Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Somerset v Derbyshire day 1

When I saw that Marcus Trescothick had won the toss and elected to bat under cloudless skies at Taunton today, the thought crossed my mind that they may well have batted us out of the game by stumps.

Instead, after one of the most extraordinary days of cricket in my recollection, we close 117 runs ahead with five wickets in hand. By any standards you care to mention that was a remarkable effort by a set of players who are anything but predictable. Perhaps that's why I love the side so much, because you genuinely don't know what sort of display you will get. If we were to win all the time, like cricketing Harlem Globetrotters, it would be boring. Nice, mind, but boring..

This was real 'Derbyshire' cricket. Rekindling the spirits of Warren and Bestwick, Copson and Pope, Gladwin and Jackson, Ward and Rhodes, Tim Groenewald and Tony Palladino destroyed the home side after Mark Footitt had taken the wicket of their talisman, Marcus Trescothick. It was classic Derbyshire bowling...two runs an over, moving it around and making the batsmen play. Only a last wicket flourish by Chawla took the home side past a hundred, but this was a remarkable effort by our lads.

I'm thrilled for the two seamers. For Groenewald (left) a five-wicket haul is a fine way to celebrate the birth of his new baby, in the course of it taking his 200th wicket for the county. For Palladino (above) it was just reward for a lot of work to get fit after a couple of injuries this summer. Both men confirmed both their talent and that they will continue to be a wicket-taking force for us next summer, wherever we are playing our cricket.

For Karl Krikken it was a switch in the side that couldn't have gone better had he written the script himself. Perhaps Palladino could and should have played at The Oval. Maybe, had he done so, the result might have been different. We'll never know, but we'll all have our thoughts on that one

It was all so astonishing after the run fests of our recent trips to Zumerzet and made me wonder how our reply would go. Rather well, was the answer, with youngsters Slater and Borrington leading off with a fifty stand that settled some nerves. Boz went to Chawla's first ball and he always looked the likely danger man, finishing the day with four wickets. Slater went on to a fine 45, but Madsen and  Chanderpaul failed and the departure of Alex Hughes left us in no man's land at 127-5. It would have been feasible for us to have been bowled out for well under 200 at that point.

Which is of course when two keepers came together to take us to a fairly prosperous 220-5. There's been comments-a plenty on the merits of picking two glove men in the first eleven, but both can handle a bat and today the two good friends made hay while the sun shone and the shadows lengthened. Recent signs on Johnson as a specialist batsman are encouraging, while, as I wrote the other night, Poynton has steadily improved as the season has progressed and will always battle. His glove work continues to be of a very high standard and his vocal prowess undiminished.

I'll not get carried away yet. Somerset have good batsmen and they surely cannot do so badly the second time around. We won't want to chase 150 on a wearing pitch in the fourth innings against Chawla either. Yet the signs are good. If we could muster more runs and - crucially - bonus points tomorrow and get a lead of 200-250 we shouldn't have to score too many.

In my wildest dreams I couldn't have come up with today's scenario and it bodes well for this side, whatever happens in the rest of the match and the rest of the season. For the first half of the championship campaign we gave the impression of being new kids at High School. For most of the last month we've looked like the senior staff, playing as well as any side in the division. Progress, beyond doubt.

That was seriously, seriously impressive gentlemen. More of the same tomorrow will do very nicely.

PS The pitch inspectors will be there again tomorrow, concerned about extravagant turn and bounce on day one..but don't hold your breath on any points being docked for the hosts. If it did happen, it would really shake up the bottom of the table.

Now if it was at Derby....


Gary said...

Can't argue about that day Peakfan. Great bowling performance and good effort to get to 220 for 5. Like others I have not been convinced by having Johnson and Poynton in the same team but they are both showing improvement (and both are in our top 5 average wise)and todays partnership was crucial in order not to throw away the start.
If reports are to believed the ball was turning and spitting off a length on day one with the opposition having an overseas spinner and needing to win - It may well not be that bad but as you say I would have liked to have seen the decision had it been at Derby...
Only downside is wondering what would have happened if Palladino had played last week but that is gone now and hopefully we can finish this off

Peakfan said...

Agreed there mate!

Marc said...

I looked and the score was 19/1. In what seemed the blink of an eye they were 8 down and then all out. It would be hard enough to believe at most grounds but almost unheard of at Taunton.

Great credit to Palladino and Groenewald who must have caused some real problems and returned with astonishing figures. Is the pitch really that poor,or was it simply down to good bowling and catching?. The wickets have certainly been spread around with the spin of Chawla coming to the fore during the afternoon and evening.

It did look at one point as if our lead wouldn,t be large enough to think in terms of winning the match but a few more tomorrow would ask Somerset an awful lot of questions in their second innings.

We have to be aware the pitch may flatten out and like you say Peakfan,with Chawla around,we don,t want to be chasing too many in the fourth innings. I must give credit to Johnson and Poynton who dug us out of a tight hole and showed great maturity to keep us on track. Up to now I haven,t been an advocate of playing both keepers,simply because Poynton hasn,t really got going with the bat until recently,but he seems to have discovered some form now and I give him a pat on the back. I,ve never had a problem with his keeping and maybe Johnson can become a front line batsman and part time keeper.

It was also good to see we didn,t freeze and simply sit on the splice,just because our opponents had made a royal cock-up of their innings.Ten boundaries from Poynton was positive,aggressive cricket. I wont dwell on the point,but had we showed a little more adventure against Surrey.....

We still have work to do tomorrow and need as big a first innings lead as possible. It was a shame to see Hughes fall cheaply,he seems to have a problem getting his pads out of the way at the moment.So long as he doesn,t ask Chanderpaul for any advice!. Could be a good day tomorrow.A very good day indeed.

Tim, Chesterfield said...

A fabulous day for us. Indeed had we batted first and been 500/2 we wouldn't have been in as strong a position as we are to win the game.

Belief from here can take us a long way - we are in a great position and should we score another hundred runs (as we can quite easily, especially with cultured whacks from today's successful bowlers) then Somerset's talented but clearly brittle batting will be right up against it.

I honestly believe we can have this game won tomorrow - we need our foot on the throat early when we get the ball in our hand and in our three seamers we have men who can do the job.

John Cross said...

This sooo reminded me of all the great fast bowling of the past as you eluded to Peakfan. Great stuff. It still beggars belief that for different reasons they were absent at the Oval. Ah well, water under the bridge. If we win here I guess we want a draw between Surry and Somerset due to play next. John

Paul said...

The perfect day -

Warm weather
Top quality scrumpy
Sizeable away following
Krikken picks his best bowling attack at last
Opposition captain wins toss, expected large score fails to materialise and Derbyshire incredibly end day one in box seat
Possible points deduction for our rivals?

Not sure about the latter as Somerset found amazing ways to get out - strangle down leg side,drive to mid off and holing out on boundary. Not unlike a Derby pitch for seamers and boy did we bowl well. However ..... There IS excessive turn for day one so maybe the inspectors have something to look into. The Leggie for them is dangerous but bowls some real rubbish as well so the scoreboard keeps ticking.

If we can keep him out the cider boys have noone else.

I said last night that Somerset have a soft underbelly( confirmed today by the locals) but did not expect the whole team to be so poor. Can they be as bad second time around. According to the locals yes! This has been going on all season and remember they nearly blew it at Derby.

If only Tim And Tony had played at Oval ...,,,,,,

Incidentally Compton will be Somerset captain next year with Trescothick standing down &/or retiring.

You heard it here first.......

notoveryet said...

I rather had my money on an old fashioned Taunton batsman's paradise, given that a draw would do Somerset nicely, but perhaps they didn't have time to change course after we lost on Sunday. I'm tempted to say it shows how different it might have been at the Oval if Palladino had played, but without wanting to take anything away from the bowlers, it does sound from reports as if Somerset's batting had as much to do with this as our bowling. That, together with the relative ease that we scored, might be bad news for a points deduction. But, apart from the great position we have got ourselves into in this match, what is particularly encouraging is that we seem to be the only one of the bottom 4 sides playing with any sort of consistency. We'll need that with Durham and Warwickshire to come, and almost certainly needing to win one of those even if we win here.

Marc said...

Agreed Notoveryet. I,m not really in favour of clubs being deducted points unless the pitch is really unfit for first class cricket and/or has been produced with a blatant advantage to the home side.

Some will recall a few years ago when a directive stated pitches had to be straw coloured. We had umpteen situations where 700 played 650 and many sides never even had a second innings. These matches are the most boring of all and we don,t want to return to the days where clubs and groundsmen are petrified to produce anything other than a shirt fronter. A less than ideal pitch can produce a good game of cricket and still be a fair contest.