Worcestershire 177-5: Derbyshire 169-8 (Madsen 65, North 38, Moore 32)
Worcestershire won by eight runs
There was a much improved and in many ways encouraging performance by Derbyshire against the section-toppers, Worcestershire, tonight.
Yet ultimately we went down by eight runs and one cannot help but feel that it was partly self-inflicted.
I just don't understand why we leave Marcus North until the twelfth over to make his entrance. I suppose the rationale is that he's a clean hitter and quick scorer, thereby giving us a good chance of making a decent fist of the last few overs.
Yet for me, he could make an even better job of the first six in the company of Stephen Moore, able to reach the boundaries when the opposition have to keep the majority of the field in. We were improved in that area tonight, largely thanks to Moore, and outscored our opponents, but we can do better.
North opening, Elstone at three and the skipper at four. I know Cross has 'previous' as a pinch hitter at Lancashire, but his batting form hasn't come with him thus far and he could and should be utilised down the order. Having advocated the use of Knight up the order, I'd be inclined to leave things for now and put him in lower, as the lad's not being given a fair chance. If he's batting eight for the second team and six for his club side, putting him in at three for the first team, rightly or wrongly, smacks of desperation.
I well recall the 1969 Gillette Cup Final, when we got behind the clock in chasing a Yorkshire total that by modern standards was only moderate. Out came Alan Ward, promoted up the order to give it the long handle. It didn't work, as sagely predicted by my Dad as we watched events unfold.
"This one's gone, lad. They've panicked" he said and he was right. Knight is a much better batsman than Ward and is starting to prove it, but this move does him no favours without the appropriate back up at lower levels. I hope it is carefully looked at.
There was a top innings from the skipper tonight, which looked like carrying us home for a while. The rotation of bowlers was better too, but Ajmal bowled two very tight overs that cost us in the end.
It was better and I'm pleased to say that, but we're very much a work in progress at this stage.
Postscript: Thanks to Martin for the suggestion of potted scores at the end of a day's play. For those on holiday abroad this summer, it may just save you a lot of money in data charges and I'm glad to help out and save you looking elsewhere...