Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Derbyshire v Northamptonshire day 3

Safely returned to the bosom of my family, it was a pleasure to catch up with events at the 3aaa County Ground today and find that Derbyshire did especially well.

It confirmed my belief that we are witnessing the start of something special at the club, a theory borne out not just from events on the field, but from who is not currently involved for one reason or another. Palladino, White, Clare, Durston, Poynton, Wainwright and Godleman, senior players all, are currently missing from the line up, which largely comprises youngsters who are perhaps five to ten years from their peak.

All the batsmen contributed today, with Chesney Hughes the star turn with a century. I watched him yesterday and was very impressed with what I saw. He looked tighter and straighter in defence than I had seen before, happy to let balls go through and to take his time. Like a few others, I have felt in the past that he has been most vulnerable when he gets to twenty, perhaps the concentration wavering a little. This looked a new Chesney, still capable of punishing the bad ball, but better equipped to handle the good one.

It creates another dilemma for Graeme Welch of course. With Billy Godleman serving the last match of his two-game suspension, both Chesney and Ben Slater (94) served notice that they weren't giving up their slot for him. And so the battle for places goes on - and it is heartening to see.

The great Amla will be disappointed with only 21 runs from the match, but Scott Elstone and Shiv Thakor played the type of breezy knock that was required in the circumstances, while the skipper anchored one end to ensure there were to be no alarms. In such a young batting line-up, much depends on Wayne Madsen, but he rarely lets us down and is starting to churn out the runs once more.

Late in the evening, under the pressure of a 'pair', Harvey Hosein came into bat and scored faster than anyone, making an unbeaten 46 from 38 balls. It showed his fearlessness, similar to that displayed by Matt Critchley on day one and confirmed the selfless attitude instilled in their young charges by the coaching staff.

At which point it is time for a plaudit, so take a bow John Sadler and Ant Botha, because we currently have nine players averaging over thirty with the bat, some by a considerable margin. It is tribute to the work done by Sadler, the batting coach, whose talents in this area are already being spoken of in wider circles. One of the youngest level four batting coaches in the country at 33, Sadler, according to people I spoke to over the last few days, has a rare skill of stripping down technique to the basics and encourage people to play naturally and with confidence. It is no guarantee of constant success, as no one manages that, but what I saw of the Derbyshire players when I was down looked different, in a better way. 

In each game so far, one of the young players has put his hand up and scored the runs when needed, something that is a delight to see. We may have injuries, they may be young, but by crikey, they have a fighting instinct, for sure.

In the evening. Mark Footitt ran in like a whirlwind from the City end and removed both opening batsmen, opening the door a little for tomorrow's denouement. It should not be considered a formality that we will win, by a long chalk, as the visitors bat long and well. Equally, Footitt aside, the average age of our main attack is twenty, although 'veterans' Chesney Hughes and Scott Elstone (both 24) may turn their arms tomorrow.

Game on, then. There can be little wrong with the wicket, after our score today and we will need to winkle them out if we are to win. Which leads nicely to my final comment for tonight.

As supporters, we need to accept that the other team is entitled to play well and ours can be bettered. Against good teams, we will come off second best on occasion, when there are partnerships between fine players that we simply cannot break through.

Such a case happened yesterday. We didn't play badly, although the intensity dropped a little as I said at the time. It enabled Josh Cobb and David Willey, two of the best limited over batsmen in the country, to cart us to around a little. They played well and deserve credit for doing so. I will bet my bottom dollar they aren't the last to do so either, because it happens in cricket.

We did the same to Northamptonshire today.

Let's hope we can finish it off tomorrow.

17 comments:

knack said...

Exciting times indeed peakfan. Everyone is contributing and creating competion for places. Patience will be needed tomorrow, the young seamers will need to be handled carefully, unless footy blows them away of course. I think the the most telling stat about the ches innings is 252 balls faced, maybe the penny has dropped at last. Looking forward to the victory song being heard tomorrow.

creweblade said...

good to meet up with you on Sunday peakfan - followed the last days from the city with interest - to be honest it is an open game in my view - we have competed well against a div 1 team from last year - heres hoping we do well tomorrow. On a separate subject i have to say i cant understand the KP treatment by the ECB - seems bonkers to me and says you now dont get in the england team unless your face fits irrespective of form - be good to see the cook and strauss show welcome they get in good old honest yorkies land later this month ;-)

Peakfan said...

It was good to see you too mate - hopefully we will catch up on balmier days as the summer progresses!

I'm with you on Pietersen. If you are a good enough manager you can handle the one who gives you occasional grief - look at the so-called mavericks of football over the years who gave great service but problems at times.

I'd have preferred Michael Vaughan, but it's the old school tie brigade once more...ex Middlesex player gets the gig and the same old same old continues.

Disappointed. Like him or not - and plenty don't - the bottom line is that he is the best bat in the country.

On that basis, he should play, but with a clear understanding that if he messes up again, the final bridge is burnt.

Tim, Chesterfield said...

Godleman's lost his place now. His own silly fault.

Tom said...

Obviously, with the side in a good position at the end of Day 3 it would be unfair to be too critical of things but does anyone else feel that Wayne Madsen's captaincy and indeed his own mentality as a player needs to be sharper and more dynamic. His batting today seemed to lack the required attitude in the context of the match and it was young Husain , who impressed. Nice bloke by all accounts and a genuinely good cricketer but imo not a great Captain. He needs to be more switched-on and be far more pro-active. Views of others??

knack said...

They keep digging and digging, we don't trust you but you can work with the odi side. What happens if gillespie says he will take the job as long as he can pick who he wants. They should never have allowed him back after slagging his captain off to the opposition.

Peakfan said...

Tom, I think that at times Wayne could be more willing to try something different - maybe bowl Elstone, or himself, anything to make the batsman think. Sometimes such moves result in a batsman hitting one up in the air.
But today? No complaints from me. When Amla went, he and Pop had a total in mind and he had a very young batting line up to come. Sometimes, like today, they will do well. On other occasions, like Sunday, they can fold. He did what he had to do - perfectly, for me.

knack said...

Tom, he is a lovely man. It is true that his captaincy can be conservative but you can only play the hand you are dealt. Footy is a weapon ,dino won't let you down and we have some very promosing young seamers but our occasional spinners are club bowlers at best ( not wes ). It will be interesting how he handles the youngsters tomorrow because he probably only has 60 overs of effective seam at his disposable. Also , similar to England, who is the alternative.

Sam said...

I think Madsen's batting was absolutely fine. It seems odd to question his approach when he played reverse sweeps on at least half a dozen occasions. Northants didn't bowl too badly, and I thought we got it about right. It was also pleasing to see Hosein find another gear that was as yet unseen. He'll have a big say with the gloves tomorrow.

He does need to be more inventive with his use of his bowlers, it often seems very predetermined and not very flexible. I think Critchley would have benefitted from coming on much earlier in the first innings instead of just before lunch for instance. Unless we're running through them tomorrow will be a big test for the captain. If we're to go up its precisely the situation from which we must win, even if the pitch is a bit flat

Anonymous said...

I hope that our attempts to bowl them out are not hampered by our need to catch up with the over rate. I am not certain but I think that I heard we were 5 behind the rate hence -5 points. Apart from fast scoring in the Northants innings did you see anything obvious that has created this deficit Peakfan? It appears to be something we have struggled with in each game.

Craig

Peakfan said...

Mainly that our seamers walk back at the speed of my Dad and he is 87..Tom Taylor especially bad at this. Needs to work on a very basic thing

knack said...

The Pietersen bomb has exploded again, well done ECB, genius.

notoveryet said...

I thought the approach today was just fine. At the start of the second innings yesterday, I had in mind preserving wickets through the first 30-35 overs when both sides lost 6 wickets in the first innings (and Hughes and Slater did that perfectly),then taking care first thing this morning, but aiming for 100 per session in morning and afternoon before an acceleration towards the declaration in the evening. If this was the game plan, it was done perfectly, and the only point it was at risk was when Slater and Amla got becalmed in mid-afternoon. Keogh (who got some balls to turn and bounce sharply) and Willey bowled very well in this phase, and it was Madsen who changed the pattern by reverse sweeping Keogh and forcing him to bowl a different line. Taking nothing away from Elstone, Thakor and Hosein (who looked to me a class above anyone else in this match), I think it was Madsen who changed the dynamic of the innings and created the opportunity for them to play with such freedom.

I haven't said it much in the past (though hope I might in the future) but this was one of the calmest and most unflustered Derbyshire innings I've seen since the days of Kirsten and Wright. Apart from the session last night, Slater and Hughes kept going today at above three an over, and while it may lack the instant appeal of five an over, it's a much sounder base for success.

I've commented many times on my view that Chesney Hughes has been badly used in the last three years, and hasn't been given the opportunities that others have enjoyed - like him, they failed regularly but never succeeded at the level he has shown, however intermittently. I think it was obvious to everyone on the ground how much his century today meant to him, and really hope that this time he's given every opportunity to build on it.

As for the outcome of this match, I think Northants have the ability to score at well above the rate they need, but not to bat the number of overs they have to do it in. This means that Derbyshire have to attack hard tomorrow and not worry too much about the run rate. Critchley has to be part of this, and it's worth bearing in mind that before Willey took him apart in the first innings, he would have had him out if he'd taken a simple return catch off his own bowling. Madsen needs to use him carefully and be prepared to take him off quickly if it goes wrong, but he might be our best chance of winning this.

Peakfan said...

Knack..they have an inverse Midas touch...everything they touch turns to...
notoveryet I agree. Leggies...especially young ones can be expensive and Critchley found that in the first inns against two powerful bats on a fairly small boundary.
Yet he foxed them enough ti suggest he will cause issues. So might Elstone Ches and the skipper but a leggie on a dry track will always have a chance. If Keogh can get some to turnthen they can!

Peakfan said...

Sam...meant to say I agree..promotion relies on days like this being concluded favourably. Eight wickets in a day..opposition need 380..but Footitt can bowl at most 20 overs so someone else needs to step up...

Mark said...

Who will that man be then Peakfan?.Can see Northants batting out the day today unfortunately.

Marc said...

Overall,the day was a very satisfactory one. I endorse many thoughts already expressed by others and remain confident we can finish the job at some point today.

Our visitors are a useful batting outfit and possess an unusually productive tail but in their current position it is all about patience and discipline and I have doubts whether they have enough of either to prevent us from winning.

Our batsmen seem to be finding their feet now and the foundations for our victory push were firmly laid by Slater and Hughes. It might not have been spectacular to watch but it was extremely effective in terms of the match situation.We were clearly working to a plan and even if we fail to claim victory,the thinking behind how we might achieve it was sound.

As notoveryet has commented,it would be cruel in the extreme to discard Hughes come the next county fixture.He has talent and work on the technical side of his batting seems to be paying dividends. I would like to see his contract extended for a further year,sooner rather than later. We must excercise patience ourselves today and not become frustrated by any partnerships which may develop. If we keep the batsmen under pressure and restrict their ability to score cheap runs,wickets will follow.