"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.