There were a number of things worthy of note about day one of the Clash of the Titans today. OK, that's maybe overdoing it, but you get my gist...
First up, Derbyshire ended their innings having posted a competitive score and once again one that didn't look likely in the early afternoon. At 127-5 we were looking down a barrel of a score less than 200 and no batting points. To close with three in an all out score of 303 was a considerable achievement.
Once again Chris Rogers got us off to a flyer, but again got out just after reaching a fine 50. Wayne Madsen failed for once, but everyone does from time to time. Nor did the middle order make much impression, although Dan Redfern promised much in his 29 that contained seven boundaries.
It was again Wavell who held us together. He had four sixes by the time he had reached 40 and played a fine hand with his 74. 233-9 still looked vulnerable, however and we were again indebted to the late order and Jones the bat in particular. Steffan must be the best number 11 we've ever had and with successive fifties now must be looking for all rounder status...
It was again indicative of the fighting spirit instilled in the side by John Morris and Derbyshire would be quite satisfied with their final tally, especially when four wickets went to off spinner James Tredwell and Kent should have to bat last on this track. Jake Needham also did well at the other end, but his may well turn out to be a starring role as the game progresses.
It was interesting to see that Nantie Hayward was left out of the starting line up today. He's not yet hit his straps since his arrival, while Wagg, Jones and Groenewald have bowled consistently in recent matches. I'm sure his time will come, but it was a tough decision and full credit to the coach for making it.
Groenewald struck a telling blow with the last ball of the day after three expensive overs, when he tempted Denly into fishing outside his off stump and edging to the safe hands of Chris Rogers at slip. Kent closed at 49-1 and tomorrow is set to be a fascinating day's cricket. Early wickets are crucial for Derbyshire as the hosts will resume with in-form skipper Rob Key accompanied by overseas star Martin Van Jaarsveld. Get through that pair quickly and we're ahead in a very even game. If we don't. there's a lot of leather chasing in prospect.