Thursday, 14 July 2016

Derbyshire v Sri Lanka A

It was a good night last night for Derbyshire.

A professional chase of a target, some good bowling, impressive fielding (Matt Critchley took a good catch, Andy Carter a sharp one, Jimmy Neesham almost a stunning one) and a good vibe around the team and the ground.

There was plenty to see and do in a format which has seen us, broadly speaking, show plenty of improvements this year, in both the overall level of performance and that of key individuals. Credit to all, including the coaching staff, for that.

Yet I have to say, for all that I enjoyed the performance, I drove away from the ground feeling there was something missing, for me. I know it's the future, we need to embrace it, need to be good at it. I watch it on the TV and enjoy it sometimes. That last word is key.

Whether it is the music, the sideshows, the distractions - maybe a combination of them all. I am a traditionalist, but on the ground it is just too 'in your face'. I don't need all the distractions, because the game itself is enough. I don't need batsmen standing like Babe Ruth when the bowler approaches, legs spread wide at the crease, as if awaiting a giant wave on a surf board. Nor do I need to sit behind someone who shouts, though no one listened 'You're bloody rubbish' every time a Derbyshire bowler got hit for four. It's obviously not allowed in his little world.

Truth be told, I don't see myself back. My last T20 was with my Dad, several years ago. It was us against Yorkshire and the hackles were going up on his back as 'gobby' (his words) Yorkshire supporters started mouthing off around us. As soon as the music started he was done, though he might have handled a bit of Tommy Dorsey coming from the speakers. There was none of the raucous stuff last night, but after a break of several seasons, I realised that the format was not for me.

Part of it is down to economics. Why would I drive five hours each way for three hours of cricket? It makes no sense on that level and even less so when the 'vibe' isn't my bag, baby. Sorry for the Austin Powers moment there...

I'll follow from afar, as one perforce has to do when 300 miles from the ground - but wish them well, as always.

Tomorrow sees a largely second team play Sri Lanka A, who must be fairly average if their national side is much to go by. The squad is:

Wes Durston
Ben Slater
Alex Hughes
Charlie MacDonnell
Tom Wood
Matt Critchley
Rob Hemmings
Harvey Hosein
Greg Cork
Tom Milnes
Ben Cotton
Andy Carter

For me, the main interest in the game is the performance of young batsmen Charlie MacDonnell and Tom Wood. Both have been scoring heavily in the second team and indeed all summer, for Durham MCCU and the Unicorns respectively.

I suspect that one, perhaps both of them may have a chance of a contract for next year, though much will depend on how we use our limited resources for squad strengthening. Both seem talented enough to make it at top level and have the crucial ability to play the long innings in four-day cricket, as well as the ability to hit it hard and often in the T20 format.

Which takes me neatly back to where I started.

Good luck to all of them. I hope they do well


Rev Keith Bamford said...

I agree with you about the T20 format. Market research must have shown that lots of people enjoy the music, etc., and the size of the crowds suggests that it 'adds' something for those who come. But not for old "fuddy duddies" like me! Muscle-bound hulks in pyjamas wielding ever larger bats and setting themselves, as you say, like Babe Ruth make me wonder if we may wake up one day and say, "Look, we are playing baseball! How did that happen?"

How long, I wonder, before T20 becomes "boring" and we move to T10?

Incidentally, much as it hurts to say so, and I wouldn't use his language, your neighbour wasn't far wrong in his description of the early Derbyshire bowling last night, which was appalling! Far too many "4-balls". It needs to be "tightened up", or we are never going to win anything.


Peakfan said...

Nice to hear from you again Keith! Pity we didn't meet up last night we could have formed a brotherhood or somesuch!

It is the challenge facing the game, to accept developments but in doing so not alienate the traditionalists who would still sooner go to four and five day cricket.

That T20 is a good night out for the lads, combining cricket and a pint, is undeniable. Maybe the opinion of older, I like to think more discerning supporters doesn't matter, because T20 does pay more of the bills than 4-day cricket ever could.

It is all about opinions and it is good to see that I am not in a minority of one...

Tim, Chesterfield said...

The good thing is both games can exist happily alongside each other.

Adam said...

I have started to enjoy the format much more these days, this is probably down to T20 evolving to a game within a game. I treat it as a totally different game to the other formats as the skills required for it are unique. I agree that the distractions can be too much (music too loud etc) and too often luck comes down to deciding the result, it is a fine line between getting caught on the boundary or the ball sailing over the fielder's head!

There is no doubt though that the true test is the longer format (be it 3, 4 or 5 days) but I do enjoy the one-day format as it still has the elements of the longer game. I only hope that it does survive and I still think a Sunday league type competition (played on weekends and not floodlit) could be a success.

Interesting to see how today's game goes, I saw Tom Wood's knock last week for the seconds and I have seen a couple of Charlie's MacDonnel's innings and I was very impressed with him. He had excellent timing/placing of the ball and never got bogged down.

Roy of the Falcons said...

I didn't go to the game due to night out with former colleagues but I was in The Brewery Tap pub which was on the way home for some who did attend. I saw those I would describe as regulars dressed normally but many non regulars carried or wore items they had been given at the ground. I was also surprised how many came into the pub after the game adding money to the night time economy of the city.

Peakfan said...

Yep, don't deny any of the above. the freebies to the fans, the sideshows, the money to the club and to the local economy. The competition is great on many levels - but as a personal taste it's not for me in person.

Opinions, that's all it is!