A frustrating, but not entirely unexpected final day as we took only one wicket before a draw was agreed between the skippers.
There's the (expected) comment of "something lacking" and "not ramming home advantage" on 606, but let's be honest, to win on this sort of wicket you need an outstanding bowler. A Michael Holding might have made something happen, but there's none like him around at present.
The bottom line is that if we make 586-4 there's nothing wrong with the track. The only way we could win today was if the atmosphere had been muggy and the ball had swung. With nothing in the wicket, the game looked a draw from 11.30am this morning. Key, Jones and Van Jaarsveld are all international players and international players drink at the well when conditions are there for them.
I agree with "Peter" on 606 tonight. Another year in this division will be no bad thing and we'll be a stronger side next year. If we could pick up another spinner (Middlebrook?) another seamer (hands up if you fancy Kabir Ali coming here...) and maybe another batsman to replace those who have left, we'll have a good side next season. If Yorkshire join Worcestershire in the relegation places, there'd be no one I would especially fear next season, though Surrey must surely be better than this year.
I still think that Essex will gatecrash the second promotion place, though will need to win their next games as I fear the last game at Derby will be like this, a high scoring draw.
For me, that's the essential for next season, to get more pace in the tracks and make them more bowler friendly while not enough to fall foul of the pitch inspectors. Durham have a fine side, but its no coincidence that their Chester-le-Street track usually helps the bowlers and therefore brings a positive result. The preparation of such pitches is a fine art, but our current seam attack would take advantage of a helpful wicket more often than not, while we bat low enough to put on a total regularly.
In short? We should have been able to take three wickets after lunch at Leicester and Northamptonshire should definitely have been beaten at Chesterfield. Today there is no shame after outplaying Kent for most of the game, as we did indeed at Canterbury. Two wins in the last two games could still keep it tight at the top, but its not going to happen. I can see us beating a poor Middlesex (especially without Shah) but not Essex.
One problem today was the loss of Chris Rogers with what looked like an ankle injury. Hopefully it won't keep him out for long, but the chances are he'll miss tomorrow's game at Edgbaston in the Pro 40. The hosts have named a strong looking squad, with England hero Jonathan Trott back in their side. The squad is:
With three ex-Derbyshire men in the side there'll be a little extra spice and I'm sure Graham Wagg and Tim Groenewald will want to play against their old side. Maybe we should have kept Dan Birch and Dom Telo on and it could have been an Edgbaston trial for them...
No news on our side at this stage, but I'm guessing that Morris may give Ian Hunter and Chesney Hughes an outing. Assuming Rogers misses the game, Madsen has club commitments to fulfil and Poynton gets more experience, the side could well be:
I can't think there's any point in playing Lawson and Needham seems out of form and favour. There's plenty of bowling options and should be a decnet match, even if one with little at stake.
See you tomorrow!