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.