Friday, 15 September 2017
Sussex v Derbyshire day 4 - Viljoen enters county legend
Sussex 271 (Viljoen 7-80) and 344 (Viljoen 8-90)
Derbyshire won by 45 runs
It might have taken longer for us to see Hardus Viljoen in action than we would have wanted, but having got his body right, it has taken him far less time to write himself into the county record books.
Eight wickets in the second innings of this game, following seven in the first innings, made him the first Derbyshire bowler since 1952 to take fifteen wickets in a match. The last man to do it was Cliff Gladwin, who took sixteen at considerably less pace than Hardus at Amblecote, in Worcestershire, where the wickets often favoured bowlers and where Cliff would need no second bidding.
Viljoen took his on a wicket that was pretty good for batting, as evidenced by the match scores. Over on his excellent and informative Twitter account tonight, club historian and statistician David Griffin has some excellent statistics (and photographs) of the day's action and I acknowledge his assistance in recording that Viljoen is only the fifth Derbyshire bowler to take fifteen wickets in a match for us, as well as the first non-English player to take more than thirteen wickets. There are plenty of other facts to savour, that will doubtless and rightly appear on the club site before long.
It is testament to the commitment and fitness of the big fast bowler that he reeled off 25 overs and seemed to maintain pace to the very end. It is also worth mentioning the efforts of Fran Clarkson, the club physio, in getting him to that stage after an early season ravaged by a knee injury that could have easily seen him play no more cricket in 2017.
It showed also what might be possible another summer, if he has more help at the other end and can maintain this fitness. As I noted this morning, a young attack was going to struggle to bowl out a lengthy batting line-up on a good wicket and at one point looked like they were not going to do so. Viljoen's excellent habit of getting an early wicket continued, but then Wells and van Zyl batted well to add 136, before the fast bowler's return took two quick wickets.
Harry Podmore then found the edge of van Zyl's bat and the catch, a difficult one, was put down by Harvey Hosein as the batsman and Luke Wright added another century stand. It looked like being a costly error.
At 267-3 there appeared only one winner in the game, but Viljoen's return ripped out three quick wickets, his next spell another two. The clips on Twitter show hostile, classic fast bowling, short and threatening, quick and straight. The photograph of Luke Wright's dismissal, when well set on 80, shows a man beaten for pace, no mean feat.
Harry Podmore's return to the attack saw him take the last two wickets and the players will enjoy their return journey tonight. They deserve to, after a job well done.
Rightly so, because, despite Hardus' tour de force it was a team performance. Everyone battled with the bat and some excellent catches were held, notably by Hughes and Qadri. Mention too of sound captaincy by Wayne Madsen, who would have loved another experienced bowler to work with, but who handled his young attack well.
They must have learned a lot from their giant spearhead's herculean effort today and David Griffin's photograph of Qadri and Viljoen with their arms around each other's shoulders is one of my new favourites.
Chesterfield is next. Hardus will enjoy the traditional bounce there. I reckon our supporters will too.
Well done Derbyshire and well done Hardus Viljoen.
Even Ian Bishop and Michael Holding didn't manage this.
You've entered county legend now...