Monday, 17 April 2017

Derbyshire v Northamptonshire day 4

Derbyshire 281 and 351-1 (Reece 168, Godleman 156 not)

Northamptonshire 307 and 330-7 (Levi 99, Newton 98, Mendis 3-84)

Northamptonshire won by 3 wickets

I have no doubt that supporter's opinion will be divided tonight.

On the one hand, Derbyshire were involved in a thrilling game of cricket to open the county season, one which went down to the penultimate ball and made for an enthralling afternoon for those in attendance.

On the other, we lost.

It would have been very easy to write off today as an easy draw, as I largely had. I suggested last night that only a contrived finish could change that, and so it came to pass.

I have only my good friends, Ranjith and Paul, to verify that at lunchtime today I suggested that our declaration was 15-20 runs short of challenging. That it went down to the wire was full credit to both teams and to the two captains. Rather than petering out around 5pm, the game went to the last over and as an entertainment form would have been hard to beat.

I just felt that, playing the current T20 champions, a side packed full of aggressive batsmen down to number nine in the order, 325 in 65 overs was very much on. If you break the innings into bite-sized chunks, it was five an over, or a hundred off each twenty. Against a side shorn of its main strike bowler, with another seamer who had a dodgy ankle and ending the innings with a leggie bowling who hasn't in a match since before Christmas and shoulder surgery, the visitors seemed to hold all the aces.

When they slipped to 124-4, courtesy of what I understand was another stunning slip catch by Daryn Smit, we were on top, but the game was taken away from us by Richard Levi. You have to give credit where it is due and Levi is capable of that, and has done it against international attacks. While Rob Newton kept them in the game, Levi won it for them with 99 from 79 balls. Yes, it hurts to lose, but you have to applaud something special and Levi produced it today.

I'm unsure why we didn't give Will Davis or Tony Palladino a last spell, and even more baffled why Alex Hughes didn't turn his arm over in the game. I didn't get the impression that the wicket was turning, so the merits of spin at each end was questionable, but maybe there were things that I'm not privy to.

Earlier, Billy Godleman and Luis Reece set a new county record for the first wicket,erasing Joe Bowden and Harry Storer from the record books forever with a stand of 333. I suspect that the earlier heroes faced bowling more demanding than today, though, certainly in this morning's session. Well done to both though, because the record books will still bear their names, irrespective of how they were scored.

It might last another 88 years, too...

More thoughts on the game tomorrow. Shame to start with a defeat, but we played positive cricket and have a lot of positives to come out of the match.


David Woolley said...

Sorry Peakfan, but I am totally against these contrived results. I cannot, off the top of my head think of any other sport where this would happen, or be allowed by the sports governing bodies to let it happen.
Yes, we haven't won a CC div2 game for a long time, but i'm sure we will get at least one or two this season.
Like you, I was also baffled by the bowlers selected for the last few overs. If you look like you can't win, don't lose. In my opinion, Billy should have had his seamers on, with instructions to bowl wide outside off or leg (It wasn't limited overs, so the wide laws/rules don't count).
Anyway, rant over, we move on to Friday. Hopefully, Hardus will be fit and we will get to see what we are capable of in a proper match.

Mark said...

You shouldn't be losing a game like that Peakfan. Our bowling will be our achilles heel again this season even with Viljoen in the side. Milnes is a squad player at best, Davis still raw, expensive but promising, Palladino getting no younger and isn't a huge wicket taker, Cotton as per Davis, Thakor quick but also expensive. Hopefully it clicks, but i have my concerns already.

Peakfan said...

Fair point David but mot many sports stop for the weather. When the powers that be dictate wickets should last four days, when they do and teams want results they work around it.
Like I said earlier, if we won by 10 runs today we would all be happy. But if you paid to see a game of cricket today, the afternoon and evening gave you your moneysworth...
We do need Hardus fit. Without question.

Knack said...

Easiest job in the world is criticism, everyone has a boss who is a master at it. Personally I like the attitude, trying to win rather than not losing. Lots of positives from that game, not a sentence I could have written last year. Looking forward to the next thrilling installment.

Peakfan said...

Might be right Mark but you can't judge it on one game and one wicket where our openers put on 333..even if some of it was against declaration bowling

Sam said...

No complaints from me about the declaration, although I felt we either gave them 5 overs too many or 25 runs too few to chase. Tom Milnes was very disappointing, bowling far too short and doing nothing to suggest he should retain his place when Viljoen returns. Smit and Mendis bowled in tandem for a considerable length of time to try and bring the over rate back up to parity, and Davis should have replaced Smit with about 8 or 10 overs to go, as he looked the most threatening bowler. Godleman also kept Reece on for a second over after Mendis took the 5th wicket at the other end, instead of using a strike bowler at a new batsman. I also question the use of negative lines by the leg spinners, bowling round the wicket even to new batsmen sometimes with as many as 6 fielders on the leg side, though in Newton's case it drew a false shot and did get a wicket.

Mendis bowled nicely for his first game, and certainly looks to be a spinner of the requisite standard to keep it tight and chip in with useful wickets, if not run through a side. We've also found a good opening partnership, sorted out the slip cordon, and Davis has confirmed his promise in this game with 6 wickets. Wilson merits selection for his batting alone, and whilst tidy behind the stumps I don't think his footwork is quite as good as Hosein. Overall it was still a positive 4 days, improvement has clearly been made and when Viljoen starts I think we'll start winning games if he can get it right.

Tim, Chesterfield said...

As soon as I saw their buffet bowling via cricinfo at 11.01am I feared it would end as it did. For a club with an awful habit of losing games creating a situation against the batting line up we faced was very silly.

Steve H said...

I, like yourself, like many others won't know how much, if any, conversation took place between both captains behind the bike shed but I was there for the last session, so feel I can comment on that, to a point.

The bit I can't comment upon with any soreness is the logic of having a slip for the first four balls of the final over. Perhaps it had been pre agreed that catchers would remain?

I can easier comment upon the placing of an often " double teapotted " Captain at long off for much of Smit's spell. Surely Billy, if you are to control or shake the game up, that's not the place to do it from?

It was, however, a fairly good finish, but like you said Peak Fan, it's only the losers who bitch 😊

Peakfan said...

Totally agree Knack!

Peakfan said...

Not a fan of distant skippers Steve. Never have been. Unless in T20 and you are a bucket handed gazelle at long off, a skipper needs to be in the ring to control things.

Dave from Luton said...

It certainly made compulsive listening and the captains deserve credit for contriving a finish.
As I wasn't there I obviously have no idea of the conditions but from Luton it did seem a very reasonable target. Northants are not only T20 championso but also a very strong 50 over side. Five an over off 60 with Crook and Kleinveldt at 8 and 9 was always within range for a team that has Duckett, Rossington and Levitt among its batsmen.
5.5 an over would still have been "gettable" and my overall conclusion would be that Wakely outsmarted Godleman in the discussions

Mark said...

A confidence sapping result if ever there was one. Have to put it to the back of our minds now and move on, hopefully Viljoen will replace the poor Milnes.

Adam said...

I was very happy to see a game set up, the frustrating part was having to endure the entire first session being 'contrived' although, Rob Newton's unique run up was worth watching! Regardless of the result though we have learned far more from making a game of it than allowing the game to meander to an early finish.

Mendis was increasingly impressive, he will become better and better the more overs he gets under his belt and the more the weather (hopefully) increases. It was good to see Smit bowl, he was a little rusty but again he will only get better. He could turn into a very useful all round cricketer, once again his slip fielding was superb and that cannot be underestimated in it's importance.

The pace bowling is the main concern, Milnes never got his lines and length right all game, Thakor after day one never looked 100% and Reece never looked threatening. I would have thought that Ben Cotton will come into the side at Kent and Hardus Viljoen was on the ground doing some fitness work, he cannot become available fast enough for us!

Steve H said...

Can you change " soreness" to " surety" in my last post. Damn and blast corrective text 😊

notoveryet said...

I'm sure that most of those complaining about the target we accepted would have been equally critical if there hadn't been an attempt to set it up. I don't think 20 runs more or 5 overs left would have made much difference - the risk was in letting a side like Northants chase any target. Their pacing was immaculately planned and exquisitely executed, and if they'd needed to go at 5.5 or 6 an over, they would simply have adjusted their pace. What was striking was that there was virtually no stage until the last 5 overs in which the required rate was much above 5, and the only question was whether they would run out of wickets first. Levi was exemplary, and there's some learning there for us. A player like him wouldn't have been valued at Derby because he's not consistent enough, With a modest average, capacity to get out cheaply and limply, he also has the ability to win games that so few in our team have.

Having said all of that, too much of our bowling was awful. Milnes was terrible in both innings, always too short and usually wide on one side or another. All the progress he seemed to be making last year has disappeared, and where he was running quite smoothly through the crease last year, he's now gone back to the high leap into his delivery stride that leaves him off-balance and falling away as he bowls. Reece again looked like cannon fodder, and with Thakor clearly not fit (he left the field shortly after his two unsuccessful overs), there were times when you felt that the declaration bowling hadn't finished at lunchtime.

I take the point that Palladino and Davis might have had another spell towards the end, but both had bowled poor second spells, and Mendis and Smit were both causing problems and restricting the run-rate bowling round the wicket into bowlers' footmarks. I'm not sure Smit bowling so much was doing his shoulder much good -I'm sure I read somewhere that he wouldn't be fit to bowl until mid-summer- and he certainly kept grasping his arm as though he was in some pain. Of course it's always possible to say someone else should have bowled (particularly if you haven't been there and can't see the reasons for it) but we need to get out of this thinking that we have 7, 8 or 9 bowling options, so we'll be OK. It's like saying you're well-dressed because you've got 9 pairs of trousers, but ignoring they come from Primark. If they're not good enough, there's no value in having them, no matter how many you have.

On balance, there were some positives form the game. Brilliant slip-catching (what a change that makes), I'm still not wholly convinced by Reece as an opene but he showed a lot of grit and later style in his second inningas - just a shame that he and Godleman couldn't complete centuries before the nonsense started) and we need to see more from Smit with the bat to go with his brilliant catching. mendis has made a promising start if he can find more reliable control, and Davis continued his rapid progress (though could reduce his tendency to bowl short so often). The presence of Viljoen will undoubtedly improve things, but on this evidence our bowling continues to be our Achilles heel.

Shaun said...

Totally disagree with you Adam. We should have batted till the game was safe and taken the draw/points at this early stage of the season. To take on this Northamptonshire side in a 'limited-overs' type situation was far too risky and well above the abilities of Godleman, who actually did not cover himself in glory again. I'm surprised Gary Wilson went along with the notion in view of the fact that he is a much more hard-nosed tactician. This ' entertainment' was not in Derbyshire's interest and we've ended up looking naïve at best.

daisypod said...

concurr with " the knack"
hindsight is a wonderfull attribute isnt it?,
we tried our damndest to win
and only just missed out,
well done to the lads.theres
lots of positives for me..
to be taken with this squad.

Peakfan said...

Very different comments gentlemen and well expressed. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

It never ceases to the amaze me that commentators to this blog, well a significant percentage of them any way, gravitate to the negative

Two matters arise here;
1. Yesterdays game and the construction of it's result
2. Our team or squad.

1. I attended all day yesterday and, yes, whilst the morning session was nothing more than a set up, I sat through it knowing, without any shadow of doubt, that it was a necessary pre-requisite of what was going to follow - and that, my friends, was cricket (the game) at its very best! A four day game that ebbed and flowed throughout its duration (ok apart from the fourth morning) right through until all but one ball of the match remained, Magnificent! I did hear comments around on the day that it was bringing the game into disrepute!!. Let me tell you this, the last two sessions of yesterday's play only served to enhance cricket's reputation and appeal, far from destroy it. Keep up everyone, we have to bring people back to the county game - it is withering on the vine!

2. Our team/squad.
We have a blend of fine senior pros and talented youngsters 'the core' which both have and will be complimented by 'the support stars' Matt Henry, Jetan Mendis, Hardus Viljoen, Imran Tahir etc.
These 'Support Stars' are of course necessary, but will come and go - they are not 'the core' upon which Derbyshire will sustain itself. Do we want to be a county that is a tapestry of Kolpak's, loan signings and one year contract wonders? - I don't think so, so lets get behind our 'core' of players, all of them. Non of them cited above are unfit for purpose through one mediocre showing. They are all talented enough to put in exceptional performances, and have indeed proved this, so have some patience to let them produce their next one and they will soon grow the confidence to start to threading them together more regularly. Don't leap on an incidental poor performance. Derbyshire needs to grow organically if it is to survive as a meaningful entity.