There's an absorbing old game going on at Grace Road, where Derbyshire closed the second day 32 runs behind with two first innings wickets in hand.
That we recovered from 115-6, still 47 short of the follow on, to 279-8 was down to a Derbyshire-best unbeaten 83 from David Wainwright (pictured), together with a gritty personal best 60 from Alex Hughes. As the closing overs of the day were played out, 19-year old Tom Taylor showed he knows how to handle a willow with an unbeaten 20 that enabled us to get close to parity.
The early batting was sketchy, but what reports refer to as 'extravagant movement' was a major factor. Yet Alex Hughes lends an air of solidity to a Derbyshire innings, even this early in a county career and it was good to see David Wainwright following his bowling of yesterday with an innings of considerable substance. It showed him as a cricketer of mettle and I respect a player who, even if not in prime form, will battle for the cause.
This could go either way and the first session tomorrow is likely to be pivotal. We're unlikely to want to chase much more than 250-275 in the final innings, so the new ball will take on massive significance.
Game very much on and we'll see which side is most 'up' for the battle tomorrow.
Off the field, the big news was the announcement by Chris Grant that Graeme Welch will have 'significant' funds available for strengthening the side in the close season. We're also going to be concentrating recruitment on proven match-winners, augmenting their input with young, locally-produced players.
It is a laudable statement and one that marks a major shift for the county. For a long time we have existed and recruited from the offcuts of county retained lists, sometimes with greater success than others. If we are to genuinely compete AND sign people who are in demand elsewhere, it will be a major change and success for us.
Cynics will undoubtedly suggest that it is a similar statement to that of the 'landmark signing' promised by Chris Grant when he first took up his role. It was a comment made with a degree of naivety, unaware as he was at that time of the congested fixture calendar and the difficulty of convincing top quality players to spend a summer in England, instead of the IPL.
Yet Grant is more experienced and wiser now. He knows how it works and importantly has an extensive network of coaches and contacts to draw upon. He also has the experience of Geoff Miller to call on and it would be a brave man who would bet against him delivering.
After all, despite the challenges, we still signed Chanderpaul...