Derbyshire 361 (Alex Hughes 111 not, Rutherford 60)
Derbyshire lead by 355
Regular readers will know that I have for some time espoused the great talent and potential in Alex Hughes (pictured).
Like any young cricketer, there have been days when things haven't gone his way, when injury has slowed his progress and when team selection has deemed him requiring a break in the second eleven.
The latter saw him rested recently, to which his prompt and typical response was a double century of class against Durham (I saw a good part of it, he looked a league above them). Since his return he has both batted and bowled well in the T20 and today confirmed, for the first of what I think will be many times, that he is a genuine prospect for our long-term future.
His unbeaten 111 carried no Nelson-esque concerns, as he eased past his previous best of 82 and, with steady support from Ben Cotton through the nervous nineties, went to a maiden century with eighteen boundaries, made from just 146 balls.
I couldn't be more thrilled for him tonight and know it is reward for a lot of hard work. I have every confidence that he will kick on from this and become a key component of Derbyshire sides for years to come.
He is a hundred per cent, full on cricketer, something I recognised the first time I saw him. I can relate to and appreciate that sort of player and Alex offers good value with bat, ball and in the field. What more could you want from a young all-rounder?
Earlier, most of the batsmen got a start but only Hamish Rutherford went past fifty. The young Kiwi continues to impress and could not have done much more in his stint with us to convince Graeme Welch that he is worth an extended deal next summer.
361 was a decent tally for a first innings and was made even better when Mark Footitt struck in the first over to leave the home side precariously placed on 6-1.
Early breakthroughs tomorrow could help us take a grip on the game, although I can only hope we do not show the same generosity to Northamptonshire as they did to us. Fifty extras is taking profligacy to its limits...
Anyway, its all about Alex tonight. Well batted, lad!