Today could scarcely have gone better for Derbyshire, if I am honest.
We won the toss - as much a cause for a lap of honour as a win might be on this season's events - then bowled tidily before Mark Footitt completed a classic top and tailing of an innings in taking career-best figures of 6-53.
It once again highlighted the enigma that he is. After receiving serious treatment in the T20, he returned to his best, bowling fast and swinging the ball to be nearly unplayable at times. If he could do that all the time, he could be an international quality bowler, because swing from that angle and at that pace is both difficult to face and very rare. To be fair to the lad, he has consistently taken wickets this summer and has reaped the rewards of a lot of hard work on his core. He is fitter and stronger than he has ever been and both the player and the strength/conditioning team deserve credit for his work this year.
There was good support from Tim Groenewald, while Wes Durston chipped in with two wickets as Durham scraped their way to 253 all out.
It was a decent total but no more than that. Derbyshire must now bat and bat, putting big runs on the board, conscious that the totally barmy regulations allow Graham Onions to return from training with England to take his place in the side before tea on the third day. No doubt the thought of facing one of the county circuit's more deadly operators crossed their mind when a decision was made this morning, but the overcast conditions made bowling a worthwhile course of action. It could well swing tomorrow, of course and we will then see how we handle such conditions.
Ironically, after the discussion around Richard Johnson's elevation the opening berth, he saw it through to the close, whereas the more experienced opener, Chesney Hughes, departed before he got his feet moving. I still feel that it was a muddied decision in playing two wicket-keepers, but Krikken is the man in charge and had his reasons for doing so.
On that subject, I have deleted a post today by a regular - and usually valued - contributor who shall remain nameless. My reason for doing so was that I felt the comment was overly vitriolic, was a personal attack and included a statement that I felt was unnecessary. It would have been deleted before this evening in normal circumstances, but having been traveling home all day I hadn't seen it before now.
I like to think that the contributors on this site are sensible and will avoid such comment and sincerely hope that the one to which I refer was a one-off aberration. It would be very easy to set things up so that all comments require pre-moderation, but I hope that such intervention is not necessary. We are, after all, adults and should behave accordingly. Please note that I can pre-moderate and delete, but NOT edit comments, so if a sentence is wrong in a long piece I cannot simply remove it.
One of the joys of the site from my perspective is that it enables like-minded Derbyshire supporters to engage in discussion and light-hearted banter. By all means challenge my views and comments, but be ready for my reply! Please do not, however, make personal comments about very loyal and able people at the club - our club. That may be deemed fair game in certain environments and some sites, but certainly not on this one.
If the contributor concerned wishes to mail me and is unsure about what was unacceptable, please feel free to do so at the usual e-mail address.