Monday, 21 April 2014
Derbyshire v Hampshire day 2
Please sir, can I have some Moore?
Apologies for the pun (but hey, we know each other now, don't we?) yet there can be no doubt that Stephen Moore convinced all those who watched that he is a class act, a very good player indeed. Those whose protestations to the contrary went along the lines of "he can only play one-day cricket" were, indeed, shown to be talking absolute cobblers...
Back in December, when his signing was announced, I suggested that Moore would make a big difference to our fortunes and it hasn't taken him long to do so. From the time he took strike today he looked a quality player, the best non-overseas opener we have seen at the club in a few years. His defence was firm and assured, his cutting, pulling and hooking crisp, even brutal. I don't think I've ever seen someone reach a century with a CUT for six before, but Moore fairly threw the kitchen sink at a ball that landed pretty close to his watching family and doubtless enjoyed the deserved applause of the crowd thereafter.
It was a fine innings that received sound support from skipper Wayne Madsen after Billy Godleman got one that looked to keep low early on. Madsen survived a grueling going-over from South African Kyle Abbott and Matt Coles (Abbott and Coles-tello?) before being smartly stumped by Michael Bates. I was impressed by the Hampshire bowlers and especially by skipper Jimmy Adams, who on a somewhat tranquil track kept trying innovative field placings. At one point there were two short mid-wickets for Madsen and a short extra cover, while the plan was presumably to get Moore caught on the hook. Worthy plans both, though somewhat stymied by Moore skilfully pulling and hooking down and wide of the outfield.
Later in the day there was a chance to see the genius that is Chanderpaul and, for all the unorthodoxy of his stance, there is so much to admire in the West Indian. He is a most delightful touch player with exquisite timing and, with barely a shot in anger, he cruised to an unbeaten 35 by the close and a championship average of a piffling 162...
Earlier, the Derbyshire bowling was better and the fielding light years ahead of yesterday, though the demise of Hampshire was aided by some injudicious shot selection. Joe Gatting, after overcoming scores of 0 and 1 on his debut last week with an impressive 67, slapped Wes Durston down the throat of Chesney Hughes at long on, while Michael Bates ruined an impressive cameo by smearing the same bowler to deep mid-wicket where Moore held a fine, low catch.
Where does the game go now? I'm not convinced we can win this, even from a strong position, as the weather looks set to take time from the game and the wicket looks too good to bowl a side out, unless, Mission Impossible style, it self-destructs later in the game.
However, Derbyshire redeemed a fairly average first day with an impressive second that augurs well. It is not fair for anyone to judge the Welch revolution on three months or even on this season. He needs time to get together his choice of players and mould them as he sees fit.
Yet as I left the ground this evening I turned back at the door of the Gateway Building and looked across the resplendent turf one last time. The scoreboard was bright in the evening sun and the figures made impressive reading.
Derbyshire 203-2. Moore 106 not out, Chanderpaul 35 not out.
Such figures have not often been the preserve of Derbyshire sides over the years.
Well worth savouring, that one and well played Stephen Moore. It was a delight to watch that one.
Postscript: once again tonight it is appropriate to thank those whose company I shared and enjoyed throughout the day. It made the day even more special and I'm grateful for that company and your kind words.
I look forward to meeting up again as the summer progresses. Keep well, all of you.