Today effectively summed up the frustration of being a Derbyshire fan. We went from a sublime performance on Friday to a frustratingly average one against Middlesex where we failed to get going with the bat having pulled the hosts back from what looked like being a 250-plus total.
There were again good bowling perfomances. Chesney bowled a steady spell of eight overs and Steffan and Timmy G were as effective as ever. Still 242-6 was a total that required both a good start and someone to make a big score and on both counts we fell short today.
Six players got to 16 yet none of them went past 32. To have challenged the hosts we needed someone to match Nick Compton's century, but it was not to be. Still, it's one of the things about young teams, they make more mistakes and today was a defeat but far from a disgrace. The youngsters will have benefitted from the game and we'll move on from there.
Elsewhere, Essex surprisingly held out against Glamorgan, albeit by the skin of their teeth with a wicket in hand. Both sides would have loved the win points, but they had to settle for four draw points each. It leaves an intriguingly balanced table as follows (matches/points):
Kent 14 203
Northamptonshire 14 167
Essex 14 155
Gloucestershire 14 154
Derbyshire 14 152
Glamorgan 14 152
With points on the board Northamptonshire will fancy their chances at this stage, but most go to Essex this week in what is a huge game. Meanwhile Glamorgan host Gloucestershire while we play Middlesex at Uxbridge. IF Essex were to beat Northamptonshire and we beat Middlesex while Glamorgan and Gloucestershire draw, the last game of the season at Derby is a massive - no, mega massive match. It would effectively be winner takes all, although there'll be many an eye cast on the game in Northampton where Leicestershire will be visitors.
As always, a lot will depend on the weather for these games and on players rising to the big occasion. I'll look at the teams for Uxbridge tomorrow.
It all makes for a wonderful end to the season and I'm just happy that we're down to the penultimate Championship match with Derbyshire still in the mix, even if we're outsiders at this stage.
The stage is set, mes amis...