When the groundsman at Queens Park wakes up tomorrow morning, I would reckon there's a fair chance of crop circles on the outfield. There has to be aliens in the vicinity, disrupting telecommunications today on what was a somewhat weird afternoon, albeit one after which Derbyshire fans can celebrate a fine victory against our northern rivals.
The teletext score, like Cricinfo, didn't move for a long. long time. Then, when it did, it started adding runs that didn't tally, Richard Johnson at one point being 95 not out before being dismissed for 79. Even our normally excellent Twitter feed was affected, with various inaccuracies. At one point we had batted 23 overs when we'd actually faced 17, then were 238-6 with eight overs left. When Johnson was dismissed we were 221-7, still needing 28 to overhaul Yorkshire's 239... it took a little deciphering, but all turned out well in the end.
Technical glitches apart, it was a better performance by Derbyshire, though the result shouldn't mask another batting display of some frailty, set off by Usman Khawaja's first-baller. At 56-4 another heavy one day defeat beckoned, but Wayne Madsen and Richard Johnson started a recovery. When Jon Clare was out quickly, I doubt that many thought a win was still possible, but the partnership between loanee Johnson and Alex Hughes was a revelation - an excellent illustration of how to chase a total by two young players. Don't panic, work the ball around, run hard and hit the bad ball to the boundary.
There is little doubt that Johnson is a very good cricketer, a busy and organised player. His glovework is of a high standard and good judges said that he is a far better batsman than his average suggests. To be fair, given that he rarely gets in before number nine at Warwickshire, he has suffered from lack of opportunity as much as anything. At 24 he looks set for a fine career, but with Tim Ambrose ahead of him at Edgbaston he may well have to move for the opportunity he patently needs. Following this display there will be a few fans suggesting that we move for him, but that would depend on his contractual situation. I also feel we have other areas in greater need of strengthening than wicket-keeper and it should be remembered that Tom Poynton is two or three years behind Johnson in age and development. We are, however, fortunate to have him at a key time in the season and his performances suggest he should be first choice during the month that he is on the staff.
There were two factors, aside from the innings of Johnson, in today's win. One was the greater discipline of the bowlers - compare our five extras conceded with Yorkshire's more profligate 22. Then there was an innings of some maturity by Swarkestone's Alex Hughes, who, at 20, has shown enough in flashes this summer to suggest a bright future. He has bowled some good tight overs, fielded well and today played a supporting role of some maturity before stepping forward after the dismissal of Johnson to finish the job.
It augurs well. One innings doesn't make a career, but Hughes can be proud of his role in a high pressure game in front of a large crowd and can take great encouragement from his display.
It was a game that I would have loved to have seen. A close game, ending the right way, on a ground that is as pretty as you will find anywhere in the world, with the sun shining and two young cricketers taking a game away from old rivals.
Be still, my beating heart...