West Indies 427-3 and 60-1
Derbyshire 181 (Brodrick 52, Slater 39)
West Indies lead by 306
It was a better day for Derbyshire off the field than on it yesterday.
Yorkshire's defeat at the hands of Leicestershire in the T20 Blast left them in grave danger of elimination, while keeping our opponents in the final game of this week in the mix. Crucially, at this stage we are firmly in control of our destiny and our next two matches are against the bottom two sides of the division. Two wins from three should see us through, so the portents are good.
Of course we could lose them. Neither Worcestershire or Durham are bad sides and Leicestershire are better than they looked at Derby. They have to be, to beat a side like Yorkshire, but the undeniable fact is that if we don't make the knock-out stage this year, we have no one to blame but ourselves. Having beaten two of the three sides above us (we have a game in hand), no one can say that we aren't good enough. It will come down to attitude and holding our nerve.
That said, on the evidence of yesterday, should we have any injuries there aren't many people banging on the door for a place. It is harsh, but true, to say that all the runs in second team cricket count for nothing if the form isn't translated into the occasional first team opportunity. Luck plays a big role in anyone's career, and not just in sport, but the key to success is in grasping opportunity when it is offered.
Our batting may have misfired at times this summer, probably too many times for comfort, but on this evidence there is no one better waiting in the wings. It is hard to be overly critical of a side that, if one takes out Tony Palladino, has an average age of 21, but opportunities for most appear to be some way down the line.
Only Ben Slater and Callum Brodrick scored any runs yesterday. Ben will be disappointed to have got in and then out when he'd done the hard work. I am a big fan of the lad, but after a fine start in the RLODC, his season has been too inconsistent for comfort. He's never had the security of a role in the side guaranteed, but that is the way with professional sport and the pressure to maintain performance levels is acute.
That's why the recent move of Dominic Sibley from Surrey to Warwickshire astonished me. Apparently the latter 'guaranteed' him a role in the top three, which you simply cannot do in professional sport. His form since his move barely suggests him worthy of such an assurance and it is one that is likely to end in tears, because form is always a transient thing.
Maybe the escape clause is 'we never specified in which team'...
Back to Derbyshire and the man who came out of yesterday with claims enhanced was 19-year old Callum Brodrick. We have seen this slight young man in the T20 and his fleet-footed ability in the field stood out. Yesterday he showed that my glimpse of his talent at Belper a few weeks back was a true reflection, as he scored a maiden half century on first-class debut. In doing so, he made the highest score by a Derbyshire player on debut against the West Indies.
Callum has been through a lot in his young life and has come through the devastating effects of Crohn's disease. In April last year he was in a critical care ward in Derby Royal Infirmary after major surgery, so to get back to this standard, so quickly, is a massive tribute to a young man of unquestionable talent and commitment.
Like Darren Fletcher, he had a long haul to fitness, but has got there. On the evidence of yesterday, he is the likely first man in line should there be a batting vacancy and he can be proud of his efforts, as I am sure his family were.
Let's hope that a few others at least jostle for that position today.
PS Worthy of mentioning a debut wicket for sixteen-year old James Taylor, younger brother of Tom. It has been quite a summer for players of that age and while he has a long way to go, James will have slept well last night having got his wicket tally underway.