Thursday, 3 April 2014

Derbyshire v Durham UCCE day 3

As the weather closed in  - or perhaps more accurately, barely lifted today - the game ended in a somewhat predictable draw, despite a good afternoon effort by the Derbyshire bowlers in which the spinners had lengthy and encouraging bowls.

Especially good to see was Chesney back among the wickets and having two useful spinners among his top order batsmen offers flexibility in team selection to Graeme Welch. While there will be times, as the season progresses, that he will want a specialist spinner in the side, early on I think it more likely that he will perm four seamers from five and utilise the damp, green tracks.

I've had a few e mails asking who I saw as our biggest rivals for promotion spots and how I could be so confident about a promotion push. So here goes:

Essex - they always look a good side on paper, but it rarely seems to translate onto the pitch. They're unlikely to see much of Cook and Bopara, while David Masters cannot go on forever. They can beat anyone on their day, but fold too easily for the comfort of supporters.

Glamorgan - another team with a lot of good players, with Jim Allenby a consistent all-rounder. Jacques Rudolph will score his share of runs, but their attack blows hot and cold and I don't think they have what it takes for a promotion push.

Gloucestershire - their first choice side can be dangerous, but injuries leave them short of experienced cover. They will have their good days and always seem to raise their game against us, but I don't see them as promotion material. Very dependent on Michael Klinger for runs and he needs regular support

Hampshire - a decent batting side, but unless Matt Coles responds to his move from Kent and Kyle Abbott stays fit as overseas player, I can't see how they will bowl sides out in four-day cricket. A good one-day side, where they will fare better.

Kent - a strong batting line-up will usually get them runs on the board, but it is hard to see an aging attack staying fit through a long season. Doug Bollinger is a canny and underrated bowler but their spin bowling isn't the best and while I think they'll be in the top four, I think they will fall short.

Leicestershire - their conveyor belt of young players keeps rolling, but their squad is thin. They will need runs from Ramnaresh Sarwan and it would be nice to see Dan Redfern realise his talent, but their greater challenge will be in avoiding the wooden spoon.

Surrey - surely with Graeme Smith and Kevin Pietersen they should be promoted? Perhaps our greatest rivals and their seam attack of Dernbach, Meaker and Tremlett should be better than it showed last summer. They have a good coach in Graham Ford and really should - have to - go up. With that playing budget, they should be ashamed if they don't...

Worcestershire - having lost Alan Richardson, their attack will be very dependent on new overseas recruit Saeed Ajmal, who should be tired by September. If Moeen Ali is needed by England, it is hard to see anything other than a tussle for the wooden spoon., despite some young players of promise.

Any side that gets off to a good start will be hard to stop. We did it in 2012, Northamptonshire did so last year and the value of early momentum cannot be overstated, even if it often needs its share of breaks with the weather.

We have sixteen championship matches, 64 days of cricket and 192 sessions of play. If we win more of the latter than we lose we'll be up there at the business end, come September. We'll need our share of luck with the weather and injuries, but there is talent and depth in the Derbyshire squad.

Yeah. I feel confident.

In closing tonight, the club promises news of  'an exciting new signing' tomorrow, which I assume will be the overseas cover for Shivnarine Chanderpaul. I look forward to the news breaking tomorrow.

And of course, you can read all about it on here...


Marc said...

I hope Surrey fail but it would be a brave man that bet against them. So long as we don,t go round handing them points as we did last season. I think Hampshire and Kent could be potential threats. I also have a sneaky feeling Glamorgan will do much better this season,though the Welsh weather is often a handicap.

Peakfan said...

Glamorgan have some very experienced players and with Goodwin, Rudolph and Allenby shouldn't lack runs. Not so sure their bowlers can get teams out twice though, especially if the main guys are injured