Derbyshire's batting let them down tonight at the County Ground.
No team scoring 115 in 20 overs should have genuine expectation of winning the game and the feeling persists that we were 30 runs shy of making this a close finish. When our thus far successful top three all failed, the writing was on the wall and despite a very good 36 from Wayne Madsen, which was brought to a premature end by fine work from Chris Read, the rest of the batting struggled to come to terms with a slow wicket and good bowling.
By the same token, Derbyshire bowled well themselves and there was some excellent fielding. Michael Lumb anchored their innings with a knock that owed a little to skill and a great deal to good fortune. I cannot recall an innings where the batsman miscued so many balls and there were six or seven occasions when it either just cleared or just fell short of fielders. On another day, Lumb could have gone for single figures, but he rode his luck and fair play to him for that. He might consider a trip to the bookies tomorrow morning while it still holds...
David Wainwright bowled very well, Wes Durston equally so, but it was hard to get away from the feeling that we got team selection wrong tonight. When the slow wicket so helps spinners that the skipper felt compelled to turn his arm over for the first time in T20, it is hard not to think that Peter Burgoyne or Tom Knight might have been a better bet than Jon Clare or, especially, Mark Footitt. Neither bowled and while Clare does offer something with the bat, it would be silly to suggest the same from the latter.
Given Knight took four cheap wickets yesterday for the Seconds, he cannot be deemed out of form, while Burgoyne offers something with bat and ball. While Messrs Hughes and Whiteley are still deemed hors de combat, my feeling is that we shot ourselves in the foot to some extent tonight.
Still, three from four is something we would gladly have taken before the tournament and we remain in a very strong position in the group. Another defeat for Durham tonight puts them in a tough position and losing to the Nottinghamshire galacticos is no disgrace. We control our own destiny and there are supposedly big counties in our group who would like to be able to say that right now.
Beaten but not disgraced; bloodied but unbowed. I said last night that I thought we would lose and we did. I also hoped that we would battle and give them a game and we did that too.
Money talks and ultimately it did tonight. Yet Derbyshire have no reason to be ashamed. A little more luck, better application with the bat and lesser opposition could yet see us through to a stage of the competition that would be Quite Fantastic...
In closing, thanks to all those whose company I shared tonight. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you all and look forward to the next time and hopefully marking it with a win.