Derbyshire 332-9 (Critchley 102, Godleman 79 not, Madsen 54, Sandhu 36 not)
When opportunity knocks, as old Hughie Green used to say, who will open the door?
Today, most assuredly, Matt Critchley did. Last night I couldn't see how he would play, but Gary Wilson presumably had an issue with the knee injury that has troubled him this summer. He thus joined Shiv Thakor, Hardus Viljoen and Will Davis on the sidelines and it left a Derbyshire attack of two left and one right arm seamers, two leg-spinners and an off-spinner (maybe two, if we include Wayne Madsen).
There is certainly a hint of eastern appeal in the bowling, with Indian, Pakistani and Afghan origin bowlers in there, They have something to bowl at tomorrow too, and I am sure that Imran Tahir will be in the attack fairly quickly. Curiously, the combined age of our other two spinners isn't quite that of Tahir...
Critchley did a fabulous job and, given opportunity, took it with both hands. At 20, his bowling has a long way to go, but if he can develop his batting to true all-rounder status he will be hard to omit, whoever is fit. He showed in this year's RLODC that he could really hit a ball and today's innings, if it wasn't already, cemented his place in that side, I'd have thought.
There was another fifty for Wayne Madsen, who will be a little frustrated at again getting out when set, but Billy Godleman, batting at six, nursed the innings to respectability, mainly with assistance from Gurjit Sandhu, who exceeded his previous best by 28 runs in making an unbeaten 36, sharing in an unbroken last wicket stand of 66 in the process. As debut impressions go, that's a pretty impressive one. I suspect he won't bat eleven in the second innings...
There were a few failures along the way, as you will always get, but I would expect Billy Godleman and Kim Barnett will be quite pleased with the score at the end of the first day.
My mind was on the game all day and in other circumstances I would have been there. The crowd was apparently excellent and I look forward to hearing from those who were there, as well as those who, like me, had other things to do.
More from me tomorrow, when hopefully the news is equally positive.
One thing is for sure. Results may not have gone as we wanted and we have a few too many injuries for comfort, but there is nothing wrong with the team spirit.