Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Derbyshire v Northamptonshire day 4

At the end of it all it was a noble effort against a team that was in the top tier last season, but Derbyshire's young side narrowly failed to bowl out Northamptonshire today.

I suggested as much last night. I was slightly sceptical of the 'deteriorating wicket' line, because we'd just scored 407-5 on it with a young batting side. Given an attack that was younger still, working our way through a long order was never going to be easy.

Yet we should have done it. Six catches were dropped and the brutal truth is that you cannot do that and expect to win a cricket match at any level. Full marks to the visitors and their battling efforts, especially by the injured Cobb and Wakely, but we should have had that in the bag and been up there on the shoulders of Lancashire.

Rob Keogh played a magnificent innings and didn't deserve to be on the losing side, but part of the learning curve for this talented bunch of players is to capitalise on errors by the other team. When you miss out on six such opportunities, a win is barely deserved.

It would have been a reward for a match of many positives, but a major negative was the final drop, which saw Wayne Madsen have to leave the field with what was later diagnosed as a broken finger. With the T20 starting on Friday, we look like having a very inexperienced side out against Yorkshire, hardly the side you want to face when you are almost a team of players short of your strongest eleven.

With captain-elect Wes Durston struggling, alongside other likely participants such as Tony Palladino, David Wainwright and Wayne White, we look like fielding the ones who are left standing at this stage. I'm also slightly concerned that overseas signing Nathan Rimmington has played no cricket for Plumtree for the past couple of weeks, hopefully not indicative of an injury.

As it stands, Hashim Amla and Mark Footitt look like being the creche supervisors of a very young squad on Friday, which doesn't suggest we are likely to get off to a flyer against the best team in the country. No disrespect intended, but more than a touch of realism.

More on that tomorrow, but for now, it is time to reflect on a job that was almost well done and be better prepared for the next championship match in just over a week, a very quick return fixture against Lancashire at Southport. There is a week after tomorrow's game for James Pipe to get revolving doors fitted on his office and a few people fit, but we are battling hard and that is something.

Special mention tonight, in closing, for Scott Elstone. He returned career-best bowling figures today and is a steadily improving cricketer. Mini-Wes, perhaps, but he did a good job today and can be proud of dismissing three good batsmen.

We are still in the mix and there's a lot of cricket to be played. With Lancashire losing to the Gloucestershire side that we hammered, it is a very open division.

We're fourth and with plenty of time to improve still further.

More from me on the T20 prospects tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Disappointing for us, of course but what an effort by Keogh- absolutely brilliant, match- saving innings. Credit where credit is due. Plenty of encouraging performances from our young players also though. Great match!!

Marc said...

We have been dropping catches all season but the problem has now reached epidemic proportions and these drops are coming at a high cost. Some can be half forgiven but far too many easy ones are going to ground and young team or not,this is not good from professional cricketers. People talk about taking 20 wickets to win but those wins will be few and far between if you have to have to start taking 25-30 every match,apart from the effect it has on the bowlers.

The draw today was hugely disappointing. With Northamptonshire having to rely on some of their own walking wounded there has to be a feeling we really let them get away with this. The injuries are really piling up and while Madsen,s was in the line of duty,many of the others have not been and this has to be a concern no matter how much scientific analysis goes into fitness training.

At least we have a break from the four day stuff but there is no way we should even be contemplating playing Footitt in the 20/20. If anything happens to him,especially with Palladino crocked, the consequences hardly bear thinking about.

Mark said...

Disappointed also that we failed to take the remaining eight wickets yesterday. I posted that I was concerned as to who would back Footitt up and take wickets, and when we have to rely on Elstone, you know it's going to be a struggle. Also Peakfan, any ideas as to why Thakor only bowled ten overs and Critchley got sixteen?. Didn't make any sense to me.

Peakfan said...

Unless he has a mate. Thakor seems to have a golden arm and I would have bowled him more.

notoveryet said...

Like Mark, I was surprised that Thakor didn't bowl again after his one spell in the morning. He seemed to create as many problems for the batsmen as anyone else, Footitt included, and with his low skiddy bounce would have worried batsmen with sore hands if nothing else. He didn't give any signs of injury and as he's named in the T20 squad, it doesn't seem likely that that was the reason.

The catching apart, two other questions occur to me. The first was that as soon as Crook was out with 7 down, Footitt was replaced after a four over spell by Critchley. This seemed odd as I expected Footitt to have at least an over or two more at the new batsman, particularly as it was Cobb. At the time Derbyshire were two or three overs behind the over rate, and might have been worried about taking the last two wickets (as they would have been at that point, as it became clear that Wakeley didn't intend to bat if he was needed before tea) before they could get up to par on the over-rate. With Critchley bowling in tandem with Elstone, this was quickly corrected, and almost as soon as it was, Taylor replaced Elstone. It seemed to me that a lot of the intensity went out of Derbyshire during this period (as it had against Lancashire when they tried to correct their slow over-rate) and never really came back in the session. It was during this that Hughes dropped Cobb in what was to me the most critical drop - if Cobb had gone then, it would have meant an extra 9 overs at Kleinveldt before tea, when he would have been the last wicket.

There might have been a reason for this other than the over-rate worry, but I suspect that this was the main consideration, and it meant the game drifted for a few overs, during which time our focus went and the batsmen got some new ambition and hope.

The other question was the odd business of who took over as captain when Madsen went off. Amla seemed to be doing it before tea, when Derbyshire had gone very quiet on the field. After tea, it seemed to be Chesney Hughes, when the noise level had been turned back up to maximum and stayed there for the whole session.

It was still a superb match with some very exciting Derbyshire performances, but although it's the dropped catches that has taken most of the attention and played the biggest part, they happen and can't be planned for, but if the over-rate became the main issue when Crook was out, that needs to be managed.