Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Season review - the one day game

It is easy to forget, after the limp ending to a difficult season, that there was a point in it when Derbyshire sat top of the RLODC at the halfway stage. We were also in contention to progress from the T20 group stage to the knockout, something that has attained a nigh-mythical status in Derbyshire circles, right up to the last match.

Indeed, in the T20's opener we came close to beating the eventual winners, Northamptonshire, in a match that set a tone for the competition - whenever there was a close finish, we were on the wrong end of it. Twice we lost to Yorkshire, another side that made finals day, by one run, one of those occasions being when they had their England men in attendance.

Our worst was reserved for local rivals. Having effectively and professionally disposed of Leicestershire at Derby, there was a wretched return game where we never showed up, while a point from a rained-off game at Trent Bridge was shown as fortuitous when we were hammered in the return.

That the side was capable of good cricket is beyond dispute. In disappointing summers, the best of Neil Broom and Hamish Rutherford was seen in the one-day game, although they flopped in the pressure matches when you really need your overseas professionals to perform. Jimmy Neesham performed better than his compatriots, producing some useful displays without crossing the line into 'brilliance' that distinguishes the standout performers from the rest.

Matt Critchley bowled spells of precocious talent and Alex Hughes was generally tidy, but the omission of Ben Cotton, so successful in the previous year, for a few matches was a puzzle. Shiv Thakor was the 'go to' bowler and generally delivered, while Wayne Madsen, unsurprisingly, was top of the batting averages with some important knocks.

The 'Wes and Ches' combo rarely came off this year, Rutherford generally preferred for opening the batting and it was a tough summer for Wes Durston. He appeared to opt for a pinch hitting role that saw only one fifty in the summer and while a side injury ruled him out of a few games, he under-bowled himself at times. This was most evident in the RLODC game at Warsop, when he bowled only five overs while others of less experience were going around the ground.

In the RLODC we started well, with a stunning win at Worcester when chasing nearly 300, followed by a professional chase of a lesser total against Durham. Points from rain-offs against Yorkshire and Warwickshire were fortuitous, but we threw away a winning position that should have been a stroll against Lancashire and were thrashed by Northamptonshire. We didn't win another match from the halfway stage and the introduction of Dominic Cork as an 'advisor' in the dressing room.

Coincidence or not, like the summer it fizzled out. Ben Slater is worthy of mention for some sparkling RLODC displays, in a summer where he looked a million dollars on occasions and formed a good opening pair with Billy Godleman, who played some good hands. The batting was generally OK, but we lacked the 'oomph' to take games away from teams, posting competitive rather than intimidating totals.

We need more. It is unrealistic, perhaps, to see Derbyshire as trophy winners in the immediate future, but if Northamptonshire can do it, why can't our side, if it produces performances where eleven men play a part?

For improvement, much will depend on winter acquisitions, further progress from young players of talent and reducing errors in the field. I'd like to see Alex Hughes, an effervescent cricketer who did well in the role as a stopgap, as one-day skipper next year, unless we can attract someone from elsewhere for who the captaincy is a deal-maker.

Much to do then, and while supporters will sit in front of their fires and think back to one or two days in the sun, further progress in one-day cricket, especially from a tough T20 group that produced all four finals day sides, is going to take some doing.

Still, we dream.


Mark said...

Much of a muchness I'm afraid Peakfan, even though it was a lot better than the woeful championship campaign it still left a lot to be desired. Still no news of a new head coach, have we actually got anybody lined up?, the silence is deafening coming out of the club.

Sam said...

A season of progress in the t20, but a backward step in the 50 over competition, where apart from a good run chase at Worcester and having Durham 70/7 at Derby we were very poor indeed. We lacked a plan in the last few games, (coincidentally about the same time as Cork turned up) with batting orders being changed for no obvious reason, and Chesney Hughes being omitted from the side despite his championship form. His loss will be felt hardest in these formats next year and I don't see with the current squad where any sixes are going to come from. 50 over cricket requires a formula with each player knowing what their role in the team is. We might have steady openers in Slater and Godleman, and Madsen will be solid as ever, but we don't have a finisher and we don't have a strike bowler.

Slater has to be given more of a chance in the t20 side, opening preferably with an overseas player if we do indeed lose Wes. I wouldn't be averse to bringing Neesham back as overseas, especially if he was going to be a little less profligate with the ball.

The highlight of the season in white ball cricket has to be Matt Critchley, who was economical and took wickets. Had he bowled 4 overs not 3 more often we might have won a couple of the single run defeats which would have meant progress! On small margins do things depend!

Peakfan said...

Good points Sam! Well made as ever

Peakfan said...

Good points Sam! Well made as ever

Nic H said...

Wes Durston?! Have I missed anything, is he still here? what is his role going to be?