Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Worcestershire v Derbyshire day 1

Today we were carted around by a powerful Worcestershire batting line up, led by the imperious Graeme Hick, who hammered 450-8 in just 82 overs. Even the normally niggardly Charl Langeveldt got hammered, primarily at the start by Vikram Solanki but latterly by Hick en route to a run a ball 149.

That's the bad news. On the upside, we fought back well considering they were 392-4 and skipper Rikki Clarke bowled the best spell of the day, taking 2-37 in 12 overs despite an ankle problem that should have prevented him bowling. In addition, Chris Rogers and Paul Borrington batted steadily through to the close to finish 27-0 against an opening attack of Matt Mason and Simon Jones. The home side are also missing the prolific Kabir Ali in this game, so the rest of the attack looks less menacing, although Imran Arif has made a fair impression so far.

One would hope that our batting, with Jon Clare at eight and Graham Wagg at nine should be capable of getting to 301 and avoiding the follow-on with a decent batting strip. Their declaration to rob us of an extra bowling point presumably aimed at getting wickets tonight so we're still in this one.

On a different tack, there was a good article on the Derby Telegraph site today about Wavell Hinds. If you've not already seen it, you can do so at http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/sport/County-waiting-Wavell-explode-fuse-burning/article-252774-detail/article.html

I'll admit that I'd not really noticed the consistency of his scores and there's a few recent contributors on the 606 board who must be feeling a little awkward after criticising him. Much the same as Chris Rogers, the main criticism is that he's not gone on to a big score. In a side of questionable batting consistency, the onus is on these hugely experienced players to make the big scores and the younger guys to pitch in here and there. With Rikki Clarke they are our big names and if one of these guys made a hundred each time we batted there'd be no holding us. Lower order contributions have been good all season but time and again they have had to be.

Dan Birch dropped another catch today and this is a weakness of the burly batsman. He dropped an easy one at Lords and while not a liability in the field, he's not the most natural of athletes either. Today's cost us 75 runs as Hick moved to 149 and he owes us when he bats.

The decision to go with an all-seam attack was well intentioned but there must have been times today when Clarke wished he had the control and change of pace afforded by Doshi or Needham. Greg Smith hasn't bowled enough this year to bowl with control and took some flak today.

Anyway, tomorrow is another day. Perhaps the day when Rogers and Hinds come to the table and feast on the Worcestershire bowling. This time tomorrow, we'll know if Derbyshire can still have a say in this game (and the promotion race) or if we're destined for another year of under-achievement.

While considering the possibilities tonight, think on one thing. Worcestershire must think we're still very much involved - why else would they deny us that extra bowling point?

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