There was a point this afternoon, when Durham were 36-4 chasing 137 to win, that Derbyshire had a sniff of victory.
We hadn't batted especially well again, the loss of another batsman to a run out an unnecessary extravagance, although Hughes, Madsen and Morkel in their respective styles got us to more than at one point seemed likely. It was, at least, a potentially defendable total, but I said last night I fancied our chances more if we were chasing than defending and was proved right. Not that I am remotely happy about that...
With an array of spinners in the side, we could technically have bowled 16 overs with them on a track that, according to Paul Borrington's excellent Twitter feed, was slow and turning. It made it all the more surprising that we turned to Tim Groenewald and Mark Turner at the key point and they went for over ten an over between them. Both have done well in the tournament, but maybe today was a day to keep their input to the minimum, especially Turner, who in fairness has endured a somewhat wretched festival week since last weekend.
Having said that, Albie Morkel only bowled two overs and apparently strained a thigh muscle, which pretty much summed up the luck that has gone with the campaign from that perspective. I doubt it would have changed the result, but to have both overseas injured is tough for any team, especially one that is struggling.
There were encouraging spells from Peter Burgoyne and the recalled Tom Knight, both of who deserved their place and perhaps could have been involved in the side earlier,while I understand Tom Poynton kept wicket with his usual skill and high level of vocal input. Not such a bad day for the Academy product then, but another loss at the end of it all.
Where does it leave us? Out of the shake-up for the quarter finals anyway, with an away game at Trent Bridge still to come, besides the return against Durham. To go from 3-0 to 3-4 is disappointing. The loss of Chanderpaul has been a factor, but the bottom line is that we have not played good enough cricket and that win against Lancashire seems a lifetime ago.
In closing, there was a telling comment from Wayne Madsen as quoted in the Derby Evening Telegraph, when he talked about the defeat against Yorkshire.
"Dizzy ( Jason Gillespie) has got them playing a brand of cricket with
energy. They reminded me of how we went about our business last year-the
attitude and belief they have in the squad. That's exactly what we had
last year but we are nowhere near that this year".
Why is that? Losing regularly can be draining and we must not ignore the positive impact that Martin Guptill had on our out cricket at the start of the summer last year when we won a lot of games. At the end of it all though, recreating that level of intensity and that team spirit of just twelve months ago is something that the coaching staff will need to address somehow.
Otherwise it is going to be a long and miserable road to the end of the season.