Gloucestershire 275 and 253-6 (Footitt 3-34)
Gloucestershire trail by 17 runs with four second innings wickets left
Allowing for the current weather projections being accurate, Derbyshire should be able to wrap up a thoroughly deserved victory sometime tomorrow afternoon.
Early morning rain showers are expected to give way to sunshine towards lunchtime, with a dry and sunny afternoon to follow. While there are still four wickets to take and dangerous Kiwi Hamish Marshall is one of them, logic suggests that even on a wicket that has eased we should bring things to a favourable conclusion..
Congratulations to Harvey Hosein for his maiden first-class fifty today, doubtless the first of many for the youngster. Together with Tom Taylor, he enabled us to declare a piffling 270 runs ahead and have time for a good bowl before lunch.
Full credit is due, however, to the home side, who battled hard second time around. In South African-born Gareth Roderick they seem to have unearthed a batsman of some talent, appearing a potent combo of Shiv Chanderpaul and Kim Barnett at the crease, an open stance accompanied by a substantial shuffle. Mind, there's worse people to look like out there...
A Gloucestershire side including two players of South African origin and three from New Zealand took some digging out, but Derbyshire stuck well to their task. Palladino was wonderfully accurate and parsimonious once more, Taylor more expensive but taking the key wicket of Roderick. Then there was Mark Footitt, whose raw pace gives us a bowler that, even on a docile track, can surprise a batsman who is set.
So it was with Geraint Jones, who has endured a tough game as skipper, and Kieran Noema-Barnett. Both fell to what were labelled 'extraordinary' catches by Martin Guptill, who is surely one of the finest all-round fielders in the world game. Such talent brings positive results and the Derbyshire Kiwi cannot be kept out of the game. Maybe we should toss him the ball tomorrow..in his current form he will be a certainty for the remaining wickets...
Four wickets to go, a few runs in hand and, theoretically, plenty of time. While taking nothing for granted, I hope to be back tomorrow to report on a job well done.
Professional. That's the right word for it so far.