Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Gloucestershire v Derbyshire day 4 - the first win!

Gloucestershire 275 and 411 (Footitt 6-94)
Derbyshire 545-9 and 142-3 (Godleman 51, Guptill 31 not)

Derbyshire won by seven wickets

When it came, the end was rather like the beginning and the middle, fully justifying my favourite word of praise for a sports team.

It was professional.

It was also, despite impressive individual performances, a team effort in which everyone made a contribution. With plenty of second team players making strong cases for inclusion in the side, each and every player in the first team effectively said 'you aren't having my place' and produced the goods to back up their argument.

Full credit to Gloucestershire, who made us work, itself reassuring to see. In recent years there has been plenty of times when the rudder and the commitment seemed to dissipate in the face of resistance, but not today and not now. We remained competitive and committed and, in the end, reaped the rewards.

It was good to see another start from Billy Godleman and Ben Slater, who are showing signs of becoming the opening pair we have sought for years. That, in turn, makes life much easier for the middle order, coming in against a softer ball and able to score quickly and allow time to bowl out the opposition.

This was the 'Derbyshire way' with our best sides over the years. There have been times when we've not had an especially good batting line-up, but the runs they made came quick enough to allow the bowlers valuable time. So it was here. Had we not scored almost 500 on day two, we would not have won this, as there wouldn't have been time.

All of which make Martin Guptill's efforts the more remarkable. 227 in the first innings, an unbeaten 31 in the second. 14 sixes in the match, a Derbyshire record along with his eleven on the second day. Then he holds three catches out of four that only the exceptional would consider an opportunity. His slip catch yesterday, one-handed in front of Wayne Madsen at first slip, was astonishing, while the one at leg gulley from the day's last ball was another example of hand/eye coordination at its best.

We are fortunate to have the genial Kiwi with special talent. With one match of his stay to go, he averages 97 and has once again made a huge impression, on and off the pitch. I hope we can get him again and for a longer period, because his influence on this side is hard to overstate. Amla and Dilshan are both great batsmen, but they will have to go some to match 'The Gup'.

As for Mark Footitt, he is deserving of a piece to himself, which will follow tomorrow or Friday, depending on time. Let's just say that his pace, skill and fitness was the difference today. The wicket was dead and only genuine pace was going to make the required breakthrough.

Mark has it. He has it all, in fact and it is why no one will look forward to playing us this year.

A win is a win. This brought us maximum points and may well be looked back upon as a catalyst, achieved with five players aged 23 or under and ten who are qualified to play for England.

It has to count for something...


Daniel Smith said...

A well deserved, hard-fought win. At times I was a bit worried by the stubborn resistance shown by Gloucestershire. Man of the match must be Martin Guptill. I hope we won't miss him too much when he goes and that his replacements can perform equally as well.

Tim, Chesterfield said...

Good summing up, old maestro as usual. A thoroughly satisfactory work out all in all and no less than I expected. Gloucestershire are the sort of side we should be beating and we did it with aplomb.

Peakfan said...

Well Daniel we have South Africa's skipper and a Sri Lankan great so have a very good chance of success. Professional pride will make them all want to do well and though very different players I think they will.
I am looking forward to seeing Amla in a couple of weeks!

Peakfan said...

Cheers Tim. We did what we needed to do on a good batting track so credit due to all concerned!

mark said...

Another class act is Footitt, Peakfan. But do you think we might be too over reliant on him again this summer?. You look at our other seamers and think where's the support going to come from. Taylor will have one great game, then in another probably get smacked round all over the place with little return, same goes for Palladino. Can't help but feel we're still a little short in the seam department. Another experienced head wouldn't have gone a miss this summer.

Marc said...

This was a good win and an important one. The last two seasons we have started very slowly and in 2013 it cost us relegation and last year left us short of promotion. We must aim for a minimum of three wins by the halfway stage,more if at all possible.

Footitt was sensational and for all Guptill,s heroics with the bat,we could not possibly have won this match without him. Most people contributed something to the game,one way or another and we now look forward to Glamorgan with renewed confidence.

Oliver said...

Talking of professional, we also have the most bonus points of anyone in the division. Which is something I think we've been poor on in previous seasons, so it's very pleasing to see. Having Guptill score 227 helps of course...

Anonymous said...

Was at both the Cambridge and Gloucester game, so can comment first hand on the power Guptill possesses . Botham in his prime might have hit the ball as hard, but only just ! I do however think a spinner aboard as a regular selection beyond Durston gives the side better balance ?