Wednesday, 8 June 2016

The sun has got his hat on...

It's been a while since things were as good as this for Derbyshire fans. Summer 2012 would be my guess at the last time we experienced this level of euphoria after three straight wins.

It didn't seem likely when the news broke of Graeme Welch's departure, but the coaching and playing staff have done a remarkable job in the past week and deserve every credit for a sequence of results that has made people believe in the club again. Well, some, at least...

John Sadler was extremely magnanimous in interview, attributing it to the players doing what they had worked at over the winter months. It's true of course and these skills don't just happen with players running in and hoping. By the same token, John has poured oil on troubled waters, lightened the mood and presumably talked a lot of sense. You can go a long way with personality and talent, both commodities he has in abundance.

Mind you, they will do well to keep that vibe going over the course of the coming weekend.

Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge on Friday. They racked up 445 earlier in the week, after Lumb and Wessels added 342 for the first wicket. As I write, they have racked up 415 against Warwickshire on an obviously belting track, the openers 'failing' in only adding 178...

They're too batsman-friendly for me. When a fine bowler like Jeetan Patel goes for eight an over, it is too one-sided, but as long as they win, neither the club nor its supporters will complain too much.

That's 520 runs added in two partnerships by Michael Lumb and Rikki Wessels, a reasonable indicator of quality, but then we should remember that any ball that can go for six can also get a batsman out. We all know the great leveler that is cricket and the game's history is littered with examples of batsmen who followed a big hundred with an early dismissal.

It should be well worth a watch, anyway and I just want to see our young side compete against our affluent  neighbours, with a win a bonus.

We have shown that we can pace an innings well in chasing and the next challenge will be to set a good target and then defend. At their best, the batsmen have shown that they can tick along well at seven or eight an over without the panics that used to tarnish our run chases. What I've enjoyed in the last two games is seeing an early over boundary, then the batsmen knocking it around for ones and twos without going mad. Batting first is a different mindset - what constitutes a good score that we could have an expectation of defending? It will be interesting to see how we handle such situations.

Derbyshire's success in the one-day stuff is diametrically opposed to their struggles in the longer format, the reverse of Sunday's visitors to Chesterfield, Yorkshire. They will win the championship again this year, but they've not looked the same force in the one-day games, largely because they have rested key personnel.

No doubt a run out in the scenic splendour of Queens Park will leave a few people fancying a hit on a good track with a fast outfield, so I will read little into advance form in another game in which we will start as underdogs.

That's the way we want it. There's enough good players in the Derbyshire side for danger to lurk in underestimation, enough confidence for surprises to occur. Let's face it, we play two of the best sides in the country over the weekend, so there should be no disgrace in defeat.

If we win either of them, it would be something special.

And David did beat Goliath, after all...

Postscript - quite a bit of discussion on the last Derbyshire-born batsman to score a hundred in a List A game. I reckon it is Chris Adams, who made five centuries in one-day cricket in 1997, his final year at the club. Ian Blackwell, another mentioned in despatches, had a highest  of 97 in our colours.

Unless anyone can tell me otherwise, I reckon that's the answer, which underlines the importance of the innings rather nicely.


Adam said...

I have been doing a bit of research on this, I think it must be Chris Adams (129), Natwest Trophy Quarter Final 29th July 1997 against Sussex at Derby?

Tim, Chesterfield said...

19 years. Far too long. Adams, Blackwell & Slater all mentioned. Perhaps time someone from the south of the county got involved?

Gary said...

It makes a lot of sense to keep Sadler on till end of season. This will give plenty of time to make a good long term decision. I think the appointment is key to get right, as there a squad that got potential. A question with Derbyshire being a well run county and sticking to it's budget. Is it realistic to be competive in all formats? Has there been Derbyshire team that was sucessful in 4 day and One day in same season?

My thinking is should we just focus one format more. Obviously still try and be competitive but to compete in all 3 is it to much ask when counties like Lancashire, Surrey and Nottinghamshie have the cash to buy out contracts, if they are shorter of bowler. It is intresting to look at bigger clubs and see how many players play both formats.

Adam said...

Very interesting thoughts Gary, it is increasingly hard for the smaller counties to be competitive in all formats. Certainly at present it would be unrealistic for Derbyshire to be competing for all 3 competitions. The emphasis that the club has put on one-day cricket this year makes sense as it was always going to be hard in the championship with just 1 up and with teams like Sussex getting relegated with a side packed with experience. Although I certainly would never agree with a policy that completely writes off one competition.

The fact that the larger counties are able to buy players out of their contracts is a concerning development. The moves of Mark Footitt and David Willey were football style transfers and this may become more common in the game. What is there to stop someone like Shiv Thakor being similarly snapped up if he continues in his development? No doubt the salary cap has prevented an even larger gulf in squad expenditure between the larger counties and the rest.