That top order batting again shows its frailties and despite the best efforts of the Leicestershire old boys (Messrs Rogers, Sadler and New), we lost in an exciting finish by six runs.
There were some strange things in the game and the choice of bowlers at the end of the Leicestershire innings seemed odd, with Wavell Hinds given the last overs from one end while Jon Clare, Graham Wagg and Ian Hunter all bowled less than their allocation. Maybe its me, but if I was batting against our attack at the end of an innings, I'd fancy a go at Wave's dibbly-dobbly seam more than the others. Perhaps the others may have got the treatment too and Hunter did take the other end, but they scored around 35 from the last four overs which turned the game.
I said last night that Greg Smith is not an opener and it was proven again tonight. He is a talented middle order batsman, but there's a big difference between batting one and batting four. You don't see Pietersen, Kallis, Symonds and Hussey opening the batting and they're all better than Smith. Why not let New open? He usually did for Leicester and was left high and dry at the end of the innings today with our fans doubtless wondering what might have been.
Sadly Rikki Clarke again fell for nought and yet another first baller. The only Derbyshire player of any talent that had anywhere near such a torrid first season was Charlie Lee back in the 1950s. He came from Yorkshire and had a dreadful first year, before blossoming into a solid county pro and eventual club captain. Rikki must be longing for the end of the season and a reassessment of things. As a batsman he has failed badly, as a bowler he has too great a tendency to bowl "four" balls and thus as an all rounder he has fallen well short of expectations. Only as a slip, where he has held brilliant catches, has he performed and no one can hold down a place for that alone.
So despite his only scoring 13 tonight, Dan Redfern must be in for Wednesday as Rikki is so out of form. At least one senses Dan will sell his wicket dearly, which Rikki seems incapable of doing at present.
I'll be glad when the Pro 40 is finished. We really are poor at one day cricket.