Thursday, 20 August 2009
Derbyshire v Northamptonshire day 2
A life membership of Derbyshire Cricket Club for the under 50's? £1950
A revamp of the County Ground introducing 2,000 seats and a marquee? £500,000
This afternoon's stand between Tim Groenewald (pictured) and Steffan Jones? Priceless.
With apologies to Mastercard, that's the sum of it in the context of this match and possibly Derbyshire's season. With Gloucestershire having a dreadful day at Leicester and having to pull something quite sensational out of the bag to get anything from the game, a win for us in this game would put real daylight between us and the chasing pack, even allowing for Northamptonshire having a game in hand.
I said last night that I thought the two late wickets had left the game evenly poised and although Northamptonshire got to lunch with 200 on the board and only five wickets down, Derbyshire and Tim Groenewald in particular came out after lunch like men inspired. 224-5 became 246 all out as Groenewald, with a little assistance from Wavell Hinds, ripped the lower order apart.
Of course, to do that a bowler has to have some help and it was always likely that we would struggle in turn. At 53-4 I'm sure you were as concerned as I was, with Lucas and Van der Wath getting movement from the pitch. Wavell Hinds counter attacked and played a fine cameo before hitting a steepler to mid off, while Dan Redfern dug in and battled for an hour and three-quarters for his 28. Even so, at 140-7 and all the main batsmen out we needed runs from somewhere.
Enter Messrs Groenewald and Jones. As the bowlers tired, the two bowlers added 63 in 11 overs with some sensible batting. Last week on 606, someone moaned about Groenewald and said they didn't know what his role in the team was supposed to be! The answer's simple - he's possibly the best signing of the season who takes wickets and has contributed useful tail end runs on several occasions. Same with Steffan - his attitude, runs and wickets have been spot on since he arrived from Somerset.
On the Northamptonshire boards they already think they've lost this one and didn't fancy their chances of making 175. Now that we're 221 ahead, my money is on Derbyshire. I exchanged texts this afternoon and said that 180 would be testing on a wearing track. A few more tomorrow will be handy and 250 a psychological barrier, but we will need to bowl badly or them bat especially well to lose this one. The wickets of Peters and White will be important, the former as he can dig in, the latter as he can take a game away from you quickly, but for me we are in the driving seat here.
On the subject of the wicket, I'm sure John Morris would have asked for a result track and has almost certainly got one. Whichever way the result goes, isn't it nice to see a game where there's a balance between bat and ball and the batsmen don't have it all their own way? Look at the farce at Taunton at present. Sussex 742-5 and Somerset 126-0. Boring, boring, boring. I know which game I'd sooner have watched, irrespective of Murray Goodwin's triple century.
So to tomorrow. Leicestershire nearly 300 ahead at Grace Road with five wickets left against our nearest rivals. Makes our "failings" last week ever so slightly more palatable doesn't it? If we can bag the win points tomorrow, we could be 26 points clear of third place after this round of matches.
Come on lads. Let's do it tomorrow!