Thursday, 3 May 2012
Derbyshire v Gloucestershire day 2
216 runs ahead with two days to go would normally suggest a win in the offing, though another "iffy" weather forecast suggests there may not be close to a full day tomorrow. That being the case, I can't see Derbyshire do anything than enforce the follow on, if, as logic suggests, they get to that stage tomorrow. They may not necessarily want to chase a big total in the final innings, but the mood in the camp is such at the moment that they would fancy their chances chasing pretty much anything.
What really impresses me about the team is that they battle, all the time. 327-8 became 388 all out as Tony Palladino (pictured) and Tim Groenewald, very competent batsmen for the end of the innings, helped Jon Clare to make a competitive total a very good one. Clare is enjoying a stunning start to the season, with aggressive batting contributions and an average of 31 adding value to sixteen wickets at just 12 each. He is a considerable talent and by the end of this season a wider audience than Derbyshire may well come to realise that.
His destroyer-in-chief today was the admirable Tony Palladino, a big favourite with the fans and a player increasingly respected by opponents. If you cast your mind back to when we signed Tony the winter before last - or care to check back through old posts - you'll know that I was excited, because he has always been a wicket-taker. That was despite rarely getting the new ball at Essex, nor the regular place that would help him relax and feel an established member of the side.
Last year, his first at Derbyshire, he took fifty wickets despite missing matches through injury. This season, despite a pre-season where he had an operation on his groin and another on a fractured jaw, he has already taken 18 wickets at 15 each. Sure, he has enjoyed some helpful wickets, but Palladino bowls such good lines and lengths that he gives himself the best possible chance of getting people out. He's also increasingly a bowler in the genuine Derbyshire tradition too, conceding just two an over so far.
Tim Groenewald wasn't at his best today, but will benefit from the overs under his belt, having gained rhythm in the process. Meanwhile David Wainwright did exactly what you want your spinner to do on a wicket offering him little help - he kept the batsmen tied down and offered little in the way of run scoring opportunity.
It was, in short, a thoroughly professional day's work. We also did what our opponents singularly failed to do in our innings and held our catches.
You really can't ask for any more. Derbyshire once again delivered today and if the weather plays its part we could be three wins out of four in the next couple of days.
Smiling? You bet...