Apart from a seaside town, I cannot think of anything more depressing than a cricket ground in the rain,
As I pulled into the Gateway car park this morning, the rain was steady, if not of monsoon proportions and while play seemed a long way from a forlorn hope, nor did it appear especially imminent.
Yet within half an hour of the scheduled start, the ground staff had worked their magic and play began, with the sun trying its best to peek between the clouds and cheer a small and hardy gathering of loyal supporters.
It wasn't too cold, although that may have had something to do with the six layers of clothing I wore. Anyone sitting nearby must have thought me of considerable girth, though truth be told as the day progressed I became more like a Russian doll, each layer being discarded to reveal a slimmer me in turn.
Derbyshire won the toss and Wayne Madsen opted to bowl. Truth be told, the early overs were steady from Tony Palladino and too wide from Mark Footitt. Openers Carberry and Adams were able to watch far too many balls harmlessly through to the keeper and although there was an occasional false shot and close 'leave', a wicket didn't seem close.
Jimmy Adams is a very good player but the middle of his bat seemed to be in the dressing room today and it was no real surprise when he was first out. I thought Mark Turner bowled a good early spell but was more wayward after lunch and gave away too many runs. Mark Footitt mixed the odd good ball with some that were quick but inaccurate, while Groenewald and Palladino did what they usually do and made the batsmen work hard. Neither seemed at their penetrative best today, though Timmy G was, for me, the pick of the bowlers and hardly enjoyed the best of luck.
I was disappointed with the fielding today, which at times looked like Fred Karno's circus. There were some poor pick ups, erratic throws and careless overthrows in a display that was at best only of average club standard. Chances and half chances were missed too and after the first half hour I felt we were quite 'flat' in the field. It is an area where Tom Poynton was sadly missed, as Richard Johnson, while a perfectly good keeper, is less demonstrative - or noisy, as some might put it.
While the scores are fairly even at the end of the day, I think the visitors will be the happier, after a resolute batting effort that won few points for style but plenty for substance. Derbyshire will have expected to take more than five wickets having won the toss and will hope for better luck with the second new ball tomorrow morning.
I'll be along again to see it and hope to see a less sloppy fielding performance and batsmen who have to play at the ball, rather than being given time to assess the pace of the track with harmless stuff outside off stump.
Off the pitch it was a delight, as always, to meet up with friends old and new and I'd like to thank everyone for their camaraderie and chat. You know who you are and it was a real pleasure to see you all again.
I look forward to seeing you again tomorrow - weather permitting, If you see old Peakfan, please come up and say hello, as it is always a pleasure to put faces to names.
Tomorrow is, as Scarlett O'Hara once said, another day.
Fingers crossed it is an improved one...