Wayne and Wainer's World...
Northamptonshire may be known as the Steelbacks but for me they will always be known for the county town's footwear. Quite apposite really, as the weather forecasts I saw yesterday and today were obviously cobblers and Derbyshire earned a quite remarkable win this afternoon by 203 runs.
To be honest, I didn't see that one coming and when Derbyshire added to their overnight total in relative ease this morning there seemed little reason to expect an ultimate triumph, Paul Borrington came oh-so-close to a maiden century for the county, but Bozza's time will come for that and if nothing else he has totally earned the right to a run in the team. His partnership yesterday with Martin Guptill should be seen in a completely new light now by those who dismissed the slow scoring and they both deserve hearty plaudits for their role in an astonishing triumph.
With Tim Groenewald missing with his groin injury, Derbyshire could not afford to be overly generous with their declaration and more quick runs from the admirable Mr Redfern, who looked so good in this match, enabled Wayne Madsen to set a target of 337 in 72 overs.
Although Mark Footitt and Tony Palladino each took an early wicket, there appeared no undue issues when the visitors brought up their hundred in the 35th over. Even the club's Twitter feed suggested they were playing out the draw (which seemed the summit of their ambitions throughout the game), but then a player who has made an enormous early impact at Derbyshire stepped up to the mark.
As you will know if you have read this blog over the winter, I had absolutely no doubt that David Wainwright would prove an outstanding signing for our club. Everything about him suggested he was the type of player we needed, including a loyalty to his club side at Castleford which, in the light of lucrative offers from eslewhere, suggested him a man of integrity, aside from genuine merit as a cricketer.
Pre-season he proved himself a bowler who could both contain and also take wickets when conditions favoured him. He also showed himself a batsman of real talent, but today it was all about the bowler, as Wainwright slowly but surely whittled his way through the Northamptonshire middle order. There was a little luck along the way, especially when Middlebrook drove him onto Dan Redfern for Mark Footitt to take the catch, but every bowler needs that. At the end of a debut match that entered the realms of fantasy, Wainwright can reflect on figures of 27-10-50-1 and 26-11-33-6. It is a long, long time since a Derbyshire spinner returned two such sets of figures in a game - and I include Robin Peterson in that statement. As the man who replaced Greg Smith in the middle order he can reflect on a job brilliantly done.
So too can Karl Krikken. It was perhaps tempting on the first day, especially when the visitors opted to leave out new South African spinner Con de Lange, for Krikk and Wayne Madsen to play Jon Clare instead of Wainwright. For me, you need that variety in the attack, even if the ball isn't turning and full marks to those concerned on an eminently sensible team selection.
Nor should we forget the efforts of Wes Durston, who took the crucial wicket of Newton soon after he reached a patient fifty, then the last one when his arm ball clean bowled Liam Daggett. Then again, you cannot discount the team, as there was not a single player who failed to make a contribution to this win. Tom Poynton kept beautifully throughout and the team worked brilliantly in the field.
As for the new skipper, he couldn't have done more. I noticed how his preferred position is now mid off, to enable him to talk to his bowlers and he timed the declaration to perfection. Then he changed his bowlers round and ensured that batsmen never got settled, placed fields intelligently and, at the end of it all, saw his young team (average age 23.8 by the way) win in some style.
One win doesn't make a season, but it might go some way to stopping some of the patronising garbage being spouted by cricket media people who really should know better. To them, Derbyshire might be "a team without any real talent" but today they won a memorable victory because they are just that - a team.
To be honest, from what I saw of this Derbyshire side over recent days, they're more a tribe or a gang. One for all and all for one might well have been the maxim of the Musketeers, but could easily be adopted by the Flying Falcons. Only time will tell if we can follow this with consistent, sustained performance and mount a serious promotion challenge (I think we can, for the record).
But by crikey, this one will do nicely for starters. Madsen's Marauders are up and running...