There was another display of potential from Derbyshire tonight, albeit in a somewhat redundant YB40 fixture, which they won with some ease.
A solid team effort got us to a competitive 218-8 in our forty overs, with Richard Johnson top-scoring with an excellent fifty and the skipper weighing in with 37. There were good cameos down the order too, with Tony Palladino carving merrily at the death as we all know he can do.
He then had a good spell of seven straight overs that will do his confidence good ahead of next week's championship match against Middlesex, although he was outdone by his opening partner, Wayne Madsen.
Is there anything this bloke can't do? Besides batting as if his blade is three feet wide this season, he is emerging as a more than useful bowler who tonight returned the superb figures of 3-27 in eight overs. To be fair his record in the Lancashire Leagues suggested he could bowl, but it is good to see him having the confidence as captain to lead from the front and turn his arm over.
I do think he needs to do a bit of work in the winter though. If he can also develop his seam bowling, he could come on as first change, bowl some handy Kallis-like seam, then switch to spin as the ball got soft. Oh, and still bat three and skipper...no problem then, eh?
I was delighted to see Tom Knight in the wickets tonight and it is no more than the lad deserves. He is and has always been a good bowler and we should have used him more this summer, especially when David Wainwright was having a few issues with his bowling. As was pointed out by a contributor the other day, he gives you a degree of control, is much improved in the field and can handle a bat.
I think Knight a more developed bowler than Peter Burgoyne at present, although the latter's superior batting and fine catching at slip will earn him brownie points and he will continue to develop, as Knight will do, with opportunity. Seeing the latter bowl in the last two YB40 games merely serves to illustrate my recent point that we missed an opportunity to field him in more one-day games this summer. Both have a massive role in our future.
Then again, David Wainwright took a look at a helpful track tonight and presumably thought "I'll have some of that". Figures of 4-11 in less than five overs indicates a bowler with increased confidence and a sense of purpose. He senses a challenge from Knight and that can only be a good thing for the team.
It was a good win but more than anything it gives Karl Krikken food for thought ahead of Middlesex's visit to the County Ground. I think that we will aim for a similar wicket to tonight for that game, aim to bat first then turn the spinners loose.
Be honest, worthy bowlers as Groenewald, Footitt and Palladino are, would we pit them against Finn, Murtagh and Harris on a green top? I'm not sure I would, but I would be inclined to go with something close to this team:
Yes, you could play a third seamer and go with Durston and Wainwright for spin, but both Burgoyne and Knight are in good form and full of confidence. Durston may not be able to bowl long spells either, which could be a deciding factor.
I'd be inclined to let one of them loose. Both, if Burgoyne batted six and Alex Hughes was omitted, but that would leave you without a third seamer.
Thoughts? Let's get your comments coming in folks...next week is a big match