Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Worcestershire v Derbyshire day 4

I hope, when we're looking back at this season at the end of September, that this game is seen as its nadir and the turning point.

Because it was pretty awful.

I can handle being beaten. Forty-six years as a Derbyshire fan prepares you for that. I'd no issue with defeat last week against Essex, because we fought to the end and were effectively beaten by a top innings by one of the world's best players.

That excuse can't be made here, because I don't see Worcestershire as one of this division's top sides. Yet their one innings was like the delightful ice cream in the middle of two very dry, somewhat unpalatable wafers produced by Derbyshire, with the exception of Wayne Madsen. He stood at the bridge of the good ship Derbyshire, as it sank quietly beneath the waves.

I take no real pleasure in calling it correctly. When asked by my wife how I thought today would go, I said we'd be all out by tea. So it transpired and it made for miserable following. Goodness knows how bad it must have been for the hardy souls who were there. Ajmal is a good bowler, but he only needed to bowl twenty overs.

I don't agree with all of what Rob has said below the previous piece, though full marks to him for putting his name to it. To say that we always showed fight under Karl Krikken is patently incorrect - remember Yorkshire, at Chesterfield? That inept effort, where Madsen also stood alone bar for support from the badly missed Tom Poynton, marked the turning point of last year's campaign and I think that this one will do the same.

Nor do I disagree with Graeme Welch in going with his experienced men at the start of the summer. It was a logical move and, let's not forget, he's very much working with the hand he was dealt in so far as personnel are concerned. He's a shrewd man and a good coach and I'm sure that he's now starting to see that some are perhaps not up to the requisite standard, either technically or mentally.

A contributor on another site asked why, if Madsen and Chanderpaul can bat on awkward pitches, the others can't. The answer, simply and honestly, is that they're not as good. Fine cricketers, as you have to be to play the county game, but not good enough to be consistent performers. They will have their days in the sun, but I think - indeed hope -  that Welch will now want to see what else he has to work with.

Two such players were making their case very clearly in the second team match against Worcestershire today. Paul Borrington (121) and Scott Elstone (212 not out) each made centuries and should be pencilled in for the game against Kent in around a fortnight's time. Bozza is in the last year of his contract, while Elstone has a one-year deal and we need to know what they both have to offer.

We already know about Borrington, cry the cynics. But do we? Maybe he could be one of these later developers who finally realises that he can carry the vast weight of runs made at other levels into the first-class game. At a similar age, Wayne Madsen was a talented batsman in South Africa without consistent runs to back up those fighting his corner. At 23, Elstone has a rare gift of timing and scoring quickly (126 balls for his ton today, a double century in 211 balls) and should also be given an extended run. With handy off spin and brilliant fielding to offer, there's much to like about the Burton lad.

As there is with Alex Hughes, an all-rounder of abundant talent and energy who would bring much to a side, given time, in the middle order. Importantly, including these lads gives increased credibility to the stated long-term goal of producing local talent. There's plenty to be excited about in the younger age brackets, but they need time, as do the coaches, who lest we forget have been in post for less than four months. Supporters will, I feel, be more tolerant of the bad days of local lads who are learning their trade.

That's the thing with coaching. You can do all the work you like in the nets, but the bottom line is what happens to players when they get out into the middle. The poor championship form of Billy Godleman, Wes Durston and Chesney Hughes goes back to the start of last season, if we ignore Chesney's Headingley opus,  and while improved form will see them get them another opportunity, we need to see what others can bring to the table when all are patently struggling at present.

This wasn't, as I saw it labelled, a 'must win' match. Three games into a season, such talk is laughable. Back in 1964, Worcestershire won the championship after winning only one game in May and June, before it all clicked for them. On the evidence so far, we need major improvement to replicate that and may need to use this one to rebuild, try players out and strengthen further in the winter with players identified by the wide network of the coaching staff.

There's a lot of cricket left though and plenty of time to turn things around with swift and decisive action.

Back to the nets and the drawing board. We need to be much, much better by the time the Kent game comes around and the break we now have couldn't have come at a better time.

Postscript - warm congratulations to Chris Rogers for an extraordinary unbeaten double century in the successful Middlesex chase of 472 to beat Yorkshire, achieved for the loss of only three wickets. A wonderful player, one of the best county imports in the past decade.

But we know that...


Tim, Chesterfield said...

I equally take no pleasure in calling today correctly. I don't need 46 years to know how Derbyshire innings usually go in such circumstances. Obviously I wanted to be proved completed wrong. I 'watched' the game via the BBC scorecard at work and that was grim enough for me.

Unfortunately for at least two players the time has come to pay for their form results. Godleman (after a misleadingly promising pre-season) must pay for his continuing poor form in first class cricket. It may be his last chance for Derbyshire.

What can you say about Chesney? We all want him to do well. I'm tempted to work out hi first class average since that standout score at Headingley that is the exception that proves the rule. If it's double figures, it isn't by very many and he too must stand aside.

Borrington and Elstone must start the next game. Wesley Durston I'd possibly give one more go to. Logically he probably doesn't deserve it but that's my gut reaction. Alex Hughes has his place very soon unless there's a swift return to form.

The final two days, in particular, hint at a return to the bad old days for Derbyshire. This time it will not be tolerated.

Marc said...

It,s difficult to come up with a single excuse for this sort of performance. Sometime you can lose gallantly or unluckily but this must rank as one of the most limp wristed performances for some considerable time.

There appears to be little heart and even less fight about this team and it,s becoming embarassing the extent to which we rely on Madsen. Heaven help us if he gets injured for any length of time.

I was prepared to give the failures another crack but i,ve changed my mind and I endorse your suggestion for changes. I,m not a big fan of Borrington,s but he deserves another go and can hardly do any worse. We,ve seen him score runs regularly for the seconds,but now he has to prove he can do it at senior level. This may well represent his last chance and if he fails to take it,the exit door will be looming large,as it may be for certain others. Elstone and Alex Hughes should also be given a crack of the whip. We can,t go on like this,we have to do something to try and turn the tide.

jasper said...

I am not in favour of knee jerk reactions in light of one bad performance, but there are so many worrying aspects about this defeat that demand immediate changes in personnel.

To capitulate for less than 150 after we had been flayed for more than 200 in one session is as bad as it gets.

Last season we only got going once Krikken gave the youngsters a chance, and while I understand Welch selecting the teams he has so far (let's not forget that pre season supporters including myself were naming an almost identical starting XI) time has run out for 2 or 3 personnel.

It's fair to say that pre season optimism has quickly been extinguished, but it's also worth bearing in mind that there is a lot of cricket left to be played this season. Like other supporters I would expect to see a vast improvement over the coming weeks.

mark said...

Hughes, borrington, and elstone in. Godleman, c Hughes, and durston out. See how it goes from there.

Martin Moseling said...

I think you may have underestimated Worcestershire as not being one of the divisions better sides. I spent three days at New Road for their opening fixture against Kent. It was a filthy pitch and Worcestershire found how to play on it better than Kent did. But they have Moeen Ali (though perhaps not for much longer)and now they have Ajmal who made the difference in your match. They are a better side than most, including myself, thought they would be before the season started.

Division II looks as if most sides can beat most others - at least until somebody establishes some momentum.

john Connaughton said...

John Chesterfield

Firstly I want to say how much I enjoy your reports PF and respect you and your dedication to DCCC.

It takes a hell of a lot to get me frustrated I support Chesterfield and DCCC so I have never been blessed with huge success when it comes to my chosen sporting teams (BLAME GOES TO DAD HE GOT ME HOOKED ON BOTH LOL)

However I am seething at the lack of both application and fight (Captain and Shiv apart) from our so called first eleven. To have so many poor performances so early on is very frustrating. Godleman needs to be dropped and never wear the colours of DCCC again. Simply not good enough. Ches Hughes getting one mammouth score then what? Nothing!!!

There seems to be no intensity in our cricket, Essex was supposed to be a blip and we bounce back! So if that's the case what the hell is Worcester!!! We can't go down so these so called stars either step up or ship out. I would rather play 11 kids and see them busting a gut for the badge than people playing at 30% of their ability.

Had enough of not good enough !!!!

Rant Over

Peakfan said...

Thanks for getting in touch John. Hopefully next time it is with better reason!
I think there's more than two are trying their hardest, but as I said in an earlier piece, we're not a good enough team to win without contributions from any less than eleven people.
With several people out of form, we need to change things and bring in those who are in nick - which at present is the kids to who you refer.

Anonymous said...

I concur with you, Peakfan. There was nothing fundamentally wrong with the coach backing his senior pros. What are they there for? To offer experience and, in theory, reliability.

I am sure there will now be a reassessment, particularly as there is a little break before the Championship matches resume for us.

There is no doubt about it, this latest performance was poor, even though the opposition was a reasonably decent D2 side. Graeme Welch will know he needs to stem the rot and will look to shake things up a little. I have no doubt he will be as disappointed as any of us that the side has not clicked as a unit. That said, he will need time to weigh up his side in the 'live' environment and I suspect we will see his own stamp on the squad emerge more evidently as the season unfolds.


cuthbert said...

I'm sure all the players are giving 100% and will be well aware of their position on the match performance front. I don't hold with the 'not trying' argument players in any sport to my knowledge do their best personally and for the team. Don't forget it is still early days for the GW & cricket coaches too turn the ship around. However I do feel given time Derbyshire will have 'sunnier' performance days ahead.