Friday, 6 September 2013

Somerset v Derbyshire day 4

What a result!

While we all hoped, some of us prayed and a few remained sceptical, this young, ebullient side came up with a remarkable performance to steal a win in what must have been one of the best county championship games in many a year. After the concerns over pitch inspectors on the first day, Somerset are to be applauded for an excellent cricket wicket, so much better than the anodyne tracks of recent vintage that gave batsmen averages way ahead of their ability.

It was, as Shivnarine Chanderpaul pointed out on the club site, very much a team effort. Go through the side and there's not a player who didn't contribute in some way to the success. Shiv, with the humility that befits the man, name checks a few of them on the club site and tonight there should be special mention of the innings played by Alex Hughes. He will, I'm sure, go on to make centuries for Derbyshire that require less effort than the thirty-three runs he scored today. There's been debate over whether Peter Burgoyne should have played in his place, but the bottom line is that Hughes did us proud when we most needed it. And once again Karl Krikken's selection came off.

The same goes for the other youngsters in the side. Borrington and Slater led off with 52 and 49 in the two innings, partnerships that established momentum for the side and were of paramount importance. I've read unnecessary criticism of the pace of their batting, especially in the second innings, but those making such comments should try opening the batting on a pitch helpful to bowlers and in a pressurised situation. They did a grand job and such comments suggest that the team weren't fully au fait with the weather forecast. They are much better prepared than that.

Slater in particular can be proud of his contribution. 104 runs in the game is an excellent effort and I expect to see the lad given a full-time contract for 2014, at the very least. It was a wicket where failure would have been understandable, but Slats battled it out and played two very important hands for his side.

Another young player who is worthy of note is Tom Poynton. Over on the Somerset supporters board there were favourable comments about the standard of his wicket-keeping, especially in comparison to Craig Kieswetter, who had a nightmare match. His first innings partnership with Richard Johnson was of massive importance and took us to a lead that was more substantial than appeared likely. His work behind the stumps was, it would appear, near-exemplary.

Anyone else noticed the grit in these younger lads? There's been accusations in the past of youngsters coming in to a Derbyshire side and folding at the first sign of pressure. I don't know who or what has made the difference, but the battling spirit in this side is a joy to see and augurs so well for future summers.

It was apposite, however, that Tim Groenewald was in at the death. With 28 still to win and two wickets left, our senior pro was as good a man as you could wish for at number ten. He, Tony Palladino and Mark Footitt bowled splendidly and set the tone on the first day and the focus remained to the very end.

Yet I can't close without acknowledging a supreme innings from Shiv Chanderpaul. I've been critical of the volume of runs this summer and I'm sure the player himself would have hoped for and expected more. Yet on a day when we needed him so badly, he came up with the goods and steered us home. It is hard to evaluate the full significance of this win right now, but Shiv has given us a fighting chance of avoiding the drop and most of us will be talking about this win twenty years from now. It was that good - and so was our West Indian star.

Next up are Durham, top of the table and looking to be champions-elect. Logic suggests we are set for a fall, but this side of ours is currently defying logic. We might yet go down, but by crikey, we are going to do so fighting. Most importantly, the side  has restored pride for the fans, reputation for the club and made names for themselves.

It has been a remarkable few weeks and better still I will be at the County Ground this week to see the Durham fixture. A month ago it looked like being just another game. Now? It's huge. But there's time for that another day.

Tonight, we celebrate.

Well done lads!


Marc said...

I think those who were at the ground today wont be needing a manicure for a while,whichever side they were supporting.

When Johnson went first up it really looked like we were heading for the exit door and another nail,perhaps the final one,was being hammered in our coffin. It was a great effort from Chanderpaul and well supported by young Hughes,who was certainly under pressure in more ways than one.

I still believe we are up against it because of our result against Surrey but there is a path to salvation. It,s still a narrow one and mostly uphill but up until a few weeks ago, anyone talking seriously about staying up was in danger of being hauled off to the nearest lunatic asylum.

Durham will not be easy (for them I mean)and if we do play to our maximum there is no reason the dream can,t live on. At least now we can keep dreaming.

Anonymous said...

A superb summary Peakfan illustrating how a team can be greater than the sum of its parts.

In nearly all of these games, we face enormous odds of playing against experienced international standard players. It is of huge credit to them all, that we now stand ahead of Surrey,Somerset and Notts in terms of number and wins and alongside Warwickshire.

Of course we all feel the defeats but the joy of days like today and at Hove and versus Middlesex make it all much more worthwile.

To win this thrilling game without a major contribution from our excellent Captain must finally give everyone the message that great strides are being made.

Handling the pressure as a supporter is hard enough. How the players responded in the heat of battle speaks volumes.

Whatever the outcome, we should all be very proud.


Tim, Chesterfield said...

I think all Derbyshire followers can be immensely proud of how we've played over the last few games regardless of our fate.

Peakfan said...

Good comments gents and fully agree!

Paul said...

What a marvellous marvellous result!

Despite the bad start to the day and then the wobble at 216-8 deep down I thought they would do it. Today had a feel of Kent at home last year and look where that took us. This team has found it's mojo again.

People are contributing from all parts of the team but Krikken should not be afraid to make a few changes for Durham as there are still a couple of players who could do better.

Three other points -

1. Having attended this match rarely have I seen so much turn from day one and whilst you praise Shiv Peakfan I would like to reiterate how good his second innings knock was. Yes there will be bigger innings that catch the eye and other batters chipped in but basically our season rested on his shoulders because trust me if he had got out we would have lost. It was an absolute master class in batting under great pressure on a wickedly turning pitch. I know this is what we pay him for but Amla apart I cannot think of too many others that would have delivered.

2. You make a good point re pacing the innings and the weather forecast. Other contributors on here and the other Derbyshire forum made ridiculous statements about " going for it " yesterday and scoring more quickly. I can only believe they were not present as to win yesterday we would have had to score at 5 an over which on that wicket would have been suicide and almost certain defeat. Slater and Borrington had a job to do which was to give us a base and it would have been criminal if either of them had got out to the pacemen on that pitch.

3. Finally, where are all the supporters? I cannot believe after such a fantastic win there are not more people on here celebrating or do they only come on when a good moan is the order of the day !

Cone on the Falcons the Great Escape is well and truly on !

Peakfan said...

A man after my own heart Paul. Solidarity mate!

Anonymous said...

I was at Taunton to see the last day and it was certainly a nail-biter. Shiv was terrific and really did shepherd the tail through to victory. The spirit of the team was terific too and being sat just next to the players' pavilion I could hear as the team cheered and clapped every scoring shot. There were odd bits of luck and some bizarre captaincy by Trescothick (eg putting Kieswetter on to bowl!), but the point is that Derbys rolled with their luck and all in all it was a terrific performance. Whether we stay up or go down - and I am certainly hopeful we will get the former outcome - we have ended the season well and so will have a strong springboard for next season. It is hard to remember how bad Derbys have been at various points in recent years when looking at this energetic and dynamic team.
Andy Thorpe