Durham 216 (Pringle 125, Thakor 3-36, Carter 3-59, Cotton 2-32, Critchley 2-53)
Derbyshire 218-3 (Slater 119, Godleman 42, Madsen 21 not)
Derbyshire won by 7 wickets
Whisper it quietly, for it be early days, but we're top of the league after two straight wins...
It'll get harder from here, because the surprise element is perhaps gone, but Derbyshire's young team under its young coach has just had a golden weekend. In doing so, they have played bright, aggressive, purposeful and professional cricket, with every member of the side playing a full part. There was no Chesney Hughes today, to add to the absence of Wes Durston, but it barely mattered as Ben Slater came in for his 50-over debut and scored 119 to steer Cap'n Alex's trusty ship to the calm waters of another two points.
27, 22, 22, 24, 19. That was the respective ages of Derbyshire's attack again today (Carter, Cotton, Thakor, Hughes, Critchley in order) Throw in Slater, at 24 and there are genuine reasons for optimism. Sure, there will be setbacks in the weeks and months ahead, as such is the game, but they are working hard, playing excellent cricket and getting their just rewards. Wayne Madsen and Neil Broom must feel like leaders of a scout troop at times, as the only over-30s...
It was disciplined once again. Only ten extras conceded in the innings and taking key early wickets. Andy Carter is coming into his own now and leading the attack well, while Ben Cotton has been a revelation in recent weeks. With an opening spell of seven overs for just ten runs, his bowling was in the best Derbyshire tradition. As for Thakor, he continues to look a very special cricketer and nipped out three wickets once again, while maintaining an economy rate that he can be very proud of.
Credit too to Matt Critchley, who emerged from his Worcester mauling to take two wickets and produce respectable figures, better than those of Scott Borthwick, who is often cited as the English leggie to watch. Matt is seven years younger, for the record.
Once again, I am told, Alex Hughes captained his side intuitively and well. With nine overs for 34 runs he played a key part in the field and it all resulted in a total of 216 that looked within reach. Durham would have struggled to three figures, had it not been for Ryan Pringle's brilliant 125. Some may remember the lad's agent playing a supposed interest from Derbyshire off against Durham to earn a better contract last October and today they would have realised it was money well spent.
It didn't affect the result though. While it could have been Durston and Hughes, Slater and Godleman led off in fine style and had a hundred on the board inside 20 overs before Billy was out. Hamish Rutherford wasn't in destructo-mode, but was only out to a brilliant catch, then the composed Mr Madsen came in, ensured Slater got enough strike to reach his ton and that the win was reached with the minimum of fuss.
It was Slater's day and rightly he was declared man of the match. It was an innings which gave John Sadler a good kind of headache, as he has more batsmen running into form than he can accommodate in an eleven. He's a good player is Ben, one who could easily head the county batting for a decade, given the luck that is always needed at key times. I'm really pleased for him and for the whole team.
In closing, earlier today I read someone saying how impressed he was with Worcestershire as a one-day side this year and how they could 'win silverware'. Maybe they could, but we beat them with some to spare on Sunday. Today, we eased past a division one side in Durham, by all accounts looking a good (and young) side in doing so.
Friday at Trent Bridge and then Sunday at Chesterfield will be big tests for that young eleven.
But by crikey, they are playing some good cricket at the moment.
Well done lads. Be proud of yourselves.