Leicestershire 329 and 307-7 (Cosgrove 126 not)
Leicestershire lead by 284
'The pitch looks a bit flat now', I observed to a Foxes fan, as we chatted while the slowly set on both day and season tonight.
'It should do' quoth he, 'Cossie's been running up and down on it for four hours..'
It was a bon mot I enjoyed, probably more than an evening session that meandered. A need to get the over rate up (grrrr....) saw Wayne Madsen and Wes Durston fairly rattle through their spells. I don't understand why the skipper doesn't bowl himself more, even for two or three overs, because he induced more false shots than we saw in the afternoon. If only for variety, I'd like to see him bowl more next year - it could bring dividends.
At the start of the day, our tail wagged with unaccustomed vigour and a feared deficit became a pleasant lead, largely thanks to a stand between Tom Milne and Ben Cotton, both showing they could handle a bat. When Mark Footitt and Cotton ripped out three wickets, including the pale shadow of his former self, Dan Redfern, the possibility of a win in three days reared its head.
Then Mark Cosgrove and Aadil Ali turned the game with a stand of 144, before the latter was out to the last ball before tea. He is fast becoming a thorn in our sides, but the captain did a fine job and showed that girth is somewhat immaterial if you can play. He will never look an athlete, but Cosgrove scores runs. Lots of runs, and when he raised his century the respect and applause from the Leicestershire fans spoke volumes for his impact on them.
It somewhat overshadowed what Cricinfo are calling tonight Mark Footitt's farewell appearance for us. If it is, then he has gone out in style with ten wickets so far, possibly eleven, judging by the reaction when a loud appeal for a catch down the legside by Tom Poynton was adjudged not out. If Mark leaves over the winter (my guess would be Surrey should it happen) then it will leave a void in our attack of sizeable proportions.
Covering that is a subject for another piece, down the line, but I will for now pay tribute to a bowler who has completely turned around his career. He took his 250th first-class wicket for us today and his level of fitness and commitment could not be faulted. Irrespective of what happens, I wish a genial, pleasant lad the very best.
So we look like chasing 300 to win tomorrow, a total of Everestian proportions for Derbyshire sides over the years. It is fair to say that to get close, either Billy, Wayne or Wes needs to score big, but a team effort should make a fist of it in the final two sessions - IF we get a start.
Let us not forget that this is effectively a second team attack and defeat would be another in a string of disappointing championship displays.
Yet let's close on a high and congratulate Billy Godleman on both the winning of his 'cap' and being voted supporters player of the year. As the one man who has made considerable strides forward, he was a greater certainty than Usain Bolt in a hundred metre sprint against tortoises. Others have made steps forward to a lesser degree, far too many have, for now, stagnated a little.
I will look at that in the coming days, but for now, adieu.
I will see you at Derby tomorrow, for the season denouement...