Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Leicestershire v Derbyshire day 4

"A colony of monkeys was seen in the outfield at Grace Road this evening. They are believed to have been released from the backs of Derbyshire players, following their victory stroll against Leicestershire today..."

So might have gone a news story this afternoon, as Derbyshire made light of what could have been a tricky run chase against Leicestershire. I've been around for long enough to know that we can make a mess of such chases and end up 188-8 if we're lucky, or 160 all out if we're not.

188-1 marked a conclusive win, the sort that is more often the preserve of other sides. It was the first win of the summer  - but you knew that - and may yet serve as a catalyst for the remainder of it.

It wasn't against an especially strong side and the attack today was not one that should ordinarily have caused alarms, but you can only play against what's in front of you and the finish was both polished and professional. Stephen Moore gave impetus to the chase and did what he was signed for, while it was nice to see Wayne Madsen in at the end and able to hit the winning runs.

This has been a difficult couple of months for the Derbyshire skipper and he will be delighted to get up and running at last. His captaincy throughout the game was shrewd and I especially liked the way that he handled Tom Taylor on his debut. Giving him overs just before intervals and the last over of the day offered him a little more protection and the youngster will have been grateful for such supportive captaincy. Yet perhaps most important of all, the final day was a triumph for Paul Borrington (pictured) who made an excellent unbeaten 86. 

It's a big year for Bozz and long-time readers will know how I admire his technique and his 'stickability' when things are rough. His team mates do too and he ends this game with an average only just south of forty and the prospect of forming a very good partnership with Stephen Moore.

The two have shared several decent stands so far and are a pairing of contrasts. Moore is flamboyant and always willing to take on the short ball at any stage of his innings. Borrington is more circumspect and likes to get his hands, eyes and feet moving before assaying anything too ambitious. Yet he has all the shots and, as one of his team mates told me last season, he works the ball into gaps and rotates the strike as well as anyone.

We're off the bottom of the table and have done so with a degree of elan not often associated with Derbyshire sides. Our left-arm spinner will have gone home tonight with the satisfaction of a job well done and with the confidence of a modern day Wilfred Rhodes, an all-rounder par excellence. Mark Foottitt reaffirmed his talent as an excellent topper and tailer of an innings, while Tony Palladino lent excellent and tireless support.

It was a team effort in which everyone contributed and can be proud of that contribution. Tom Taylor will sleep well after a debut that heralded a bright future, while Alex Hughes and Scott Elstone did their bit in the middle order, with both bat and ball. Indeed, Hughes' first innings knock was the knock that started to turn the game.

Most of all tonight, I am pleased for Graeme Welch. I have no doubt that when he planned this season he had his first win in his mind before now. But he can enjoy this one and plan for Friday with the rest of his coaching staff.

We've not become world-beaters by winning this, but we weren't the worst team in the world beforehand either. We just needed the breaks and we got them here.

The season has started and I hope we can get on a roll against Worcestershire on Friday.

Nice work lads. You deserved that one.


Oliver said...

Well done to everyone involved today.

At the end of the day, a win is a win, and we've been rather short of those. So let's not worry too much about how Leicestershire finished bottom last year and were fielding a weakened bowling attack.

A few things seem apparent to me. Moore looks like an inspired signing, and Borrington has surely done enough to make the opening spot his - for now at least. The West Indies may be getting hammered but Chanderpaul is averaging 108 over there. If Wainwright can keep up this form with the bat, then he and Alex Hughes can add some valuable middle-order runs. So our batting is looking a bit less fragile than previously - although starting from a rather low base.

I thought the first innings were an interesting comparison between the sides. Six of Leicestershire's team scored 6 or less, but the others got in and scored at least 40 - which is exactly what you want. In our top five, three players faced at least 60 balls and scored at least 18, but none went beyond 27. On other days we won't be able to rely on Hughes, Wainwright and Taylor(!) to bail us out, and it will cost us. We need someone at the top to go on and score big.

Finally, I wasn't convinced by the decision to leave Groenewald out. This was a great opportunity to get our first win, and he would have undoubtedly given his all, despite his decision to move on. Obviously I don't know everything about the situation, but he'd definitely have done better than 0-82, and I would have rather blooded Taylor once we had a win under our belt and those monkeys that you speak about were banished! It didn't matter in the end, and Taylor will no doubt benefit from the experience, but it would have been rather different had the match gone the other way. Still, Welch is paid to make those calls, and it came off, so well done to both of them.

Mark said...

Great win, but I won't be getting carried away as Leicester will be the worst side we'll face this season.

Marc said...

This win will provide a shot in the arm for everyone connected with the club and achieved with some considerable ease.

Several players can be pleased with their efforts in making this possible and this could be the boost both they and the team as a whole needed.

It would be unwise to become too carried away with a single victory against a team struggling with injury and on similar form to ourselves,but the fact we have actually won a game cannot do us any harm at all.

The acid test will be how we react in the immediate future. Moore and Borrington batted very well and Leicestershire were a beaten team long before the winning post even came into sight. I have long been a critic of Borrington and one good innings is not going to change my overall opinion,but I like to think I am open minded enough to be persuaded to think differently should he begin to produce runs on a regular basis.

I,m as pleased as the next man we have managed to get one monkey off our back and let us hope we can move forward from here onwards.

It would be premature to conclude we have now turned the corner and people who have followed the club for as long as I have will know exactly what I mean,but all good things have to start somewhere and I sincerly hope this is that start.