I got an interesting e-mail from someone the other day, asking me to list two Derbyshire sides. The first was to be a side that had to bat a day and a half, maybe two to save a match that was unwinnable; the second was the perfect T20 side, complete with two overseas players.
It has given me great food for thought and thanks to Nick for the idea! Tonight I’ll give you my side to bat a day and a half - maybe even three days - to save a game. Trust me, this side could easily do that as they all had, or have great powers of concentration.
I've called it my Dogged XI, and I've re-read that carefully to avoid misprints...
1 Alan Hill – Bud had the ability to bat for hours and frequently did. There was nothing pretty about his technique and he had an unusual, almost double backlift. Yet it worked and he was very effective for a number of years.
2 Ian Hall – a player who rarely attempted a flamboyant stroke, Hall knew his limitations and played within them. While not someone who would attract the crowds, supporters appreciated his dogged attitude and willingness to battle in adversity.
3 Tony Borrington – like Alan Hill, he had the shots and played some effective one-day knocks, yet he could and would dig in when things got tough and needed to be prised out. A battler, and his son Paul is a chip off the old block
4 David Steele – need I say more? He’d block it out for hours…no, make it days. I'm sure he went to bed playing the perfect forward defensive.
5 Dean Jones – Deano would bat and bat. Anyone who defies cramp, sickness and dehydration to make a double century for Australia in India gets into this team – as overseas player and skipper.
That little lot would take me through to lunch on the last day, so here’s the rest to ensure we escaped with the draw points:
6 Derek Morgan – rescued so many lost causes and propped up dozens of innings over the years. An essential selection.
7 Luke Sutton – a great team man and a batsman who, while not naturally flamboyant, makes the best of what he has. Delighted to see him back and in charge, the ideal man for wicket keeper.
8 Graeme Welch – another team man who battled in adversity, Pop had all the shots but would keep them hidden if there was a tough situation.
9 Edwin Smith – battling tail ender who would block it out.
10 Fred Swarbrook – my secret weapon. Three overs to go, two wickets left and the opposition think they’re through. Not a chance. Super Fred walking out would dampen their spirits and they’d not get close to seeing
11 Tim Groenewald – Came with a reputation as a hitter, but we’ve seen plenty of dogged knocks from Groeners. If he had to bat, they’d need a bulldozer and semtex to get him out when things were tight.
That’s my eleven. If you think I’ve missed anyone, please let me know. There were others – Albert Alderman, Charlie Lee – who could have been in there, but I never saw them. My side is picked on those I’ve seen play and to give a balanced side. I could easily have picked 11 batsmen.
Which is why we probably needed to bat all that time to save the game, of course!