Leicestershire 380 and 109-5 (Milnes 2-29)
Derbyshire 362 (Hughes 48, Parkinson 48 not, Palladino 46 Raine 5-66)
Leicestershire lead by 127 runs
In a county championship season not littered with such days, this was one of our best of the season.
Before the day began, it was easy to see a quick denouement to our innings, either side of the follow-on target, then the home side batting again to be 300 or so ahead by the close. It was not to be.
With a tail that wagged as vigorously as that of our dog Wallace, Derbyshire ended up within eighteen of the home side's tally. Alex Hughes' gritty knock ended two short of a fifty with one that kept a little low, but Alex Mellor and Tom Milnes contributed usefully. The icing on the cake was a merry last wicket stand of 73 in eighteen overs between Tony Palladino and Callum Parkinson. We all know that Tony is capable of such things, but the young debutant suggested, with an unbeaten 48, that he won't bat eleven too many times. His second team career is littered with useful scores and hopefully this innings will not long remain a career-best.
The momentum continued when the home side began a shell-shocked second innings, with Palladino and Milnes taking a first over wicket each. The latter took another later and bowled much more tightly than in the first innings.
I read notoveryet's summation of yesterday's play with interest, but I tend to look at Milnes differently.
As regulars will know, I look more at what people can do than what they can't. Undoubtedly Milnes needs to work at his economy rate, which is on the profligate side of expensive at times, but he does take wickets. In a side that has struggled to do that this year, Milnes and Will Davis bowl wicket-taking lengths that will have their good days and bad, but you need that in four-day cricket, where simply keeping teams quiet isn't an option.
There is a little irony that, in the closing games of a difficult championship season, we have unearthed a pace bowler of potential in Davis and now a spinner of similar ilk in Callum Parkinson. He followed a first innings four-wicket haul with a second exemplary spell of economy, plus another wicket. As long as no one messes with his action, as they did with Tom Knight, we may just have a cricketer on our hands in this youngster.
The game? We need to split the dangerous O'Brien/Eckersley partnership tomorrow and work through a tail that can score runs. I doubt we will want to chase much in excess of 250, but as things stand we have a chance of a championship win.
I've not said that many times this year...