Taking all things into consideration, Derbyshire did as much as they could have been reasonably expected to do at Leicester today.
After Tony Palladino's stunning early hat-trick, Jonathan Clare and David Wainwright bowled well but it was Tim Groenewald who earned the accolades with a superb 5-29 in nearly 18 overs. Derbyshire bowled with control and discipline and will have been delighted with their day's work, culminating in getting to the close unscathed.
Realistically, the awful forecast for the week suggests we will get little else from this game but it should not detract from a fine day's work. The reasons for Derbyshire's success thus far are patently obvious - we have three outstanding seamers, all of who have taken between 24 and 31 wickets at less than 22 runs each. I said before the season that there was no better seam attack in this division and they have proved it in every game thus far.
All are right-arm bowlers but they are quite different. Palladino strikes me as a more "skiddy", Dale Steyn-type bowler, one who always has it in the right areas, quick enough to keep batsmen on their toes and experienced enough to mix it up, varying his line and length to good effect. His hat-trick today was a classic - one leg-before, one caught behind from a lifter, the third yorked in fine style. Top stuff from a very good bowler who took his 200th career wicket in the process.
Jonathan Clare is now back to the player he was when first bursting on the scene. A bad shoulder injury set him back mentally as well as physically but Clare is an excellent cricketer, one who should gain England Lions selection before long. He is perhaps the quickest of the trio, hitting the pitch hard and capable of golden spells that can change the course of an innings.
Then there's Tim Groenewald, who is now close to being the complete bowler. He bowls quick enough to hurry the best batsmen, but also has tremendous control, as highlighted by his conceding only two runs an over in the Championship. If there is anything in the wicket I remain confident that this trio can outbowl any side in the division, assuming the batsmen give them a chance. Groenewald has 24 wickets at less than 18 this summer and a career bowling average that is coming down by the year.
They are a fine trio and we are very lucky to have them.
Which brings me neatly to my next point. There were grumbles from Derbyshire fans yesterday when Palladino and Groenewald were rested for the match against Warwickshire. "Its only eight overs" said some, while another suggested that "surely they could manage four overs" in the T20.
Well yes, they could. But that misses the point. With the physical demands of the one-day game, the need to dive around, hare around the field and go for everything places increasing strain on muscles and joints. I've seen plenty of dislocated shoulders and damaged limbs in the T20 especially and the same people criticising Karl Krikken for resting key men would be quick to castigate him if they were injured and ruled out of the matches that look set to be massive in the coming weeks.
Older fans will point out that Les Jackson, Cliff Gladwin and Harold Rhodes bowled a thousand overs a season and never missed matches. Great players as they were, however, there was no expectation that they would do much in the field unless an occasional catch went their way or the ball needed thrown in from long leg or third man. Nor were runs expected from them. Nor did batsmen charge them or change stance, moves that require late adjustments in the action, causing further strain on the body of the bowler.
I don't suggest one generation is better than the other, but simply present the facts of the matter.
If Palladino, Groenewald and Clare remain fit I am confident that we will be in the promotion shake-up in September. I mean no disrespect in saying that I would be less confident if two of them needed to be replaced by Evans and Higginbottom for key matches. Those two are talented young bowlers, but you cannot replace experience. For me, Krikk did exactly the right thing, even if, in so doing, there was an inference that the competition didn't matter.
To be fair, it doesn't - at least not this year. The Derbyshire squad is not big enough or experienced enough to battle on different fronts and having got off to a flyer in the Championship it is logical to maximise your chances in that competition and rest players - much the same as football teams do in the Carling Cup, or whatever it is called these days.
Yes, it must be frustrating for fans who turn up to watch the first eleven and see major players omitted, but that has to be accepted in a small club with a very young squad. Fringe players need opportunities when the time is right and Karl Krikken and his coaching staff deemed the time right on Sunday. Already without Martin Guptill, we were unlikely to beat a side that is currently the best in the country and others got the chance of a runout.
We didn't win yesterday - and by all accounts were pretty poor - but today, when it mattered, three fit bowlers did what they do best.
For me, that beats competing yesterday, but probably losing eventually, every time.