Monday, 2 September 2013

Somerset v Derbyshire preview

It is a sobering thought at this time of year that there's only 12 days of first-class cricket to go before another summer ends. Then it will be back to dark nights, cold mornings and football. April will be a long way off and the cricket gear goes back in the loft for another six months.

If Derbyshire lose to Somerset over the next four days, the last eight will be largely irrelevant, as relegation will be all but a certainty. Our hosts will be a happy with a draw in this one, but a win, besides sounding our death knell, will come close to consigning Surrey to the drop too.

A thirteen-man squad has been selected for tomorrow's game at Taunton, which is as follows:

Paul Borrington
Ben Slater
Wayne Madsen
Shivnarine Chanderpaul
Richard Johnson
Alex Hughes
Tom Poynton
Peter Burgoyne
David Wainwright
Tony Palladino
Tim Groenewald
Matt Higginbottom
Mark Footitt

Hands up everyone who expects this track to turn for Piyush Chawla on the last couple of days? Me too and given that Somerset have brought one of the sub-continent's finest twirlers across the globe you wouldn't expect anything else.

I thought this game might see a return for Wes Durston on a ground he knows so well, but it was not to be. My guess would be that after doing well in the last three matches, Matt Higginbottom will be rested in favour of Tony Palladino, with the final place between Peter Burgoyne and Alex Hughes.

I think I did Tony a disservice in one of my pieces yesterday. He suffered more than most from dropped catches in the early season malaise that affected the side, but for which his season statistics would have been more impressive. I was also, having read it back later, perhaps unduly dismissive of his bowling efforts at Colchester, when he alone stemmed the tide of runs, conceding just 27 from his eight overs as nearly everyone else was hammered around the ground.

He's a very good bowler, as he showed last season and importantly is now fully fit for the run in. I think Higginbottom has done a good job in the past three games, but is less likely to bowl a side out at this stage in his development. On that basis - and also for the late order runs that he so often contributes - Tony gets my vote.

It is good to see Tim Groenewald back and with Mark Footitt the seam trio will be a handful against a Somerset side missing Jos Buttler, Peter Trego, Jamie Overton and George Dockrell. Their twelve:

Marcus Trescothick (capt)
Nick Compton
Alex Barrow
James Hildreth
Chris Jones
Craig Kieswetter
Jack Leach
Lewis Gregory
Craig Meschede
Piyush Chawla
Adam Dibble
Alfonso Thomas

If we could split that powerful opening pair early, it would expose a middle order that can easily go either way. Chawla's century at Lords is not indicative of a top batsman, rather a hitter who occasionally has a big day and our greater challenge will be in seeing off his leg spin through the match.

Can we win? Yes, if eleven players go out prepared to battle, as they have all season but especially in the last three games.

Will we win? I genuinely don't know, but Somerset will know they have been in a scrap and at this stage we can't ask for more than that.

Good luck lads. We're all behind you.

5 comments:

Paul said...

I agree with your team Peakfan and if it looks like turning
Include Burgoyne instead of Hughes although that does leave us with a very long tail.

Burgoyne can consider himself lucky to retain his place as at the moment his spin is tidy but not threatening and his batting inconsistent. He is still very young though and the recent experiences will stand him in good stead.

Durston appears off the radar following his early /mid season poor form as does Godleman who for me would have been a good bat at 5 instead of Johnson especially given his recent 100 in the twos.

If we get the team selection right and hopefully bat first and score 300 + we can beat Somerset who have a very soft underbelly and would have been beaten at Derby but for one disasterous session.

Lose and we are gone.

Don't agree though with you re Surrey Peakfan as they are far from out of it irrespective of what happens over the next 4 days. Not with next game up at Taunton Somerset V Surrey !

Marc said...

I think Hughes will play.Even though he hasn,t done much with the bat recently we look extremely thin without him. Palladino has to play and Groenewald should also return.

This match is the point of no return. If we lose then that,s it,but at the very least I hope we go down fighting and come up with something a bit more positive than the limp wristed batting we saw at the Oval. We have nothing to lose now and a draw is neither use nor ornament to us.

The horse may already have bolted but a win here would at least give us something to play for in the final two matches. I,m not very optimistic but if we can enjoy a good first day it may provide us with a platform. At least let,s have a go and see what happens.

Peakfan said...

I think Surrey very much a second division side Paul and can't see them staying up unless Amla scores 200 an innings and starts to bowl.I regard the last game as a missed opportunity.
Marc, the batting at The Oval was gritty and battling on a tricky top. Think your term of 'limp-wristed' a little insulting mate. Dour - but understandably so.

Marc said...

Positive,fearless,aggressive. Not my words Peakfan,those of the coach. We were far too negative in our general approach against Surrey. At 3 an over,which was below Surrey,s scoring rate in both innings,we would have reached 267 and 369 respectively. Had we scored at that rate in just one innings there is every chance we would have won the match.

Perhaps limp wristed wasn,t the perfect phrase but you get my drift that we didn,t make the most of our batting opportunities. If we were mid table we could afford to just go through the motions but we are not and you have to push hard if you want to win games. The weak bowling has taken the brunt of criticism but it was as much our one paced batting that was as least as significant to the result.

John Hall said...

Been listening to the commentary on line. Its currently tea, and the BBC have kindly left thier mic open so Im currently enjoying live ambience from Taunton..bits of conversation, kids playing, birdsong, announcements over the PA..you can almost smell the meatpaste in people's sandwiches. Its all rather lovely and quite restful after a pretty hectic opening day.