Sunday, 23 August 2009

Derbyshire v Kent Pro 40

Another disappointing day today as our attack were unable to defend a decent total of 259-8 in 40 overs as Kent ran out easy winners.

I remember many days at Chesterfield where that total would have won the match by a country mile, but the advent of 20 over cricket has brought new strokes and greater ability in working the ball, with the upshot that the result was a foregone conclusion long before the winning run was struck.

Derbyshire's total was built around a fine knock by skipper Chris Rogers, who got a bad lbw decision to end his knock on 88 (were the umpires two fat ladies?)He was well supported by cameos from John Sadler, Tim Groenewald and Jon Clare. It was especially good to see Clare back to something like his best after a difficult second season.

Yet the ease with which we scored at the end of the innings suggested that Kent could do something similar. The highly rated Sam Northeast went early on, but James Hockley and Alex Blake scored steadily in a second wicket partnership. Although Kent were behind the rate when Hockley was dismissed, and Jon Kemp never got going, Darren Stevens and Blake put on a stand before Azhar Mahmood with Stevens took our bowling apart.

There have been comments on message boards about being beaten by Kent Seconds, but for me the game summed up how far we have yet to go before we reach the standard of a club like Kent. Again though it comes down to resources and Kent have far more money to play with than John Morris does at Derbyshire.

There's a comment on 606 that Morris has had more money to spend than David Houghton. That may be true, but it is a marginal increase created by behind the scenes restructuring and the fact is that we have the smallest playing budget of the 18 first class counties. Before the prophets of doom moan too loudly, we should accept that we have punched above our weight for a fair part of the season, have been found wanting for one reason or another when it mattered and will hopefully emerge from the summer with a stronger side next year.

Again, however we were found lacking in the spin department, with Mark Lawson's leg spin going for nine an over. We simply have to find someone better than that for next year. Nothing at all personal against Lawson, but I don't think he's better than Needham and if he's the best spinner we can get we are going to struggle for some time to come.

I know Rogers scored the majority of runs today, but there's a desperate need for a bowler who can take wickets or keep it quiet. A Langeveldt, Hopes or Afridi today might have made a difference. There was a strong similarity to the Twenty/20 at the end of it all. Solid batting, a competent - even challenging - total and then indisciplined bowling when the going got tough.

A couple of puzzlers to end. Why did Wavell not come back on after three tight overs early on and why did Lawson come back on after getting hit out of the attack at the end of his first spell? It was telling that Dan Redfern outbowled Lawson today and his inclusion in the attack was an afterthought. No complaints with the rest of the attack and Greg Smith did especially well, but boy, do we need a spinner.

Maybe we could bring Venkat back....

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