For those who remain unaware that I am, in fact, a hip and happnin' dude, I'd just like to say Peakfan's in da house - his own, that is...
In the time it took me to drive up north today, Martin Guptill and Paul Borrington put on the small matter of 213 unbeaten runs against Northamptonshire, effectively making the game safe for the county in the light of tomorrow's weather forecast. It was a terrific effort, requiring considerable concentration and technique against a new ball that swung and asked plenty of questions.
It is, however, disappointing to see some of the comments on the Forum tonight regarding "slow scoring". Everything about yesterday suggested that while staying in was easier than it had been, scoring runs freely was more problematic. Alex Wakely is a talented and attractive young batsman and his 60 in four hours anchored their innings, even if it wasn't the most exciting innings to watch.
Today, Paul Borrington scored at half the pace of Martin Guptill, yet lets not forget that the latter is an established batsman of international pedigree. Borrington is not yet an established batsman in the Derbyshire team, yet worked hard to ensure that he played a full and vital part in the first double century stand for the county in some time.
When I was walking round the ground the other day, I spoke to a pleasant chap who said that Borrington was too slow in his scoring, a comment that I patiently explained rather missed the point. EVERY team needs a solid opening batsman who will dig in and make the opposition work to dismiss him, making the most of it when they don't. From an excitement perspective it is undoubtedly better if every opening pair was like Greenidge and Haynes, but that doesn't happen too often. This is four-day cricket and a player with the technique, patience and ability to open the innings and bat for a day and a half is a priceless commodity to any side.
For Derbyshire to have a successful four-day campaign we need a solid opening pair and 213 is a strong argument for solid. In the first innings Borrington scored only one in three quarters of an hour, but again one has to look past those figures at a bigger picture. Yes, compared to Dan Redfern's precociously brilliant century it pales somewhat, yet had he not seen off the new ball Redfern may have been in earlier and had a more difficult task. Lets not forget that in his last match, on a difficult wicket on which his team mates struggled, Borrington made 87 and 19 at the Oval. His knock today emphasised that he is coming to terms with the first class game and, as an advocate of the lad's talent for some time, I look forward to a point in the near future where I can say "I told you so".
At the other end Guptill did exactly what we signed him for - led from the front, displayed a straight bat and fine technique and undoubtedly helped his young partner because he's just that sort of man. We are lucky to have this most genial (and talented) of men at the county and I expect him to score a barrowload of runs in all cricket before June.
In the morning, we did well to remove the Northamptonshire tail to secure a lead, especially with Tim Groenewald having a groin strain. Tony Palladino reaffirmed his merits as a new ball bowler and Mark Footitt deserved another wicket after a lengthy bowl at good pace.
The game will be a draw, because the weather will ensure it is so and the pitch is not conducive to forcing runs in the fourth innings. More importantly, with a bowler down we're not going to set any easy target if that forecast turned out wrong. As an aside, we'll need more life in future tracks if we are to challenge for promotion with a young and talented side, that's for sure.
At the end of it all, in short, it was another good day for the Derbyshire boys. Congratulations to Bozza and The Gup - the boys done well, as they say round these parts.