Saturday, 20 September 2008

Derbyshire v Gloucestershire day 4

Although it took a fair amount of work, Derbyshire took the final eight wickets of the visitors today to win by mid-afternoon.

Massive credit for the win has to go to "Sobers" Wagg, who in taking ten wickets in the match, as well as scoring a hundred runs, became only the third man in Derbyshire history to achieve the feat and the first since Les Townsend in 1934. The only previous occurrence had been in 1927 when Garnett Lee scored an unbeaten century then took 12 wickets against Northamptonshire.

Wagg is earning himself a deserved reputation and there are few players in the game can bowl seam and spin with equal skill. I still think his batting can develop further and he could become a top-notch all rounder. He's a very fine player as things stand and has totally vindicated the opportunity he was given after the problems of a few years back.

Langeveldt again produced the goods when they were required, dismissing the two danger men in Marshall and Gidman, as well as the stubborn night watchman, Kirby.
He and Wagg now have the same number of wickets this season and it will be interesting to see who ends the year as leading wicket-taker.

We should not, however, forget the efforts of Steve Stubbings in this game. His unbeaten 62 in the first innings was crucial in getting us to a first innings total that was semi-respectable. Meanwhile his second effort was hampered by injury but he hung in there while Wagg put the bowling to the sword and the game out of Gloucestershire's reach. While big innings have been few and far between for Stubbo this year, he has been distracted by benefit commitments and still looks set to finish with a mid-30's average. While the likeliest victim if a batsman has to be sacrificed, we would need to get a good player in to replace him.

And so on to Leicester for the final acts of the season and there's a battle royal for third place in the table. Northants currently head us by one point with Essex five points behind. The latter visit Gloucester, while Northants entertain Middlesex. We should be quite happy to visit Leicester, who have some talented players but are in a transitional period. They are heavily reliant on HD Ackerman for runs and Dillon du Preez as a bowler, while Paul Nixon was back in the runs after a lean period today. The skipper would love a good knock, as eighty runs would see him end the season as the top scorer in the country, Worcestershire and Stephen Moore having finished their season. If he managed 128 in the match he would reach 1500 first class runs for the season, a magnificent effort.

Equally important would be a win sending the supporters into the close season in good heart. It is six months until we start all over again and there will be heightened optimism if this season concludes with two wins and third place.

Bring it on!

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