Monday, 17 August 2015

Durham v Derbyshire RLODC

Durham 247-8
Derbyshire 192 (Madsen 77)

Durham won by 55 runs

The ninth wicket stand between Gordon Muchall and Chris Rushworth took this game away from Derbyshire, on a day when their limp middle order once again failed to function. Durham ran out comfortable winners, despite a brave and nigh-solo hand from Wayne Madsen, whose 77 was the highest score of the game.

At 183-8, we had every chance of taking it, but as the home side's score mounted towards 250, each run seemed like a nail in the coffin of our winning chance. I don't look at this Derbyshire side and see it chasing down 250 in 50 overs and therein lies an obvious area for winter strengthening.

Muchall does that kind of rescue act on a regular basis for Durham and we need someone like him at the 3aaa County Ground. Young players can and will improve over the winter and their comfort in such situations will be easier with experience, but we need a couple of older heads in there for next year. Their presence will help the youngsters and, for me, help to accelerate their progress.

It would have been handy to have overseas input in such a situation but once again Dilshan failed. I would have loved to have seen Rutherford in the side today, because I can put no gloss on what has been an horrific stint by the Sri Lankan. I have no doubt that he has tried his best, but with the pressure of the overseas role comes a need to perform and an expectation of results, especially from an international name of such standing.

When I look at the side and actually feel it would be stronger were he not in it, I'm saddened. The signing was acclaimed and seemed a very good one at the time, but it hasn't worked out in any way shape or form.

Of more benefit, as far as I am concerned for the remainder of the summer, would be giving a run to Tom Knight. Batting at four for the seconds today, against Nottinghamshire, Tom held the innings together with 97. He has made enough runs in that side to justify an opportunity and, irrespective of whether his bowling comes back (I think it will, for the record) he could be a good enough batsman for the senior side in the long-term.

It would be a brave man who omitted an international star in favour of a youngster, but those long-term aspirations are of far greater importance than any short-term niceties. I'm not laying today's loss at Dilshan's door at all, but if you are looking at playing our strongest side just now, I don't think you could say he would be in it. 199 runs in 13 innings across the formats tells its own story, I am afraid and perhaps for his sake, as well as ours, it is time for a breather.

Pride and contracts to play for in the remainder of the season, opportunity there to be grasped...

Who will take it?

9 comments:

Mark said...

Dilshan has been a complete and utter disaster hasn't he?. Probably the worst input from an Overseas player I can ever remember, but Peakfan can tell me if we've had a worse one no doubt.

We're simply not good enough in any format of cricket unfortunately, and big changes needed this Winter.

Peakfan said...

Am sure there will be changes mate..and no..sadly the worst performing by a long distance..

Paul said...

Peakfan I agree entirely with your views on Dilshan.
Hopefully a mutual agreement can be reached to release him early as it cannot be in either parties interests to keep him.
I wish I could share your faith Peakfan that our younger players will come back stronger next season as apart from Alex Hughes and possibly Cotton that has not been the case this season with Slater, Taylor and Elstone going backwards.
Having seen Knight " bowl " in the Prem League turning himself into a batsmen would seem to be the only solution at the moment!
All the very depressing that the season is effectively over with 5 weeks to go

Peakfan said...

Disagree on young player progress Paul. I think all the young seamers have come on in degrees. Taylor has had an injury most of the summer while Cork has looked quicker.
Critchley surely? Slater hss had a rough second half but Elstone needs to make a step up.
Knight is a work in progress. Judge him next year with a winter of work.Telling a young bowler to change what he has done for years is hard and getting your head arms and feet right before bowling takes time to change.
If it comes right then we will have a special all round player if it doesnt then the coaches will have messed up a Steve Parry bowler who could have been ok just doing that..

notoveryet said...

As always, people leap on the batting when things go wrong. There's often been reason to, but this wasn't one of those occasions. The regular fall of wickets was the result of the scoreboard pressure of 5 runs an over when it should have been 4 or under. The dropped or missed catches in the last few overs were the most obvious failing, but Footitt and Cotton were far too expensive at the start, and it was more naïve captaincy from Durston to bowl Thakor out in the middle of the innings, and once again expose Critchley near the death. Footitt hasn't been great in this competition - whereas last year he regularly ripped out or hit batsmen to balance the rate that runs were scored off him, he hasn't done so this year. Cotton isbowling very poorly at the moment - he was terrible against Leicestershire last week, and likewise today. It makes the bizarre omission of Palladino all the more inexplicable, as he would have been almost impossible to score off on a sticky, slow wicket like Durham's. Selection and management of the bowling (in the games I've seen at least) is the main reason we haven't progressed, rather than the batting, notwithstanding the massive disappointment of Dilshan.

With nothing left to play for this year (I don't think we even need to worry about the wooden spoon any more after Leicestershre's points deduction), I hope there is a discussion going on about an early termination of his contract - even if we have to pay him at least we could save on his accommodation costs by letting him go early. I think, though, that it's a bit of a fantasy to think that Tom Knight can fill a batting position. In competition second eleven matches, he's averaging only in the mid twenties, far less than Scott Elstone and Tom Poynton, and we've seen what they've done in the first team.

All in all, I was reflecting on the long journey back from Durham on the season as a whole, and thinking that two years of an elite performance culture has brought us to about the same position we were in at the end of the Morris era in 2010 and 2011- probably bottom three or four in the championship, and failing to progress in the one day competitions. Individually, it's striking that statistically in 4 day cricket, only a handful of players have improved in 2015 - in batting, Godleman, Alex and Chesney Hughes, Elstone (just), and White and Hosein (though both had very few innings in 2014 to improve from. Among the bowlers, only Wayne White has improved. I know statistics don't always tell the whole story, but I think most of us who watch Derbyshire regularly recognise this pattern of lack of progress.

Most of these players have shown themselves capable of performing and improving, and it has to be legitimate to ask why the progress of so many has stalled. Even the second eleven trophy success that you mentioned recently, Peakfan, isn't what it seems. I suspect that our second eleven for these games was, on average the oldest, most experienced and most expensive in the competition, and for one match, included the entire first team one day cup side apart from Madsen and Rutherford. There clearly are players who need to be moved out who have shown they can't perform (or can no longer perform) in the first class game, and there may be gaps left to fill, but those shouldn't distract us from asking the challenging questions about the decline we've all seen over the past two years.

Peakfan said...

Couple of responses notoveryet - yes, we let them get too many and the catching in that ninth wicket stand was woeful, but we are overly reliant on the openers and Madsen, though Hughes will always battle.
Knight may well not make it as a batsman only, but he deserves the opportunity. We know that Dilshan has been a disappointment and tons in every 'dead' game from here won't change that.
As for the lower eleven success, the twos have fielded some stronger sides and some weaker ones - as have the opposition! Against Notts they faced a side including Dan Christian, while they also played a Yorkshire side in the championship that included Lyth, Lees, Sidebottom and Maxwell!
We pick a side from available players, as do our opponents, but the Under 17s are exactly that and both should be applauded for their success.
With young players there are plenty of lesser days and we need to bring in proven quality alongside them this winter

Marc said...

it was almost a certainty we were heading for failure,as we have done often enough in the past when faced with similar situations. There seems to be a mental block with Derbyshire players when faced with games they know they must win. In fifty overs,most sides would settle for for a target of under 250 but by all accounts,we should not have been looking to score anywhere near that amount of runs had we performed to expected professional standards.

It,s all a little too easy to believe some of these players are going to come good after another winter in the nets. I would like to think so,even though there is growing evidence which points to several players who are unlikely to make the cut. I can only concur with many of the points made by notoveryet and feel we have not made best use of our resources in the Royal London. The season has turned into a real anticlimax,considering early hopes and expectations and some hard questions need to be asked of the leadership. I don,t think it,s good enough to sit back and hope that by some miracle it will all turn out much better next season. There has only been one man in history capable of performing miracles.

Mark said...

And Dilshan flops yet again. I hope he's honest enough to aoologise to everyone concerned for his woeful contribution this summer. I daren't look at his average as it makes for painful viewing. Very very poor.

Peakfan said...

Marc, of course there are some won't make the grade, just as there are at all levels of sport.
Yet the signs are good from a number of them and if they work hard, enjoy their share of luck with fitness and listen to the right people, we will have a good side in a year or two.
Yep, I know there's a few on here will dispute that, but I can see some positive signs and we just need good, performing senior players alongside them.