Monday, 9 June 2014

Leicestershire v Derbyshire day 2

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...


Marc said...

Today was an encouraging fight back and credit to Alex Hughes and Wainwright for steering us to somewhat calmer waters. It was a position which looked beyond us at one stage and has maintained our interest in the game.

In saying that,let us not get too excited about the position we currently occupy. Our opponents are perhaps a mirror image of ourselves and were handicapped by the loss of two regular bowlers,in Shreck and Buck. In our previous game we were saved by the innings of a tail ender and today by a youngster and the number 8 batsman.

Unless our second innings produces evidence to the contrary,we have to have another serious look at our first five in the batting order,most of whom are not performing anywhere near to an acceptable standard. Tomorrow,much will depend on Footitt and Palladino if we are to have a fighting chance of winning this game. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility to win this game but several things need to work in our favour.If we bat in a similar fashion to Southampton then we will lose,pure and simple.

The news of significant funds to strengthen the squad is of course most welcome,though some people might question why some of this was not used to persuade Groenewald to stay. I feel this may signify,if not a U turn,then at least a change of direction on how we see the future. It makes sense because I don,t feel anyone can be in the least bit confident we have enough players of quality from within our own ranks to fill the void. We do have some who are showing promise but they have to be introduced gradually and need a core of experienced players to guide them. They are all a long way short of establishing themselves as reliable and regular performers in the first team. Their progress should not be blocked but at the same time we need a team that can at least compete and hold it,s own.

Mark said...

Gareth Cross looking to be a very poor signing so far. Playing for Cheshire this season when he signed. Was he really the best option out there?

Peakfan said...

He has a proven record at top level Mark but is in poor nick just now. To answer your question I think he was. Theres good second string keepers around the circuit - I like Bates at Hants - but no one will lend a second keeper for the season. Cross will start to get runs but is in a trot where his first mistake gets him out. It happens.

Marc said...

As a batsman I think Cross has lost it. Batting him at number seven is of no benefit to either him or the team. From what I have seen, his keeping is adequate but nothing special. He,s doing a job for now but I can,t see him surviving beyond this season.

Peakfan said...

We'll see Marc. I think all fans hope Mr Poynton is back behind the sticks next year.