Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Derbyshire v Hampshire day 4

"Lead by 99. 43 overs left today. Can we force a result?"

So ran a tweet from the club this afternoon as Hampshire, a side with a long and highly competent batting order, lost their third wicket to Mark Footitt.

I was almost tempted to reply "No" but decided not to bother. Irrespective of morning newspaper columns to the contrary, there was a greater chance of my 'doing a Lady Godiva'  on a unicycle across the outfield than a result being forced today.

There was movement and there was an occasional erratic bounce as the game progressed, but neither happened with sufficient frequency for Derbyshire to bowl out a side that impressed me at the County Ground.

Hampshire bat long and have impressive, strapping quick bowlers who run in hard and bowl in the right areas. Kyle Abbott struck me as a very shrewd signing (if he stays fit) while Coles has the potential, if he learns from past mistakes, to become an England player. Tomlinson is a good, skiddy left-arm bowler and Ervine has been a steady county all-rounder for several years. They will be in the mix this summer, that's for sure.

Having said all that, Derbyshire had marginally the better of the game and can again take heart from their performance.I find it hard to believe that we can field as badly as on the first day again, while the batsmen and bowlers are slowly but surely finding rhythm and form.

There will be mild concern at the lack of runs in the 'engine room' of the batting, but this will improve, one way or another, with existing or new personnel. I'd have to say I'm not a huge fan of putting all the eggs in one basket in bowling and don't really see what four seamers offers if you pick the right three to begin with. There were times in this game when having a specialist spin bowler would have been handy, especially when Chesney appears to be bowling only a few overs in readiness for the one-day games. Worthy a bowler (and cricketer) as Wes Durston is, I don't see him as a bowler who will run through sides. A good foil for another spinner? Yes, most definitely.

Preparations now begin for the game at Worcester on Sunday. I don't expect major changes, but Graeme Welch will have a better idea of his new charges  after the first two games. If he wants a fourth seamer, he could always bring in Alex Hughes for his namesake and David Wainwright could come in for Mark Turner to give a better balanced attack. Then again, he could leave things alone and hope for a wicket that allows for a positive result with the same side.

I've every confidence that Welch will soon get the first win under his belt and there are a good few positives to take down the road this weekend.


Marc said...

It was quite a boring day,Championship cricket at close to it,s worst. A day that was all too predictable and displaying most of the reasons why this form of cricket is watched by a minority. Tea time was plenty long enough for me.

We fielded better,bowled tidily but never remotely looked like bowling them out. There is something of a debate surrounding Wainwright and the fact there is a debate really comes down to his general lack of wickets. This has been ongoing since the middle of 2012 and to add to his woes,he was often expensive when he played last season.

I can,t be certain but I would hazard a guess that over that period of time Durston has taken more wickets for fewer runs. Going into any game with only three seamers is asking for trouble and sooner or later someone is going to break down early. We don,t have a fill in seamer at present with Whiteley gone and Alex Hughes out of the side and this does create something of a dilemma. If Wainwright does play he has to take wickets. It,s not good enough for him just to be a "let,s keep one end tidy" bowler. If we are going to win matches we have to take 20 wickets,pure and simple. I,ve nothing against him at all but without wickets to his name,we may as well stick with Durston,at least for the time being. The days of Wainwright being an automatic choice are long gone and he has much to do if they are to return. I think Madsen could use himself a bit more and even give Chanderpaul a few overs on occasions. There,s as many bad balls take wickets as good ones,possibly more.

Peakfan said...

I agree Marc that Shiv and Wayne could/should bowl a few. Both were successful in spells last year and, just as Hampshire bowl the likes of Carberry, Smith and Dawson, we could perhaps do likewise

Anonymous said...

I go along with your favour of a balanced attack, Peakfan. Sometimes there will be little in the track for a spinner, but if you have decent seamers, three should do the job.

There was a good recovery in this match, against pretty good opposition. I would like to have seen a few of the side contribute a little more individually, but we are still at an early point in the season to be fair.

We all know Groeners will be steady, but it has also been heartening to note Footitt's contribution over the first couple of clashes. I hope his form from the back end of last season and early this campaign continues to blossom. He can be a very important player for us (pardon the foreign football manager terminology!).

On the batting front, Moore has suitably endorsed his past reputation and Shiv and the skipper look in decent nick. If we can get the other half of the top six clicking, the attack will surely have opportunities to capitalise.


Marc said...

Just to underline a couple of points. Durston does give us a balanced attack and his presence in the team also allows for four seamers. If Durston is unlikely to take wickets owing to conditions etc,there is little reason to think Wainwright will be any more successful.

Most teams up to now have filled their attack with seamers. As the summer progresses that may change and for ourselves the selection of twin spinners may prove to be the correct decision. At the moment though,I don,t believe it is.

There are many who still recall the Surrey debacle last season,when a lightweight and inexperienced seam attack was the prime reason for losing an important game. Injuries were a factor but they can happen at any time,including the first over of a four day game. When looking at the possibility of bowling around 200 overs,it seems to me a three pronged seam attack is pushing one,s reliance on luck to the limit. As I said earlier,by all means play Wainwright,but only if and when he is likely to prove effective.