Sunday, 20 July 2014
Derbyshire v Glamorgan day one
Derbyshire 142-6 (Durston 50, Slater 40)
No doubt about it, that was a very good day for Derbyshire today.
It could have been better, had we held all of our chances and Glamorgan might then not have made a hundred. Yet it is churlish to be overly critical on a day that we have ended four runs ahead with four wickets in hand.
A green track was always likely to make it a good toss to win and, in contrast to the early part of the summer when a few of these went against us, Wayne Madsen won this one and must have enjoyed watching his seam bowlers make excellent use of the conditions.
Irrespective of the help being offered by any wicket, you need to put the ball in the right areas to succeed and our seam quartet did that admirably. Tony Palladino once again returned remarkably parsimonious figures in the finest county tradition and appears not to have been flattered by 14-6-14-3. If Les and Cliff were keeping a wary eye on events today, they'd have nodded approvingly at such excellent bowling.
There was good support from Mark Footitt with two wickets, but the star turn with the ball, at least in so far as wickets are concerned, was Alex Hughes (pictured). 4-46 from twelve overs wasn't the most economical bowling of the day, but he came on, bowled a line and ended up with career-best figures that were well deserved.
With James Harris and Michael Hogan in the opposition, we were unlikely to find batting much easier, but Ben Slater reinforced his positive impression of recent weeks and Wes blazed a typically vibrant fifty. Though the ever-dangerous Hogan got Slater and Tom Taylor in consecutive balls before the close, we ended up four runs ahead with justifiable hopes of extending that tomorrow.
We really need that tail to wag and if we can get upwards of fifty of a lead it will be more than useful in a game that already seems sure to produce a positive result. There's enough batting to come to ensure that we forge on tomorrow, 200 being the first target.
In closing tonight, it is worth mentioning that in a season that has not been one of the better ones in living memory, we have seen plenty of young players make sizeable strides forward. Slater, Hughes, Taylor, Cork, Knight, Hosein, Cotton - that's quite an impressive list.
I'd also suggest that both Tony Palladino and Mark Footitt are improved, especially in their lines and length, both much more economical than has been the case in the past, without loss of potency in either case.
While there have been plenty of comments about the cricket played this year, credit has to be given where its due and, even in such a short time that they have been in post, the coaches are showing improvements in their charges.
Give them a winter to work on the younger ones, add in the new players we seek and...who knows?
Postscript - congratulations to Gareth Cross on his 200th first-class victim behind the stumps. A telling time to make a serious contribution with the bat, eh?