Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Durham v Derbyshire preview

In old Peakfan's house today, it is like the night before Christmas.

The bags are packed (well, both of them, I don't travel like the Kardashians...) and I am all set for an early departure tomorrow morning. I plan to be down by the Riverside (where..?) before the start of play and to see Derbyshire for the first time in my fiftieth summer supporting the club.

From there it will be on to God's Own County and seeing my folks, while pulling in the game against Northamptonshire on Sunday. A nice mini tour and I hope that the cricket I see is worthy of the trip.

Tomorrow's weather looks a little 'iffy' and it may be that the game is reduced. There is light rain forecast in the morning, but it looks to clear in the afternoon, so good news on that score.

We have named a fourteen-man squad for the game, which is as follows:

Billy Godleman
Luis Reece
Ben Slater
Shiv Thakor
Wayne Madsen
Daryn Smit
Jeevan Mendis
Gary Wilson
Alex Hughes
Tom Milnes
Rob Hemmings
Tony Palladino
Will Davis
Ben Cotton

Milnes and Hemmings look the most likely to miss out, for me, but it will be a tough call on all the exclusions. Indeed, there was a strong case for Tom Wood's inclusion, after a sparkling century against Northamptonshire yesterday. There were seven sixes in his ton, which must have made for exciting watching. Such players outside the squad give reasons to be cheerful and the players 'in possession' need to deliver.

Durham will be missing Mark Wood, who has a groin strain, as well as Jack Burnham, who has a broken thumb. Keaton Jennings will lead the side and form an impressive opening pair with South African Stephen Cook.

Their squad:

Keaton Jennings (c), Stephen Cook, Graham Clark, Michael Richardson, Paul Collingwood, Cameron Steel, Paul Coughlin, Ryan Pringle, Stuart Poynter (wk), Brydon Carse, James Weighell, Chris Rushworth, Barry McCarthy

It is a winnable game and to do so would make Derbyshire supporters feel more at ease after a mixed start to the season. I think the one-day formats might suit us this year, if we can keep key men fit. Jeevan Mendis should come into his own in this competition and we seem to have the crucial depth in batting and bowling.

I will be tweeting through the day, all being well, though my close of play report may be delayed until Friday.

Either way, I'm going to enjoy it!


Anonymous said...

Have great day PF. Wish I could get off work. Your point about players pushing is a valid one. All the second team young guns have been in the runs already., with centuries for Slater, now included. Charlie Macdonall and now a hard hitting 97 ball 126 from the boy Wood. Critchley was also in the runs twice in the Lancashire fixtures. The senior players need to hit their straps early in this competition or the management team might have some difficult decisions to make. Let's hope we can get our season off the ground proper over the next week or so.
Have a good trip. John from Derby

Peakfan said...

Thanks John! Appreciate that mate.

Mark said...

Rained off today Peakfan. Not sure which forecast you've looked at mate.

Stephen Roe said...

I'm just down the road at the minute and the forecast looks terrible. Fingers crossed they can make a game out of it...

notoveryet said...

Having just got back from travelling half the length of the country for a day and a half’s cricket at Canterbury, I’ve decided against travelling the other half to Durham, particularly as the weather doesn’t look great. Given our record against them, plus the absence of key players, this is one that we should expect to win, though.

The continued absence of Viljoen is a worry, however, and leaves us with much the same bowling options that we had last year. It’s slightly ironic that after a season in which the bowling was the key weakness, we’ve changed most of the batting – echoes of the old England joke about the batting failing, let’s drop a bowler.

I think a lot of the comment about the Kent match was a bit harsh, because although it’s hard to see from the scorecard, Derbyshire were not as far off as the outcome suggests. I didn’t see the first day, where Godleman pinned the blame for the first session, but the key moments for me were on the second evening when Derbyshire dropped Stevens at cover (Milnes I think) on 18, and Rouse at third slip (Hughes) on 0. Add the runs they went on to score together and it was just about the margin of defeat. Derbyshire (literally) had the game in their hands at that point, and would have had a target that, whatever the problems in the batting, they showed that they were capable of reaching. Much of the bowling after that was indefensible, with Milnes, Hughes, Reece and Thakor being particularly poor. One awful over from Hughes to Rouse in which he was hit for four successive boundaries will live in my mind. The ease with which Kent's tail smashed the bowling around on the last morning was embarrassing, and could hardly have been worse if it had been declaration bowling.

The problem we have now is that we’re going to have to rely on several of these bowlers today. I’m surprised to see Milnes in the squad at all, to be honest. He clearly does have the ability to bowl wicket-taking deliveries even in the middle of bad spells, but the speed and ease with which batsmen can pick him off this season means I wouldn’t risk him. Likewise Hughes, whose batting has also looked pretty scratchy, though a decent innings for the 2nd XI yesterday might have restored his confidence. With Hemmings also missing out, that still leaves Derbyshire with four front-line bowlers plus Reece and Thakor. There’s been a lot of comment about strange bowling changes, and I’ve had a feeling that Godleman has had too many bowling options, and having fewer might concentrate minds better.

I think this is a crucial game for Smit. Notwithstanding the brilliance of his slip-catching, his batting is falling well short. He grafted out an awkward innings against Northants in support of Wilson, but looked terrible against Kent. I’ve always had the feeling that his record in South Africa and the Lancashire League wasn’t going to translate easily into the first class game, and the time it took Derbyshire to offer him a contract suggests that I wasn’t alone in that. I know you’ve been a great supporter of him, Peakfan, but after the Broom experience, we can’t have another situation where a mature overseas player displaces our home-grown talent on nothing but reputation and character. Particularly with so many batsmen scoring heavily in the seconds, he needs to show he can make the transition quickly, and make a significant contribution in the next couple of matches.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please explain to me why Milnes is playing? He has already gone for nearly six an over this morning!Surely we have got someone better than him?!!! Or are we trying to lose?


Peakfan said...

Not sure about this being crucial for Smit. His three innings so far have been played on bowler friendly tracks and weren't easy for any batsman.

If we drop any batsman after those wickets I would be disappointed

Milnes is really struggling for line and length though and has bowled poorly this morning