All things considered, we made a bit of a pig's ear of it today.
After a good start from Rogers and Madsen, we recovered to pass the hundred with only two wickets down and then the middle order fell away. It was only through the clean hitting of James Pipe and Steffan Jones that we reached 250 and a second precious bonus point. In the light of that collapse, maybe we should be pleased with that 255. Not great, but not disastrous either.
Yet half an hour from the close, Northants were cruising at 131-1 with White and Peters finding things very much to their liking. We were, putting not too fine a point on it, looking down a barrel.
Then Wavell's dibbly dobbly seamers got White lbw and Tim Groenewald got his second wicket, the huge one of Stephen Peters, who went in the same way. A closing score of 137-3 means that all is fairly even, though I'd be happy as a Northants fan tonight.
Wavell's wicket reminded me of something that has puzzled me this year - his lack of bowling. Maybe he's had a niggling injury, but there's been times, especially in one day games, when Wavell's wobblers would have done something different and maybe slowed things down. He's an underrated bowler - no world beater but needing to be watched. I think he's been under utilised with the ball, no question of it.
As for the game, today's wickets have increased the likelihood of a positive result, even if rain takes a hand. A couple of early wickets and we could have Wessels and Hall in. Van der Wath can hit hard as we know, but we are still very much in this match.
What we really need is for Nantie Hayward to come out tomorrow and rekindle memories of the international bowler he was. It hasn't really worked for him so far, yet one hopes that the fire still flickers and could yet be fanned into flame. A fit and firing Hayward would get life out of this wicket and there's no doubt that Graham Wagg would have loved it today as he often does well at Queens Park.
In today's other big game at the top of the table, Leicestershire made 332-8 against Gloucestershire, with teenage prodigy James Taylor again top scoring with an unbeaten 76. A wonderful talent that lad and I only hope he's a lifelong Derbyshire fan whose ambition is to join us and play a major part in our rise to do,inance. I suspect he won't, but we can dream.
Finally tonight, news that we're developing the ground with 2,000 more seats and a permanent marquee is excellent. One assumes that this is to pull in more punters for the big Twenty/20 nights. In the light of our form in this format of the game, might I suggest that the big tent is called the Marquee de Sade?
I'll get me coat. See you tomorrow when I'll blog earlier - the painting has officially finished!