Leicestershire 329 and 363
Derbyshire 352 and 331-8 (Hughes 101, Madsen 66, Slater 56, Godleman 51)
As a game of cricket, this was a quite wonderful way to end a season. With the sun shining brightly across the 3aaa County Ground, I am sure that I was not alone in thinking wistfully of the next six months or so without the greatest of games. Yet that sadness was qualified with the sight of, not for the first time this season, Derbyshire simply throwing a game away that was in the bag.
At 285-2 with nine overs to go, we needed 56 to win. Despite the loss of wickets from there, we only needed thirty from five, yet in the end, ran up ten runs short. It was a madcap, frenetic display of batting that cried out for someone to use a little nous and, like George Hirst and Wilfred Rhodes long ago, simply get 'em in singles.
One by one, batsmen perished in assaying ambitious shots, or attempting runs at which Usain Bolt would have balked. You have to give credit to Leicestershire's bowlers, but the bowling wide of the stumps and putting nearly everyone on the boundary caused greater vexation for our players than one might have hoped.
I'd have to say that the visitors are a somewhat graceless bunch on the pitch, a comment borne out of watching them, their actions and words over four days. It was easy to see why they had been docked points earlier this season and they did themselves few favours today, as did a somewhat boorish section of support. I can only hope that the chap with the vuvuzela ended with it in an uncomfortable place on the way home, because there is no need for that in four-day cricket.
The Derbyshire top four batted splendidly. Openers Godleman and Slater hinted at a fine pairing next year, while Chesney showed how good he can be when he gets his feet moving. Meanwhile Wayne Madsen again passed his thousand and confirmed his role as the lynch pin of the batting.
After that? Oh dear. I can only say that we need people to step up to the plate next year and a ten to fifteen per cent improvement across the board. Either that, or we need someone in the lower order who appreciates that winning a game of cricket isn't simply about slogging the ball to all parts and running as if your tail is on fire...
To clarify for anyone commenting later, I attribute no blame to Tom Knight in blocking the last four balls. Had he not done so, we could quite easily have ended the season with an embarrassing loss, which would have really sent the the postbag into overdrive.
He was acting on instructions to, as evidenced by the word from Ben Cotton, when he came in. I don't blame the reverting to 'what we have, we hold' one bit.
But by crikey, it was a shambles at the end and should never have got to that stage. The one that got away? Truth be told, there's been too many of them this year.
There's a lot of room for improvement this winter, that's for sure.
Postscript - thanks to all those with who I enjoyed chat and discussion, not just over the last four days, but over the season. It has been a pleasure to spend time in your company.
Roll on April...