Derbyshire 242 and 16-2
Gloucestershire 331 (Mustard 107 not, Dent 94, Palladino 5-74)
Derbyshire trail by 73 runs
Apologies for the lack of blog last night, but everyday life got in the way and meant that a reflection on the day's play had to wait until this morning.
Were it not for the late loss of two big wickets, which saw both our openers back in the pavilion, we didn't do too badly on Thursday, in limiting the first innings deficit to 89 runs. Tony Palladino led by example in taking five wickets, while both Tom Milnes and Callum Parkinson reinforced their recent good impression with tight spells and a couple of wickets each.
The team selection puzzled again though, with Matt Critchley selected, batting six but only bowling four overs. That long tail is likely to see another early finish, unless it wags with greater vigour than it managed in the first innings.
As for the opposition, Chris Dent scored well against us again, not quite on the Nick Browne scale, but another opener who would love to face us every week and scores heavily when he does. Meanwhile Phil Mustard scored what was his first championship ton for five years, although he has been some way removed from a four-day regular for Durham.
Will we see him at Derby next year? I hope so, because at present the side is crying out for an experienced player or two with the nous and gumption to battle it out when the going gets tough.
Phil Mustard or Niall O'Brien? Either would do me. No disrespect intended to Harvey Hosein, whose glove work is excellent, but a number seven who can score good runs and nurse the tail to respectability is absolutely crucial if we are to be more competitive next year.
A few more, too...