Saturday, 1 August 2009

Kent v Derbyshire day 2

The more I read about cricket, the more I lament the fact that many of those doing the reporting don't seem to have a clue. Perhaps they're merely filling in their time before the football resumes next weekend, but the quality of journalism in some quarters is poor.

How about this gem from today's Times by Mark Baldwin

"They may be the top two teams in the LV County Championship second division, but you sensed throughout yesterday that a gulf in class existed between Kent and Derbyshire"

Oh, really? On a day that most others reckoned was pretty even? If I was John Morris I'd have that pinned up on the dressing room wall for the rest of this match, maybe even the rest of the season. Could a side have a greater incentive?

Derbyshire hit back in fine fashion today and could yet gain a valuable first innings lead. One suspects this will go to the wire and the top order must bat better second time around for sure, but this game is eminently winnable thanks to the multi-talented Graham Wagg who took 5 wickets, three with seam before lunch and two with spin afterwards

"Unexpected talent" says Sporting Life tonight. Really? In Derbyshire he bowled it last season and has done so regularly this year. Maybe the press need to return to days of having cricket specialist writers, rather than staff hacks who cover everything to some degree but little very well.

There are exceptions. Michael Henderson is always worth reading, even if you don't agree with him, but after that one can count the good writers on the fingers of one hand. Oh my Arlott, Cardus and Kilburn of long ago...

Back to today and we did very well to remove the dangerous Kent top order before lunch, but they bat long, with Parnell, an all rounder of some talent, at number nine. We've been held up by Tredwell, a player with an emerging reputation as an all rounder who must surely get a winter tour this year, yet could come out tomorrow and gain a lead that many cannot have expected.

Credit again to Tim Groenewald, another shrewd signing from Warwickshire. We have a unique swap arrangement going with the Brummies. We take players from them and they become excellent, they take them from us and they turn into... well, let's just call it the reverse Midas touch. I cite in one direction Messrs Munton, Welch, Wagg and Groenewald - in the other, Messrs Rankin, Botha and Clarke. My case is rested, m'lud.

We're not there as a team yet, but I would never discount this Derbyshire side. IF (big if) we can set Kent around 300 on the last day then this game is winnable, but we cannot assume to bowl them out cheaply twice as a matter of course. Wagg and Groenewald both did very well today and continued their recent excellent form, but to win this game I feel our spinners must emulate Tredwell, who will surely be the danger man second time around. With Wagg, Needham and Smith we have the resources, even before Redfern and perhaps Madsen are considered, but they need to bowl the right length and pace for the track.

Unless the weather again intervenes, the thinking money would be on a positive result here, with two innings gone in two days. It would be heartening - no, astonishing - if Derbyshire were to emerge victorious, but we have shown at least one member of the press corps that we aren't that far behind the favourites for the title in grit, ability or - yes I'll say it - class.

Big effort tomorrow lads. We know you can do it. Go get 'em.

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