Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Post-match thoughts

Well, we lost an opening game of the season, not for the first time.

Yet in that loss, there was more than a suggestion that this could be a highly entertaining summer. It wasn't a game in which we were outclassed, as so often last year, To the contrary, we made the running for most of it, even without our fast bowling spearhead, Hardus Viljoen.

We were defeated because we tried to win the game and were not fully taking into account the length and strength of a very good visiting batting side. There was a time when five an over across 65 overs would have been a test. Now, when 200 from twenty overs is far from unusual, I think that we erred on the side of generosity with a declaration that lost us the match. Anyway, 'tis done now and we must move on.

Other downsides? The bowling didn't seem too demanding, with the honorable exception of Will Davis and Tony Palladino. Tom Milnes can do much better, Shiv Thakor's injury didn't help and Jeevan Mendis will come more into his own on warmer days and drier tracks. Luis Reece may prove only an occasional bowler, but will need to be tighter than he was in that game, while Daryn Smit will doubtless take wickets when his shoulder is fully restored to health.

That's really it, though. The positives far outweigh them. As a batting side we fought in both innings, when conditions were not at all in our favour and appear to have a solid opening pair. There were debates when Luis Reece was preferred to Ben Slater, but the latter, a player I really like, hasn't yet found his touch this year. He only got 14 yesterday for the seconds, while Charlie Macdonell hit an unbeaten 136, perhaps making himself the next in line in the process.

Shiv Thakor may or may not establish himself at three, but needs a run at the role, so with the rest of the batting largely stable, the thoughts over the next day or two will revolve around the bowling. A good performance in the seconds could see Ben Cotton or Tom Taylor elevated for the trip to Kent and we all hope that Hardus Viljoen is fit for that one.

We also held some excellent catches. Daryn Smit stood out with stunning efforts at second slip, but Wayne Madsen is a sound first slip and Gary Wilson set the tone behind the stumps. In that second innings run chase of Northamptonshire, we only conceded two extras, a level of discipline that is gratifying. In an attack that is best described as a work in progress, the least we should expect is that and hopefully greater penetration will come. No one should underestimate the value of a fast bowler at one end and his impact on all the others in the attack.

One final thing. We have a skipper who is prepared to risk losing, in order to win. It would have been very easy to bat all day on Monday and take practice in a match situation and a few points.

Billy Godleman tried to take more than that and is to be applauded. While it didn't work out this time, there will be others when it does.

It all suggested that Derbyshire watching this summer will be anything but dull.

Which has to be worth something, at the end of the day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Peakfan,

Whilst I take your point that we took them all the way - after a generous declaration - and there were a lot of positives, I still think that after the debacle of last year we should have ensured a 0 in the loss column for as long as possible.

We lost enough games last season as it was and I'm not sure we risked losing to try and win. I'm not entirely sure a win was ever on the cards with that declaration. For me, staying unbeaten as long as possible should have been one of our aims this year and offering a side that bats as long as Northants a gettable target - particularly when you have your main strike bowler out of the team and another one lacking in effectiveness due to a niggle - was setting us up to lose.

However, it's done now and we move on to game 2. I'm sure we're in for a better season ... Up the Falcons!!

Chris in Shropshire.