after beating Somerset by 80 runs. Australian Cameron White amassed an unbeaten 260 as Somerset were finally dismissed for 498 second time around.
New Zealander Craig Spearman hit 140 and 137 for Gloucestershire in a high-scoring draw at Northampton, while Lancashire lead Division 1 despite being held at home by Yorkshire.
Darren Maddy top-scored with 86 as Leicestershire, having totalled 177-2, won the Twenty20 Cup with a four-run win over Nottinghamshire in Nottingham. Earlier in the day, Notts knocked out Cup favourites Surrey by 37 runs and Leicestershire beat Essex by 23 runs in the other semi-final
Beckham axed by England
LONDON – David Beckham, the England superstar who captained his country in the recent World Cup, has been dramatically dropped from the squad by new manager Steve McClaren.
The decision seemingly signals the end of the Real Madrid midfielder’s international career after winning 94 caps. But McClaren says.”Beckham wants to fight for his place back and I will never say never.”
The English Premier League season starts this weekend. Champions Chelsea are at home to Manchester City, while newly-promoted Sheffield United host Liverpool.
Newly-relegated Sunderland’s nightmare start to the Championship campaign continued with a third straight defeat. Nick Chadwick’s late goal clinched Plymouth’s 3-2 win in the North-East. Robert Earnshaw, the livewire Wales forward, sealed the points as Norwich overturned a two-goal deficit to win 3-2 at home to Luton.
Despite taking over top spot in the Scottish Premier, Hearts were booed off the pitch after being held 0-0 at home by Falkirk. Want-away Stilian Petrov sealed Celtic’s 2-0 defeat of visitors St. Mirren. – John Hughes
Ballance stars on debut
BY JOHN HUGHES
LONDON - Gary Ballance, a 16-year-old Zimbabwean from Harare, top-scored with a superb 73 on his competitive debut for Derbyshire in a dramatic one-wicket Pro40 League defeat by Hampshire off the last ball at Southampton. The little l