It was good to read this morning about our emphatic win last night.
We've all spent many an (un)happy hour reading reports of Derbyshire being thrashed and its nice to see pretty much universal acclaim of our performance.
Of course, the bowling was not at its strongest. Tim Groenewald bowled beautifully in his first spell and Greg Smith did well up to his last over, but the stars were the lesser lights. Garry Park showed what a good little player he is with a tight spell. The commentators got it right when they said he was similar in style to Mark Ealham and he, like Groenewald, has been a good signing. Timmy G took his 50th competitive wicket of the season last night, while Park needs only 132 from his potential last four innings to reach a thousand in his first full Championship season. Throw in useful bowling that will only get better and brilliant fielding and he is a talented player.
The same goes for Greg Smith. He wants to bat higher in the order than six and showed last night, as he has done regularly of late that he now has the technique to do so. His batting last night showed a maturity that has been lacking previously. No attempt to match Rogers shot for shot, just a workmanlike innings that took us to the finishing line with plenty to spare. Like Park he is brilliant in the field and he offers spin and seam options with the ball, a wonderful asset to any captain.
Speaking of the captain, Chris Rogers now averages over 60 in both one and four day cricket this season, an outstanding effort. Some of his shots last night were superb, especially the drive back past the bowler off the back foot. I also thought he handled his attack well and set good fields last night.
It was good to see so many youngsters in the side. With Redfern, Whiteley, Hughes, Poynton and Needham all under 25 there is a lot of potential. How good a spinner Hughes is likely to be I don't know. He doesn't have a classic action but takes little out of himself and puts it on a decent length. There were a few balls that spun quite sharply too, so there's talent there for the strapping teenager. Given that his stronger suit is supposedly his batting, I'm looking forward to seeing the young man develop. Crikey. I sound like Brian Clough there...
Ross Whiteley got little opportunity last night but I think he's a lad who has much to offer. Sometimes his radar goes a little but his left arm seam/swing can trouble batsmen when he is in the groove. He is also a very clean hitting batsman and I could see him developing into a good all rounder with greater opportunities. With Jon Clare to come again after the travails of the season, we have less to worry about than many counties for next season and the tighter visa regulations.
If Chris Rogers earns an Australian recall, what we do have is an opening partnership of genuine quality. I thought Wayne Madsen looked a very good player last night and loved the way that he was unafraid to hit over the top on the offside, while adding to the fielding strength too. Rogers, Madsen, Smith, Park and Redfern suggests a top five for the future, with the other place there to be fought for. Wavell Hinds may well be back next year, but John Sadler and Chesney Hughes will both have designs on that place. Paul Borrington will also want into the batting line up and his best bet may be if Rogers doesn't return. I would be very surprised if Morris was keen to split a blossoming partnership and Borrington may have to drop down the order if he is to break into the side next year.
It is a nice problem for John Morris. Tomorrow, his side head for Uxbridge and a game against Middlesex in the Pro 40. The same squad will travel, with the addition of Tom Lungley and Graham Wagg. There's little at stake in the game, but Derbyshire will want build on last night and show that it was no fluke. Madsen may well have club commitments and with Ross Whiteley may be the ones to make way, but he'll be a fixture in the one day side next year and I look forward to it immensely.