It was another pretty good day for Derbyshire today at Leicester, but the best news came when I saw that the forecast for tomorrow has changed from the rain predicted earlier in the week to a pretty dry day. We SHOULD have a chance of enough play to get the wickets we need.
Which explains, of course, why we batted on today until we had a lead of 300. My comments last night were based on little play tomorrow and I was surprised when we kept batting after getting our fifth batting bonus point at 400 today. As things stand, Leicestershire have done well today to reach 150 with only two wickets down, but if we can make early inroads tomorrow (and especially if we shift Ackerman and Taylor early) there's every chance that we could force a win.
Unless the forecasters change their mind, of course...
Chris Rogers went on to his highest score of the season today, a fine effort that he had to work for. By the same token, Greg Smith will be kicking himself that a fine innings fell short of three figures and will go down on his record as a fifty, rather than the near century it was. The other batsmen perished going for quick runs, with Wavell hitting some lusty blows and James Pipe getting some in the scorebook on his return.
When Steffan Jones got a wicket with his second ball, removing the other Greg Smith, the boys will have scented a day off, but I just hope we don't live to regret James Pipe dropping Boyce when he was only 17. Logic still suggests a Derbyshire win, since Leicestershire have a long tail, but there seems little wrong with the wicket and I can see us having to do the equivalent of a twenty over thrash tomorrow afternoon, unless the bowling conditions change.
We'll have to do it without Graham Wagg, who won't bowl again in the match, although there is no news yet on the severity of the injury and its long term implications. There's comments on 606 that Wagg has been overbowled this season, but I don't buy into that. I know he's a bloke who likes to bowl and, as I posted on 606, if you have the ability to bowl fast medium then switch to spin, there's every chance you'll have some long spells. When you think back to the 1,000-plus overs that bowlers used to get through, I don't think Wagg has been overbowled personally.
After all, he's been taken off twice....
Joking apart, I remember a season not all that long ago when it seemed Paul Aldred bowled one end from April to September. I'm also casting my mind back years to when I was sports captain of my house at school and wanted to win the school athletics Sports Cup. I'd a mate who ran for the local Harriers and was well rated and I put him in for the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m - plus the relays. He/we won them all and it forced a rule change the next year. I thought it innovative, personally and he barely broke sweat all afternoon. I sweated more as I watched the teachers in earnest discussion as he won yet another race...
Anyway, maximum points here would take us 20 clear of Gloucestershire, who themselves visit Leicester next Wednesday, while we entertain Northamptonshire. The latter are on the back foot against Kent and will have to bat exceptionally well on the last day to win and very well to escape with a draw. It would also put 30 points between us and Surrey. Their attack doesn't look the most dangerous and they're unlikely to have Andre Nel for the remainder of the season.
So tomorrow is more than just another day, it could well be a pivotal one in our season. Who's going to provide the spark for us?
I hope someone does.