Derbyshire 134-7 in 14 overs (Madsen 45, Durston 29)
Somerset 74 all out, set 104 to win in ten overs
Derbyshire won by 29 runs
When I awoke this morning and saw a video of Taunton in the rain on Twitter, the likelihood of play seemed remote. Especially when the regular updates suggested that the rain had eased...no, had got torrential again...
Nonetheless, the ground staff worked wonders and the game was eventually set for fourteen overs, ironically the shortest game we have played all season. Winning the toss in such games is often crucial - and we lost it.
Yet by the end of that innings, I felt confident. We had the equivalent of a near-200 score in T20, which will win you more games than you lose. Star turn was Wayne Madsen, with 45 from 27 balls, while Wes Durston enjoyed himself on his return to his earlier stomping ground, making 29 from 19 balls. There were late innings cameos from Shiv Thakor and Alex Hughes and the total looked competitive, at the very least.
The only surprise, indeed, was in such a short game going with Billy Godleman at four. I rate Billy as a cricketer, but this isn't his game and asking him to play the key role of pushing it on from there is akin to asking me to play the role of Johnny Depp in a biopic of the actor. He brings a lot to the side, but we have quick scorers who could and should have gone in earlier, leaving him as an insurance policy if it went pear-shaped.
Still, short boundaries plus big hitting batsmen (even without Trescothick) could have spelled trouble without disciplined bowling, but by crikey we bowled well. From Mark Footitt getting the dangerous Jim Allenby in the opening over, the grip was tightened and never subsequently loosened.
20, 21, 21, 23. That's the age of that attack, Footitt apart and they bowled so well. Compare that to Tim Groenewald's three overs for 35 for total vindication of Graeme Welch's decision to release the South African last summer. Good a bowler as he was, the coach quickly spotted the talent in his young charges and realised that they needed opportunity. With Tom Taylor and Will Davis outside this eleven, not to mention the older Tony Palladino, the potential is obvious. So too is the need to praise Welch for their development, which has been remarkable across the board in just twelve months.
It is one of the things in all sport. As young players come through, their potential needs to be encouraged and Tom Poynton will be well aware that Harvey Hosein will be pushing for top spot with the gloves. At 18, he may be a couple of years from that role outright, but with two players of even equal talent, the younger will always win out, just as Hosein would do himself in ten years time if another, younger challenger comes along. Competition is good for any team and we are getting this now throughout the side.
Thakor may not have made the runs that he or we might have expected this summer, but his bowling has come on a long way. Cotton has been a revelation in the matches he has played and Greg Cork is starting to make a strong case for inclusion. Indeed, a couple of very good judges have told me that they believe that Greg's stronger suit may yet turn out to be his batting, suggesting that he may not be living in his Dad's shadow for too long.
Meanwhile Alex Hughes again did his stuff, with quick runs at the end of the innings, plus two tight overs again, while the catches were held. In short, we were professional and polished, with the skipper doing his job with regular bowling changes that worked. Can you ask more from a performance?
Yorkshire tomorrow, who will doubtless be seeking a revenge for Chesterfield, but that doesn't take away from a good start in this competition.
Played one, won one. Top of the league. No, I'm not having a laugh...
Well done lads. It'll be a jolly old journey home tonight.