Kent 379 and 238-3
The last day of a game in which Derbyshire acquitted themselves well petered out at tea. The deficit had been easily passed and was always going to be, considering that, with Will Davis injured, we only had two full-time bowlers to pit against a good batting side on a decent track.
Ben Cotton and Tony Palladino huffed and puffed in vain, then it was left to the occasional spin of Wayne, Chesney and Ben to try and winkle them out. Neil Broom got his sixth first-class wicket, while Hamish Rutherford even turned his arm over before the rain mercifully ended things. Such days are dull and entertain no one, to be honest. Four day cricket is pointless when the fourth is like too many have been this summer.
What does it mean for Derbyshire? Well, with seven games left, promotion is slightly more likely than me winning Miss World, but after the slow start we had in the four-day game, 'twas always likely to be so.
What I would like to see now is Harvey Hosein given the gloves for the rest of the summer's four-day cricket. By this stage, we know what Tom Poynton can do and he will doubtless play the one-day games. What we need to know, for next year, is whether Hosein has the mental toughness for day-in, day-out first-class cricket yet, or if we need to look at options.
At nineteen, being first-choice wicket-keeper at the top level is a tough gig, but I do think that we need more runs from that position than we're getting at present. It is the way of the modern game and our side would be so much stronger if we had an O'Brien, Roderick, Cox or Hodd behind the timbers. If TP or Harvey could provide that quality, then fantastic, but we need to look at that carefully in September and over the winter. We have an improved batting side, but there will be plenty of times when a James Pipe/Luke Sutton rearguard action is needed in all forms of the game.
I'd also like to see Matt Critchley get some overs under his belt. Of course, they want him to keep his limited overs bowling mindset right now and I get that, but a day like today cried out for a specialist spinner and we don't have one right now.
There's not many around, of course, but if I was in charge of winter recruitment this year, my number one target would be a spin bowler. If he could bat a bit, great, but a man who you could toss a ball to on the last day of a four-day game and say 'Bowl them out' would be a godsend. Likewise a man who could bowl tight overs in one-day cricket - and get people out too.
My choice? Imran Tahir. At 38 next year, his international days must be coming to a close, but his impact on someone like Matt Critchley for a couple of years could be considerable. Were he available, I'm sure most counties would be chasing him, but his effect on a young side would be massive. No side would fancy 200-plus on the last day with him bowling at one end.
An alternative might be a seamer for April to June and Tahir for the later summer, if he was loathe to commit to a full summer here. He's a match-winner for sure, but others would doubtless see him similarly.
The sad thing is, that's it. Unless Pakistan reveal a mystery spinner for the forthcoming Test series, I can't think of another spinner in the world game who I would bank on to bowl sides out on a regular basis and might be persuaded to come to England. While India has a few, they are unlikely to need county cricket when they can earn fortunes in the IPL.
Sad, isn't it?
Get yourself fit, Edwin. Your county needs you...