Monday, 21 August 2017

Derbyshire v Hampshire T20 Quarter Final

You know, I have been doing this blog for ten years and never once had the opportunity to write that. Derbyshire, in a quarter final. Oops, I did it again, said he in his best Britney Spears voice...

I started the blog in 2008 and it was three years prior to that when we were beaten in the competition's quarter final by Lancashire, at Old Trafford. Seventeen runs was the margin, but we never really looked like winning the game at any point.

Will 2017 be different?

It is division two versus division one. A county that struggles to make ends meet versus one that seems to have limitless pots of cash, liberally spent. Realistically and logically, it should be a one-sided contest.

And yet...

We have turned the 3aaa County Ground into a mini fortress this summer, losing only one of our games and that narrowly. We have played some excellent cricket, as you have to do to get out of a very tough section, beating the reigning champions along the way and Yorkshire twice. To be fair, there have been occasions when the standard has dropped and we have bowled poorly, batted with less nous and fielded erratically. Yet every side does that and it now comes down to a knock out stage and who holds their nerve.

The game has big occasion players on each side and  on such occasions you hope, as a supporter, that your heroes are the ones who produce their best and come out on top. Perhaps tomorrow one of our experienced players will produce a special performance. Then again, maybe a younger player will announce himself to the wider cricketing world, when the eyes of the county game are upon us, as being something special.

Can we win? Yes, most definitely. If we bowl as we did on Friday night and bat as we have on occasion in this competition, we can beat anyone. But we have to have eleven men on top of their game, because this is serious stuff. Proper, knock-out, winner takes all cricket. To the victor, the spoils. To the loser...a lower profile sequence of four-day cricket until Autumn ends it all for another year.

We welcome back Gary Wilson as skipper and middle order 'finisher' tomorrow and for me he will take his place in this team:

Godleman
Critchley
Reece
Madsen
Wilson
Hughes
Smit
Henry
Viljoen
Cotton
Tahir

Callum Brodrick has done well in his appearances, especially in the field, but that's the eleven I expect to take the field tomorrow.

As for the visitors, they welcome back Michael Carberry and Jimmy Adams in a strong squad that reads:

Carberry
Adams
Vince
Bailey
Alsop
Wheal
Ervine
Afridi
Berg
Wood
Crane
Dawson
Abbott
Dickinson

Plenty of international experience there and the visitors will start favourites, despite our home advantage. With seven internationals that is understandable, but we know that we can hold our own and have to go in there and mix it with them.

Five summers ago, on a late summer afternoon, Derbyshire chased down a moderate total to beat Hampshire and clinch the division two title, amid scenes of great euphoria. There were grown men weeping that day, for the best of reasons, as a young side had defied critics and expectations to gain promotion.

There will be more tears tomorrow if they can pull off a similar heist. Not just in Derby, but everywhere the club's supporters live, the length and breadth of the country, across Europe, throughout the Americas and in both Australia and New Zealand. I know this, as I get regular messages from them. Their circumstances may not allow regular, or even infrequent attendance, but their interest and support is undiminished.

Make us proud lads. Go out, give it everything and let's make it a season to rank along the very best.

Go well, Derbyshire.

And good luck.

10 comments:

justmissin'leg said...

Agree with your selection, Peakfan. That's our strongest line-up.

Hope ticket sales have continued throughout the evening, as it would be a pity to have empty seats.

Had a quick read on a Hampshire fan site; they bemoaned an 'abysmal batting display' in their last game v Somerset, and are not upset at having an away tie.

Just a thought, would you select one of our bats to target, say, Afridi? Someone like Henry to hit him down the ground. Repeatedly.

As you rightly say, we can win this.

Nic H said...

Cry Havoc, and let loose the dog's of war!!

Ash said...

Today is the day......off to work then the hop over from Sutton Coldfield, win or lose we've done well this year considering our history, I just hope plans are in place for next season and this isn't a one off, if anyone is still thinking of going I've got 2 spare tickets I've won

David Woolley said...

Agree 100% with your team Peakfan.

This is the strongest eleven we could put out.

Having chased down big scores, and defended small scores, this team is more than capable. Play the opposition, not the occasion and we'll be okay.

Come on boys, make us proud.

notoveryet said...

I'd expected to see Hants as the runaway favourites, but note that they are only 8/11, with us 11/10. I think it's a night for raising the blades on the mower, winning the toss, and putting them in. Their strength is in their spin bowling and batting last, and their weakness is in batting first and their seam bowling, so we need to maximise our advantages there. I was surprised to see they don't score particularly heavily, with a highest (losing) score of 190 in the competition so far. We have 8 batsmen striking at 130 plus, where they have only 3, so the game could be decided by whether Vince and Carberry score big, and Crane, Afridi and Dawson can strangle our batting.

As David says, we've adapted to win in different ways and conditions with contributions from all through the team, and I'm optimistic that this will get us through tonight. The big advantage Hampshire have of course is that they have regularly done this before as individuals and as a team, and so, as the saying goes, all we have to fear is fear itself.

Mark N said...

Do we want to chase do you think? Or defend?

Peakfan said...

Chase for me, mate...

Tim, Chesterfield said...

I'll probably cry if we win and don't mind admitting it.

Anonymous said...

Hope the team do themselves justice this evening and have no regrets. Having beaten some strong sides in getting here they should not fear the opposition.

Come on guys give of your best and do Derbyshire proud.

Stuart, York

Mark N said...

Well there are chases and there are chases. This one was never gonna happen. Such a poor bowling performance. However, a positive competition for us and something to build on hopefully we can get John Wright back next season to finish the job. Onwards and upwards.