It was a cracking game of cricket at The Oval today, with nearly 600 runs scored in 80 overs. Yet Derbyshire ended up on the wrong side of the result, something that seemed unlikely for the duration of our innings and for the first half of Surrey's.
The game seemed to turn on two expensive overs from Mark Footitt, which gave impetus to a Surrey innings that was in danger of being stifled by a good spell from David Wainwright. The problem today was that no one was able to bowl with similar control apart from Tim Groenewald, whose closing spell took the game to a closer finish than appeared likely, five overs from the end. Neither Alex Hughes nor Peter Burgoyne enjoyed the best of games, but it is silly to be harsh on two lads who are learning the game. They will, in adversity, have learned a lot about bowling at the death in the first-class game and will enjoy better fortunes on many occasions in the years ahead.
It was obviously a superb pitch, as one-day pitches there often are there at this time of year and I think a major reason for our eventual defeat today was the way that our innings hit the buffers after the dismissal of Paul Borrington. Wes Durston led off well, then Chesney took the lead after his dismissal and played some trademark shots en route to a run-a-ball 80.
Yet today's star was undoubtedly Paul Borrington, whose 72 came from 69 balls and probably made a few people sit up in the process. Over the past couple of years I have suggested on more than one occasion that a run of one-day games could be the making of him and he has enjoyed an excellent run in the Yorkshire Bank 40. The freedom to go out and play a few shots has helped and he has no doubt enjoyed the lack of close fielders for a change. It was an excellent effort from Boz.
After his dismissal we added 'only' 78 runs in the last nine overs, five wickets going down in the following six overs and our final total owed much to a late flurry from Tim Groenewald. Again, the inexperience of the middle order was a factor and experience will show them that there are different ways to keep a total ticking over than expansive shots, especially when they first come in.
One can take nothing away from Surrey though, who tackled a daunting run chase with common sense and skill. In the not too distant future I would love to see a Derbyshire side tackle a similar challenge in such style and with considerable panache.
A defeat then, and one that I suspect spells the end of our YB40 ambitions for the summer.
There were reasons to be cheerful though.