Durham 480-9 declared (Collingwood 177, Viljoen 5-130)
Derbyshire trail by 316 runs
There's something about Henry Longfellow's poem 'There Was a Little Girl' that reminds me of Derbyshire.
It contains the lines 'when she was good, she was very, very good and when she was bad, she was horrid'. There, in two lines, you have our cricket team neatly encapsulated. It is hard to understand that a team that can play with the intensity of some of our best T20 displays this summer can then produce an effort like this, one of worrying ineptitude.
Alex Hughes said last night that we had bowled badly and that it wasn't a '480' wicket. That is probably fair comment for the ground, but nor, I suspect, is it quite the minefield that our batting made it look yesterday. Let's not forget that we chose to bowl first.
Hughes and Ben Slater excepted, the rest made a pretty poor fist of things, granted against a decent seam attack on their own turf. It was a day that made it hard to think otherwise than we are hopeless at four-day cricket. Finding positives from the first two days would challenge anyone, with the only redeeming features the perennial grit of Hughes and the pace of Viljoen. Yet even the latter was dreadfully expensive and the feeling of the average supporter must be that of an end of season game, some distance before the year's final delivery.
There is a very real danger that we will pick up the wooden spoon this summer with such displays, awful when one considers two sides in the division started with negative points.
I don't fault the rationale behind the players running the show on the field, but in doing so they are wholly responsible for poor performance, such as this. There is no coach to blame, only themselves and there is a need for greater resolve and commitment being shown. Much as they deserve credit when it goes well, they have to handle the criticism when it doesn't.
There is a talented group of players at the club, but this match has been dreadful.