Sunday, 17 April 2016
Gloucestershire v Derbyshire day 1
In the corresponding fixture last year, Martin Guptill smashed an exhilarating double century as Derbyshire scored over 400 on the first day.
Today was an altogether more circumspect affair, but by the end of it, the due diligence of a succession of batsmen had played us into a solid position. Graeme Welch said before the game that he thought we would be a 'man's team' and that is exactly how we played today. Battling cricket, the sort that wasn't played at times last summer, when inexperience caused premature capitulation, a nasty complaint for any cricket team...
Star turn was 'our Ches' who showed that he has learned you can't always go crash, bang, wallop, especially on early season tracks. I hope this is a summer of vintage Chesney and while there will be days he thrills more than today, there will be few where his contribution is more valuable.
Ben Slater lent good support and a century opening stand was all we could have hoped for, in the absence of our opening bat captain, Billy Godleman. Although Hamish Rutherford failed, Wayne Madsen came in and showed the requisite application to succeed. 58 from 180 balls may not have excited the neutral, but if you want someone to battle for your side, Wayne would be one of them. He's still there to bat again tomorrow and we'll all take that.
In the company of Neil Broom, he saw us through to a healthy 242-3. If we can have a good first hour tomorrow, a score in excess of 400 is possible, with plenty of batting to come.
It was, in short, an encouraging day. Trophies are not won, nor summer's made, in one day, but slow and steady steps, such as this, make all things possible.
One final thought, in closing. With Tony Palladino omitted from the twelve in favour of Ben Cotton, has any county taken the field with a taller seam attack? Andy Carter, Luke Fletcher and Ben are all 6'5" or 6'6".
Hope they have sight screens of a decent height...