Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Essex v Derbyshire day 4

Essex 538-7

Derbyshire 280 and 261-4 (Rutherford 68, Hughes 66 not)

Match drawn

Played five, drawn five in the championship, ahead of the last game in this section of it, against Kent, starting on Sunday at the 3aaa County Ground.

There have been recurring themes - inadequate first innings, lack of penetrative bowling and then a more encouraging second innings. Again, the wicket proved to be the only winner and there was a brief wobble when we lost two quick wickets, but it never looked likely that we would be bowled out a second time, largely thanks to a fifty stand between Hamish Rutherford and Tom Taylor.

Taylor, like Ben Cotton and Tony Palladino, can bat and the days when our last three lasted the time needed for the openers to pad up again are gone. Rutherford did well and will be glad to get some runs under his belt, yet will be disappointed to be out before the end.

I remember years ago talking to a grizzled old professional from Lancashire and the subject went around various themes of batting, one of them the importance of 'cashing in'. I remember him saying to me that any batsman can get out early, even into the teens, but it is important then to capitalise on a start and make a big score. Nick Browne did that, as did Ed Joyce in the last game. Even if they have two or three low scores, they have the memory of that to draw on, like water reserves.

Chesney is doing that this year, his seventh on the staff. There have been times in the intervening period where it looked like he might not make it, but the same thing happened with Billy Godleman, Wes Durston, Wayne Madsen et al All needed several seasons to cement their game at top level, so don't you think we are being unrealistic expecting our seamers to do it in less experience than a season's worth of games?

I take points about Ben Cotton and Tom Taylor, but at their ages, the bad days outnumber the good and do for most young players.  For every Stokes and Root there are a couple of dozen others whose progress is slow. Look at James Vince, who has looked a good player in flashes for a few years, but only now, in his eighth year as a professional, is he seen as the finished article.

In the absence of bottomless pits of money and with a relatively small talent pool to draw on, Derbyshire has to produce its own and wait for them to flourish. I was told the same thing by John Wright when I interviewed him for my forthcoming book  You cannot fast track experience, match skills, mental strength and consistency. In much the same way as a girl has to kiss a lot of frogs to find her handsome prince, batsmen and bowlers alike must experience plenty of failure to enjoy and capitalise on success.

I won't join those suggesting a change of coach, as it is daft. A new coach can't fast track those things above: all he might do is perhaps capitalise on the efforts of those who preceded him. Eddie Barlow worked wonders at Derbyshire, but had the benefit of a clutch of young players, like Tony Borrington, Alan Hill, Harry Cartwright, Colin Tunnicliffe and others, who got their break under Edwin Smith.

Graeme Welch is respected in the game and I doubt we could get a better qualified coach. Yes, if we make a hash of T20 again and play poorly in the fifty-over competition, the grumbles will turn to shouts, but the young players have to learn. To suggest, as someone did the other night, that  'this is the worst Derbyshire team I have seen' only indicates the short-term support of youth. I have seen plenty worse, believe me. Some had wretched days without break, but it lessened neither my support nor my hope for something better around the corner.

The Kiwis will come good and Jimmy Neesham will be very important. We bat long and have young bowlers with good skills  for T20. I won't pretend we have excelled thus summer, but we are still unbeaten. The weather has helped in that, but Welch and his staff can only pick who they have on the staff, and can only have on the staff who and what they can afford.

If it takes another couple of years or so, such is life.

Enjoy the ride, bumpy as it is at times, then savour the end product.

It will come together.


Doug said...

I've watched Taylor and Cotton a lot and both rarely beat the bat even at Derby. I don't see where we really go from here in the fast bowling department

Still looking for a spinner as well. When will the remodelling of Knight's action be complete? When will it be on display?

This might not be the worst Derbyshire team in my lifetime but the bowling department is doing their best to claim that accolade

Adam Oakley said...

I agree largely with what you are saying, I think that sometimes we all have too high an expectation of what we can achieve. I have often had the debate with people about what is the objective at Derbyshire CCC. I think at present a finish in the top 5 in the championship and a quarter final finish in one or both (maybe I am aiming too high now) in the limited overs competitions.

The cold hard facts though are that in membership terms we are in the bottom 3, again attendance wise we are in the bottom 3. The odds are always stacked against us so we do have to be realistic in our expectations. County cricket is heavily funded by the ECB, it would not survive in it's present form without the payment that the counties get each year so we do have a duty to try to produce young talent for England as opposed to short term fixes. The time that this takes can be frustrating but patience must be shown.

I would disagree on the new toss rule though, when it was first announced I was against it but I am a firm supporter of it now. It has created a set of pitches that are much closer to test match standard wickets that are going the distance and batsmen have to bat for long periods and bowlers really have to stay on their lines and length. The game at Trent Bridge this week has shown that exciting 'result' pitches can be produced.

Tim, Chesterfield said...

Unbeaten, absolutely. But only fair, in the interests of balance, to point out that we are without a win and more importantly not been even close to a position that we might do.

I'm still clinging on to the option of drawing every single 4 day game to at least win some sort of prize.

Peakfan said...

You are right, Adam. We have only twice, in the 1930s and 1950s, been among the best counties. We flirted with it for the one season that Dean Jones was here, and should have done better in the Kim Barnett era, when we had good players but lost as many as we won, rarely challenging for honours.

We need to have realistic expectations and those you refer to are probably the summit of ambitions this year. Good comments.

Re the pitches - I take your point on preparing for Test matches, but they are played over five days! Maybe they will get better at pitch preparation, but getting tonked around for a day and a half does nothing for any prospective bowler.

Trent Bridge, to be fair, isn't the best example as it has had its own climatic ecosystem since the stands went up. Sometimes weird things happen for bowlers, though in itself that makes for exciting cricket. Any of us would, I am sure take a wicket that produces a last session result on the final day!

Peakfan said...

Yes, Tim, you are right. Had weather not intervened we'd have (at least) drawn three, lost two by now. I am not interested in suggestions we might have lost the others, because we might not and will never know.

We need a good performance against Kent before the one-day stuff starts. I said at the start of the summer that I thought it might be our strength this summer as we have several bowlers capable of bowling tight and plenty of batsmen and all rounders who can hit hard and often.

We did well pre-season and some winning performances would kick start the season

Anonymous said...

The pitch wasn't the winner the weather was. Derby would have lost had 76 overs not been lost on the last day.

As for vince he's looked a class act for years. The Derbyshire young quicks have not even shown flashes of class unfortunately.


Gary said...

The worrying thing for me is we don't seem to stick to a plan or whether we actually have one. We seemed to lose people like Tim Groenewald and Wayne White because we have young seamers coming through that we think are going to be better due to our impressive coaching set up. However we get to the start of the season and we start with a team with no youngsters in the team and an apparently not game ready on-loan fast bowler - just gives out mixed messages. We then seem to declare Wes Durston will be our spinner and after a couple of games he is out and Critchley is back in - No problem with either of this but the chopping and changing cant help either of them.
Adding to this the odd change of captaincy timing. I know this was apparently due to off the field issues but does this really stack up with the team having been working all winter under a different captain with probably different messages being sent out?
If we don't get off to some sort of decent start in the one dayers then I can see the pressure really starting to build as the progress on the field is clearly not matching the progress off it

Peakfan said...

An average of 25 after his first season didnt suggest so..he didnt make a thousand until his fifth summer so 'looking a class act' and producing the stats to match didnt come easily...each develops in their own time

Peakfan said...

Fair points Gary but we lost those two for reasons other than those coming through alone.