Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Gloucestershire v Derbyshire day 1

There is an old adage that says that you learn more about people - and by extension teams - in adversity than you often do when things are going swimmingly. That being the case I think we will get a better picture of the genuine merits of this Derbyshire side by the end of this game than we perhaps have done so far.

One thing that I have learned about the greatest of games over many years is that just when you think you have it sussed it has a habit of coming back to bite you. That's what happened today - all of us, myself included - were perhaps getting carried away that we were brilliant, unbeatable perhaps. We're not, as I've said before, we're a young side and a work in progress. After today, one with a lot to do...

Today's pitch was by no means difficult, or so I've heard from people who were there and from reports. It could be said with a degree of confidence that Derbyshire batted worse than they have all season, several players contributing to their own downfall. While some have moaned about the decision to bat, Derbyshire should not have been bowled out just after lunch on such a wicket, with two run outs contributing to their premature demise in an uncharacteristically poor and shoddy display.

Yet they fought back pretty well, with Gloucestershire five wickets down by the close and a lead of 87. They have realistically only four wickets left, with Chris Dent unlikely to bat with a fractured finger, so early wickets tomorrow and keeping them to around 220-230 still leaves this game wide open. Yesterday I said that Alex Gidman was sure to return to form soon, and having been a thorn in our side for years, he returned to be just that today.

I stand by my assertion that this isn't a good Gloucestershire attack, although the returning David Payne improves it, but anyone who saw them at Derby and thinks this an attack that should bowl the opposition out for under a hundred is delusional. Will Gidman is a good cricketer, but their record thus far suggests a side of only average ability and one that hasn't hit its straps this summer. By the same token, a team that goes out to bat carelessly, as we did today, asks for trouble. We need much more application in the second innings, that is for sure, but if we can leave the hosts 200-plus in the final innings they will not fancy it especially.

So we will learn more about Derbyshire over the next couple of days and unless it hoses down for most of them there should be a positive result in this match. If we bat badly again we will go down to heavy defeat, but I'd like to think more of the current line-up than that they could do that twice running. I also think that a certain Mr Guptill might want to sign off in style, so don't write off the boys yet - there's a lot of cricket still to play.

By the same token, I think we found out a bit about some fans today too. The comments and e mails were flying thick and fast after our innings, in far greater quantities than is ever the case when we do well. What is it about Derbyshire fans that make them so? Maybe it is human nature - we are all perhaps more ready to criticise than to praise, when we really should turn that around more often.

Someone had a ridiculous dig at Matt Lineker, in his first appearance of the season, but the biggest surprise was that no one thought to blame Paul Borrington.

It must have been his fault for being rested, after all...


notoveryet said...

A few select quotes from my comment after the second day against Essex last week...

"There's been enough fragility to suggest that a reverse could come". Stand back and admire the prescience!

"I'm counting no chickens, and I don't think we can sustain this all season." Wow, what foresight!

"These two days have felt like a huge step forward." And now one step back. Oh well, none of us are infallible.

At one level, this has been predictable. Our position in the table is misleading, as we've really only faced Essex once of the strongest teams, and in all of the games we've won, there have been stages when matches could have turned in the other direction. The results have been convincing, the performances less so, and even against Essex last week, there was a point where only Tom Poynton prevented the game being all square at the end of the second innings. Even if we can turn this around (and let's not forget Bristol, August 2010 - I'm hoping players on both sides won't and will be intimidated or inspired ) I'll admire the resilience and determination, while still worrying about the fragility in the batting.

In this context, I can't agree with you about Borrington or Lineker. We are challenging for promotion (no, dammit, we are front-runners for promotion) and this is no time for nonsense about giving fringe players a go to see if they are up to it. We know from almost three years experience that Chesney Hughes has character and class, and even when he wasn't in great form last year, has often scrapped for decent scores. I've expressed the view before that I think that Madsen's best position is opening, and I'm sure that the records will prove this, but since this doesn't seem to be an option, Hughes' record should put him first in line. Worryingly, once Guptill goes, and if Madsen doesn't go up the order, we've half a season to find out if Lineker or Borrington or both has what it takes. Our priority now should only be to put out the strongest team, and to my mind this only means that Hughes should be playing.

Marc said...

Let,s not panic. Yes,we have batted poorly today,but every team has days like this,even Warwickshire. We will probably lose this game,by some distance,but it,s still only one game.

The pitch was not to blame,poor batting was. The key is how you react after a setback. You can sit there and sulk or you can off your ass and fight back. We have shown fighting qualities this season and we now need to show it again. Today was disappointing but not the end of the world. The mental strength of these players will now be tested. Let us see what they are made of.

Anonymous said...

Phew, the planet's still spinning this morning after all. So we lose one or two along the way? A few folks will need to get a touch of reality as the season progresses. We're still a work in progress - but what progress compared to recent years.

Marc said...

Just want to add this. I think Madsen did the right thing in batting. At the end of the day you have to back yourself to get a decent first innings score. In addition,it,s rarely a good idea to be batting last. Batting first would,in theory at least,give our spinners maximum chance to do their stuff. It hasn,t gone to plan in this game,but it will do more often than not.