Two words describe Derbyshire's performance today in their opening CB40 fixture of the season.
Notwithstanding the fact that the Unicorns are perhaps the weakest of the non-first class sides (though they have some decent players) this is exactly the sort of game, as I mentioned this morning, in which Derbyshire have often come a cropper. We lost and tied with the Netherlands last season and have rarely beaten Scotland convincingly. Fans could have been forgiven for thinking that today might have been the same old, same old...
Especially when Chesney went early in his first senior knock of the season. As it turned out, he was just saving his energy for later and Martin Guptill and Wes Durston proceeded to add 222 for the second wicket, a partnership enjoyed by a good crowd of visiting Derbyshire fans. Watching those two in full flight can't have been the worst way to spend an afternoon and by the time a late burst from the skipper had taken us to 287-3, one sensed that this one wasn't likely to go against us.
The benefits to Tim Groenewald of a long bowl at Derby on the last day became evident in a superb opening spell that removed the dangerous Michael Thornely. Groenewald ended with the superb figures of 2-19 in eight overs and is getting back to his best, while there were useful spells from Ross Whiteley and Jonathan Clare. Mark Turner was a little more expensive, but like Groenewald needed some time in the middle and will benefit from today's game.
The main damage, however was done by the spinners, with Chesney Hughes returning the remarkable figures of 5-29. He and David Wainwright did very well after the seamers had put the Unicorns way behind the clock and Derbyshire ran out easy winners by 129 runs.
It was good, convincing and professional, with special mention to another very good performance behind the stumps by Tom Poynton, which capped a solid fielding performance.
So five games gone and still unbeaten. There are harder matches ahead for sure, but Wayne Madsen must be very proud of the way his young team have started the season positively and unbeaten.
For that matter, so are we. Well done lads!
Top of two leagues? Can we fast forward to September now?