Derbyshire 150 and 195-6 (Thakor 58 not, Godleman 49)
Sussex 447-8 (Wells 104, Brown 61, Critchley 2-101)
Derbyshire trail by 102 runs
Barring rain of biblical proportions tomorrow, which would scarcely be fair on the home side, Derbyshire will lose this game by an innings and plenty, probably some time before lunch.
It has been a poor display, albeit one which highlighted a couple of things, as I followed events from afar (while painting my garden fence, truth be told).
One is that there is at least fight and discipline in the side, especially from some of the younger contingent. Quite frankly, Shiv Thakor is magnificent at present and can be absolved from any criticism with his willingness to occupy the crease, while still playing shots and scoring runs at a good rate. His average for the season is now a remarkable 94 and it must be something in the name, his willingness to battle for the cause reminiscent of Shiv Chanderpaul at his best.
Discipline was evident in the bowling. In a score of 447 in 110 overs, there were only twelve extras, which speaks volumes for the bowlers and wicket-keeper Tom Poynton, even if the end figures were not ones they will recall in their memoirs.
Our problems are twofold at present. One is the youth of the attack, which battles gamely but is a little out of its depth. In the long term they will benefit from the exposure to top level batsmen and there are signs from all of them that they are, if not swimming strongly in the first-class game, bobbing along gamely on the tide. Ben Cotton, Tom Taylor and Matt Critchley are all showing promise in bursts, but it is unrealistic to expect them to run through teams.
The other is in the batting. Thakor speaks for himself, Wayne Madsen is averaging his usual fifty and Chesney Hughes 65. Cap'n Billy is in the steady if not spectacular mid-thirties, but the problem lies with our two Kiwis.
That both are good players is evident from their records in the first-class game. However, it isn't happening for them right now and that must be a frustration for Graeme Welch, as much as supporters. There wasn't a single dissenting voice when Hamish Rutherford and Neil Broom were signed, but the reality is that they each currently average 25 in the four-day game, which is much less than Ben Slater, who is outside the eleven.
This isn't 'have a go at the Kiwis' hour, but with the status of overseas player and one brought over on a British passport comes expectation of performance. They know that and we know that. I have said before that a good county batsman should be averaging in the thirties, a very good one in the forties. For me, the benchmark of an overseas batsman has to be fifty or thereabouts. You are paid well and looked after, so the return should be relative to that. I admit I grew up on the feats of Wright and Kirsten, but we have had plenty of others who spoiled us from that angle, including Rogers, Di Venuto, Katich, Azharuddin and Jones. They set the standard that others must aspire to.
25 doesn't cut the mustard and both men have to up their games in the second half of the summer. It won't make any difference to the championship, because any expectation of achievement there is largely gone for the reasons stated above. Yet we need them to produce their best form and give supporters something to cheer in the one-day game. They can do it and on their improved efforts we can see performances improve.
In closing tonight, read a very interesting post from 'Roy of the Falcons' that I received earlier today and is below last night's piece. I totally agree with him as you will realise from the above, as well as the article I wrote 'Time for a Reality Check' last week.
Keep your comments coming my friends, but please avoid conjecture, personal stuff and insults.
It's a bad old trot, but as supporters, the clue is in the name - and this is when the players need it more than ever.