Thursday, 25 September 2014

Derbyshire v Leicestershire day 3

Derbyshire beat Leicestershire by over 400 runs today. Or was it 4000? Either way, we destroyed them. It was ruthless, purposeful cricket of a kind I have seldom seen from a Derbyshire side and a heartening way to go into the winter months.

It was another memorable day. Ben Slater (left) duly completed his second century of the match to join a small and select band to have done so, while also cementing a solid-looking average of 46 for the summer. Onwards and upwards for young Ben, I think.

He was a little edgy as the century approached and survived a loud appeal for caught behind on 99, but the century came from an edge to third man and the relief washed over the ground.

Then we were treated to a century of sublime quality by Cheteshwar Pujara, who only lifted the ball once (for six, over mid-wicket) and played a range of shots that hasn't been seen in these parts since the halcyon days of Azharuddin.

It was wonderful. There were rapier-like cuts, on drives full of wristy, eastern promise, pulls that reached the fence before anyone moved...and the cover drives....one so perfectly bisected the two fielders that he could scarce have done better had he used a protractor before playing it. Another was a thing of such beauty that people around me gasped. It was a privilege to see such a player in our colours.

He stays admirably still at the crease and the only movement is a tap, then another of the bat. Pujara has so much time and when he decides the ball is fractionally short, or wide, or over-pitched he dismisses it from his presence with a flourish. The field was moved to plug gaps, yet the next shot went to where the man was moved from. A century looked likely from the moment he took guard and when it came it was to a standing ovation. If we can get him for next summer there is such a treat in store.

Wes Durston played an extraordinary innings and hit eight fours in his forty. His timing was as crisp as ever and he even played a 'draw' stroke that was popular in Edwardian times at one point, playing the ball to square leg under a raised front leg to the bemusement and amusement of the opposition and crowd simultaneously. Anyone watching could have handled another half an hour of Wes and 'Puj' in full flight.

Yet when Leicestershire batted it was a different game. They are a club in crisis and it showed, though nothing should be taken from Derbyshire. The Footitt flyer ran in from the City end and simply blew them away. Greg Smith was bowled by one that sent a stump cartwheeling and he was simply too fast for them. Dan Redfern was leg before to complete a miserable return and the visitors showed little stomach for a fight.

Later, when I got home, I found that the BBC Sports team had announced their County Championship team of the year and Footitt wasn't in it. Seriously, these people are paid as experts?  He'd be in mine as one of the first names on the list.

The Derbyshire pace attack was impressive and backed up by a field in which Harvey Hosein again impressed. He made several awkward takes look easy and his footwork is so good that he takes balls down leg side without the need to dive that earns applause from supporters. Those in the know appreciate that good footwork negates the need to do that and Hosein has a very good future ahead of him.

One final point. The presence of hundreds of school children today added an atmosphere that I have not known before at Derby, especially for an end of season game. They were quite brilliant, chanting "Derby" and cheering every run, especially by Pujara. The club is to be congratulated on the signing and the links they have fostered with the community. I hope that they strengthen next season.

An end of season round up will come over the weekend, but Derbyshire have made great strides this summer, after a slow start. Back them and we are set for a fine future, on and off the field.

In closing, thanks to everyone whose company I shared and thoroughly enjoyed today. Your chat made a great day even better and I look forward to seeing you all again next summer - and hearing from you over the winter.

Postscript - I stood next to Ben Cotton, chatting this evening after the game...by crikey, he's big! In Scotland they call things smaller than him mountains...

5 comments:

Tim, Chesterfield said...

It's a shame the season's had to end. None of us would have expected to feel like that a few months ago. Decisions we thought could damage us (Moore, Groenewald in particular) have proven to be beneficial to DCCC in the short, and likely long term.

Well done.

Marc said...

A record breaking win was a superb way in which to close out the season
and send us into the winter.

A very well done to Slater,Footitt and Pujara in paticular but this was a team effort and there were several other significant contributions with both bat and ball.

The season took a long time to take off and if the first half of it was rather depressing,the second half has been completely the opposite.

It,s the players who have made this happen but Welch along with the coaching staff must also be praised for their own efforts.

The signs for 2015 are all pointing in the right direction.There is still work to be done and still room for improvement,particularly in limited overs,but I think we can all take comfort from the way in which we have improved.

john Connaughton said...

I only managed to see Derbyshire twice this season, the first time was early on in the season and the second time against Leicestershire.

The difference was simply staggering!

I know I know Leicestershire are hardly top class opposition but the way we completely destroyed them was remarkable.

Relentless, remorseless, compounding leics into defeat. As a long suffering supporter of DCCC I have only been used to us on the receiving end.

Pujara is like all top players in their sport. He always looks like he has the extra bit of time, never looks rushed, never in trouble. Absolute class!

As for Mark Footit well what can I say, to quick to sharp just to damned good. BTW PF what speed is he bowling he must be 88/90.

All in all a wonderful way to end the season. Welch must loads of credit for pulling the season around. He came with a big reputation and now he is delivering.

Interesting times ahead and I will be watching Mark''s progress over the winter. He has the tools to go all the way.

Onwards and upwards.

Fantastic blog and coverage once again PF thank you.

John

Martin Edwards said...

A fantastic result - must have been great to watch. A wonderful way for Slater to celebrate his contract, and once again, Footit did so well - what an astonishing season for him. I'm so pleased that the players and management did not give up after the dreadful first half of the season, and showed admirable character. We didn't get too many batting points this season, though, and that's one of the reasons why I hope your speculation about Shiv Senior coming back as a Kolpak turns out to be a great prediction. And thanks for continuing to make this blog unmissable for Derbyshire fans, perhaps especially those of us who have to support from a distance.

knack said...

I would imagine there are a few countys envious of the talent that has emerged in the last couple of months, slater,cotton, taylor, hosein, all look 1st class material. The problem with shiv ad a kolpak is that assuming thakor plays it is alex hughes who makes way. I am not sure what would be a short term proposition is worth a year out of this young mans development.