There are no surprises in the Derbyshire squad for tomorrow's game against Gloucestershire and nor should there be.
Without doubt the Leicestershire game was a slight reality check for our lads, though I totally subscribe to Karl Krikken's comment that we could have won it on the last afternoon had the weather stayed fair. We'll never know, of course, but the signs are that we're getting a nice opening partnership together in Messrs Guptill and Borrington, always important for any side. How much nicer is it for number three to come in with 70-odd on the board than in the second over with the seam still prominent on the new ball. Considering the somewhat parlous state of batting conditions in the country thus far, for our lads to have shared in a double century and near-century stand in two out of three matches is a good effort.
We'd all like to see Wayne Madsen and Wes Durston resume normal service in the run scoring, but I've no worries on that score and they will both come good sometime soon. Dan Redfern and Ross Whiteley pick themselves at five and six so the batting is looking a good unit, one that should score heavily when conditions are more favourable.
The only real decision is whether Mark Footitt gets a well-earned breather and Tim Groenewald comes in. I think he will and Footitt can put his feet up ahead of a lot of bowling when the pitches get harder and faster as the summer comes along (it will, won't it?)
The Derbyshire squad in full:
Wayne Madsen (c), Paul Borrington, Martin Guptill, Wes Durston, Dan
Redfern, Ross Whiteley, David Wainwright, Jon Clare, Tom Poynton (wk),
Tony Palladino, Mark Footitt, Tim Groenewald, Mark Turner.
Mark Turner has yet to feature this season, but the word is that he is bowling quick and accurately in the nets. His time will surely come, perhaps in our first one-day game of the season against the Unicorns.
As for Gloucestershire, they welcome back Kiwi overseas star Kane Williamson, who will slip into the middle order alongside his compatriot Hamish Marshall. Former Hampshire man Benny Howell looks set to open the batting alongside Chris Dent in this named squad:
C.Dent, B.Howell, K.Williamson, A.Gidman (capt), H.Marshall, I.Cockbain,
W.Gidman, R. Coughtrie (wkt), E.Young, J.Fuller, I.Saxelby, D.Wade,
It is a decent side and they are sure to be competitive under John Bracewell. They look a better batting than bowling side, but Will Gidman has been a revelation for them and with his brother Alex makes up a formidable pairing.
Again though, I don't look at them and think we're in for a drubbing. The winning of the toss could well play a part and there will be some highly competitive sessions of play. Yet I remain convinced that Derbyshire, if they come out as focused and fighting as they have so far, have what it takes to beat them.
Mind you, that pesky weather looks set to play a part, with rain forecast for Thursday and Friday. It may end up having the final word, but I have a feeling that this Derbyshire side will have plenty to say for themselves in between times.
I'm inclined to forecast a draw, with the weather looking as it does, but if it keeps its ugly nose out of it, Derbyshire are eminently capable of another win.