Saturday, 3 September 2016

Derbyshire v Gloucestershire day 3

Derbyshire 242 and 360 (Hughes 140, Milnes 56, Hosein 52 not, Broom 42)

Gloucestershire 331 and 10-0

Gloucestershire need 262 more to win

Sadly, rain that is forecast to move in from midday today looks set to have the final word in an absorbing contest, in which Derbyshire fought back heroically yesterday.

That they took the game into a final day was down to a fine team effort, led by Alex Hughes, with a wonderful, career-best innings of 140. Alex has struggled for a regular place this summer and putting him in at three has met with some criticism and a little bemusement, from me as well as others. Yet here he showed he has the game for the role and, given greater opportunity, may grow into it.

Whether his bowling will become good enough for him to be seen as a genuine four-day all-rounder is a fair question, but he has much to offer as a cricketer and his one-day contributions have marked him as one to watch. Even there, this summer he has only got in with a couple of overs to go, but perhaps John Sadler has discovered a niche for a very talented player to get into the side on a more regular basis. I hope so, as I like what he brings to the side.

Neil Broom lent good support before chopping onto his stumps, then after tea Harvey Hosein produced a battling innings to register a second first-class fifty. When Hughes departed, Tom Milnes came in and played a cavalier innings of 56 from 53 balls.

Milnes is another who has had his critics since his move from Warwickshire, but in the season's closing weeks he has shown himself capable of taking wickets and scoring runs at this level. Graeme Welch suggested that he saw some of himself in the young Milnes when he signed him from Warwickshire and it may be that next summer could see his career blossom.

It was a good effort by Derbyshire, and came despite only the second career 'pair' for Wayne Madsen, who got a reported brute of a ball to be out third ball. It just shows that anything can happen in the greatest of games.

With the expressed and obvious need for greater experience in the Derbyshire side, there is also a need for young talent to be encouraged and nurtured. Thus, the presence of some interesting trialists in the second eleven in their game against Nottinghamshire may offer pointers to 2017.

Former Lancashire all-rounder Luis Reece took four wickets on debut, while Gurjit Singh Sandhu, formerly of Middlesex, took three as Derbyshire bowled out Nottinghamshire for 84.

In Derbyshire's reply, young Australian Josh Clarke made a round hundred. Clarke, a left-hand bat, has made a lot of runs and taken many wickets with his slow left-arm in recent summers in the Derbyshire Premier League. I understand that he is keen to play county cricket and that we may be looking at him qualifying to do so. One to watch, for sure.

So too is South African wicket-keeper Daryn Smit. At 32, Smit is an established, talented and somewhat unusual performer in Durban, home of Wayne Madsen. He has a mid-thirties career batting average, with six centuries and over thirty fifties. He has similar averages in the one-day formats, but also has over a hundred first-class wickets with leg-spin -  and more in the one-day game - to go with over 300 first-class victims behind the stumps. He has also been Dolphins franchise captain, and is a well-respected cricketer who has scored a lot of runs and taken many wickets as a league professional in this country.

It would be surprising for him to be playing for Derbyshire Seconds without being under consideration for a contract for another summer. It could be a left-field but very interesting move by the county and Smit did himself no harm with 59 in the first innings before seeing us home for a six-wicket win, in company with Clarke, who made an unbeaten 36 to go with his earlier century.

All this after a five-wicket haul by Greg Cork, which made for an interesting day all round.

More from me soon.


Luke said...

When playing for Dolphins Madsen used to take over the keeping when Smit bowled - if I remember correctly

GH said...

For all the correct mentions that Harvey Hosein may be batting a bit too high in the order, it has to be remembered that on limited opportunities his current seasons first class batting average stands at 115.

While I can see the advantage of having a more experienced 'keeper in next season to guide him I wouldn't want him to miss out on opportunities that may lead to his development being hindered.

Seeing the batting order in this match makes me really hope that Chesney signs a contract for us soon.

It would be very disappointing if a player we have stuck by in FC Cricket since he was 16 years old doesn't sign a contract after his first season of good returns as his talent starts to come to fruition.

Equally, I hope the club sees his potential and his appropriate value to us in all forms of the game in our current batting line up.

notoveryet said...

I'm sure the weather will have the final say, but going along on the off-chance that we get a couple of hours to try to force a win. The pitch seemed to have eased yesterday, although the ball that got Madsen was a brute. Both Slater (who I thought was unlucky to be given out very high) and Godleman got nasty deliveries too, but very little else misbehaved after Madsen's. Perhaps Gloucs bowling wasn't good enough to use the pitch, but 260 looks gettable to me despite everyone's expectation that it would deteriorate.

That's not to take anything away from the quality we saw yesterday. One innings doesn't make Alex Hughes a number 3, and I don't think his technique is strong enough to regularly face the new ball, but he's now scored two centuries in his last 10 innings, and (unlike too many of his colleagues this year) has shown the potential to re-focus and go on to make big centuries. With Thakor, there could be a very strong 5 and 6 next year. I was really impressed with Hosein as well, and it's worth noting that he is top of the 2nd division averages at the moment. It's with the benefit of 3 not outs to be sure, but that in itself is significant for a number 7 or 8, as it suggests he could be batting higher as well. I've made the point before that whatever decision is made about recruiting a new wicket-keeper (and it's obvious we need to get some back up), it shouldn't restrict or delay Hosein's development. He's easily the best wicket-keeper we've had in at least 10 years, and although he isn't a powerful batsman, he improvises and times the ball well, and has a very sound technique. Our focus therefore should be on someone who can keep wicket when needed (and perhaps in 1 day cricket as well) but who is otherwise capable of playing as a batsman alone. It seems to me that Mustard fits the bill better than O'Brien in this respect. I don't know anything about the South African playing in the second XI, but the experience with Broom makes me wary of the kind of investment that would be needed to bring him in against the risk of him not delivering in the English game. I'd much rather go with someone with an established track record in English cricket in all of our recruitment this year.

Broom's contribution is worth mentioning. He batted beautifully for most of his innings two hours, and took pressure off Hughes when the latter got bogged down a couple of times by keeping the score moving. His dismissal though was farcical. He played an identical lunging shot to the one that got him out in the first innings at the same stage of his innings, but the edge was missed in the slips. Rather than drawing breath and re-focussing, he tried to chop the next ball down through the slips and played on. There clearly is some sort of flaw in his temperament, regardless of his ability, and this has been reflected in his frequent drops in the slips. I think it's safe to assume that he's one of the higher paid players on the staff, and whether or not this has anything to do with any other contract negotiations, it's bound to become a problem if our home-grown players are delivering more and receiving less.

A final word on Tom Milnes. I've been one of his critics based on what I saw of him last year. There have been odd periods in his games this season when you can still see echoes of that rawness, but in general he's improved out of all expectations, carrying a real threat and authority. He seems to me to be bowling with less raw pace but with Napier-like bustling aggression. Neither he nor Davis were up to their recent performances in the first innings here, but the combination of Palladino, Milnes and Davis looked as though Derbyshire had a real pace attack with variety and contrast for the first time this year. So maybe 10 wickets in 15 overs this morning? I'm off to see.

Peakfan said...

GH - I don't think anyone wants Harvey's development hindered and the lad has great talent. His technique is as good as any and he just needs the greater physical strength to muscle the ball away on the occasions his timing lets him down.
Whether we are genuinely interested in Smit as wicket keeper or anyone else, Harvey will not lack for opportunity. I see him very much as a long-term option for us but the chance to work alongside a good, experienced man will do him no harm.

Peakfan said...

Good post notoveryet. I think Smit's lengthy experience as a league professional regarded as one of the best in the game would stand him in good stead. An average of over a hundred last year and eighty-odd wickets at six or seven suggests a pretty decent player and many judges felt he could have replaced Mark Boucher as the national keeper. I don't think O'Brien or Mustard would let us down, but Smit could be an inspired choice.

Broom will be disappointed with his returns this year but is too good a player to continue to disappoint. A top six of Slater, Godleman, Hughes, Madsen, Broom and Thakor should offer runs another year, even if Chesney leaves and perhaps pushed by a young batsman or two.

Milnes? I agree. It may not have seemed it for a while, but his signing by Graeme Welch could become a masterstroke. At 23 he has time on his side and a quick bowler who can offer runs will always be an asset.

Like Napier, indeed!

Roy of the Falcons said...

Another factor in the wicket keeper debate is what do Mustard and O'Brien want. We offer the opportunity of another couple of years playing ,perhaps part time, but you can improve your coaching credentials by assisting in the development of Harvey.
As for our Chesney he has divided opinion since his first full season and his batting seems equally divided between brilliance and ridiculous. I rather hoped that the Welch era would settle Chesney and develope him into a good county player who is respected by the bowlers. He is certainly worth another season but the stalling point will always be money and not worth at a club like Derbyshire. If Chesney has other better offers then I do not blame him for taking them but i can't see a minor counties salary would beat any offer we have made. On the other hand we may not have made any offer as we do not see him as part of our future.
This again brings me to a point I have made before should these decisions not be made by the person who is going to lead us into 2017.