Kent 259 and 308 (Stevens 90, Rouse 95, Davis 3-48)
Derbyshire 159 and 239 (Wilson 97, Madsen 32)
Kent won by 169 runs
Notwithstanding that this is a pretty decent Kent side, and in Darren Stevens they had the best player on the pitch, today was wretched from Derbyshire.
You pays your money and takes your choice, but when Kent added 166 in the morning session, one assumed that the wicket had at least eased to allow a decent stab at a target in excess of 400. Yet our limp batting thereafter, with the honorable exception of Messrs Wilson and Madsen, was not what one would hope for in a summer that we hope brings a bright new start.
Wilson has been highly impressive since his move from Surrey, a huge asset to the side and was unlucky to miss out on another century. Meanwhile Madsen keeps on being Madsen, but I don't look at the Derbyshire side right now and think it is balanced.
In all likelihood the batsmen and bowlers were equally culpable today, because there was some poor bowling in that first session. That Tom Milnes went in excess of five an over, on a wicket that most seamers would want to carry around with them is disappointing. Tony Palladino bowled tight, while Will Davis shouldn't have to carry an attack at 21 but is doing so just now.
Shiv Thakor was obviously not fit enough to bowl much, but I'm not sure how realistic it is for Luis Reece to be a main bowler AND open the batting. To be fair to the lad, I can't think of anyone else who has bowled first or second change and opened and it is a huge ask for anyone. Likewise I am not yet sold on Shiv Thakor as a number three, though it is early days yet. We need more than flashy forties from that position though and Ben Slater is knocking on the door, as is Charlie Macdonell.
I think Smit will be fine once he gets used to the wickets, and neither so far has been a batting paradise. He has added greatly to the fielding side, but we have three bowling issues to address before we can start to win matches.
First and very obviously, we need Hardus Viljoen fit. How he would have gone on such a wicket is worthy of thought, though it was more a wicket for those who slowed it down a little.
Second, we need to use Jeevan Mendis better. If a bloke is worth bringing over as an overseas player, surely he is worthy of a bowl before the 49th over? From what I have seen of him so far, he is a very handy leggie, but I don't see how he has scored so heavily in Sri Lanka. Why we let Stevens and Rouse add 90 before we remembered we had him in the side is puzzling. That he got a wicket straight away was just mighty frustrating. He's not in Tahir's class, but we need to use a bowler whose style often puzzles English batsmen, in a far more savvy manner.
Finally, we need to bring in Ben Cotton. Whether he takes wickets or not, Cotts is generally accurate and we can't afford to give runs away as Milnes did in this game. He needs to work on line and length to stay in the side, or drop down to the twos to rediscover it in a less demanding environment.
Disappointing sums it up tonight.
To quote the old song, things can only get better.