Saturday, 21 April 2018

Derbyshire v Middlesex day 2

Derbyshire 265 and 118-0 (Slater 63 not Reece 47 not)

Middlesex 157 (Olivier 4-26)

Derbyshire lead by 226 runs

If you had offered this position to Derbyshire supporters at the start of the match, they may well have laughed. Even at the start of the day for that matter. To be 226 runs ahead of the county fancied by many to win this division this summer, with two days of good weather to come, is a very impressive effort.

Two days do not make a summer, of course and the key for us now will be to finish off a job that we have started extremely well, then continue with the high intensity level of cricket we have displayed for the rest of the summer.

Kim Barnett must be happy with the initial return on the investment in Ravi Rampaul and Duanne Olivier. Both showed their class over the opening two days, bowling with skill and purpose that was simply too much for the visiting line up.

Rampaul runs up to the crease looking nothing out of the ordinary, yet the final rock back sees a strong body and shoulder deliver a ball that is likely quicker than it appears to the casual bystander. I said pre-season that he may benefit from 'flying under the radar'  and I think he will do so in the months ahead, a steadying influence at one end, like Tony Palladino, steadily nipping it one way and the other, making the batsmen think.

Olivier, I think, we have got at the right time. A good spell here will put him to the front of the queue of would be South African bowlers and everything about him strikes me as a cricketer of purpose. His run accelerates, unlike Rampaul, into a final coil and whip which must make him awkward to face, with bounce and lateral movement a potent combo. In the flesh he looks quicker than on video and he is a key component of what looks a very strong seam attack. He shows the same purpose in the field and is a fine cricketer.

That attack apportioned the wickets out quite nicely today and Middlesex were never allowed to get going. The only criticism one could make was in some of the direction, which made Gary Wilson's life a difficult one and added too many unnecessary runs to the visiting tally for most tastes.

When we went in again, with a lead of 108, Ben Slater and Luis Reece did extremely well. Slater, as he did in the first innings and in pre-season, looked a player of real talent, playing shots all around the wicket. Reece led a more charmed life, with a couple of lbw calls and a rap on the hand before the rain stoppage, but they are phlegmatic characters who could become a fixture at the top of the county order for years to come.

As the clock passed six, the partnership a hundred and the lead 200, those supporters who remained could reflect on two impressive, professional days of cricket.

Proper cricket.

Let's keep it going gentlemen...


  1. What a great couple of days this has been, and fingers crossed the rain doesn't halt our progress to push for victory against a top side. Keep it going lads!.

  2. What a great Performance so far. The key today is bat them out of the match. I don't think we will give them any chance to get back into match if we bat well today.

    Looking at Division 2 most teams this season seem to be opting to give younger players a go. I personally think Leicester and Durham will fight it out at the bottom. Then think it could be any of the 8 teams. I think the biggest difference with Middlesex and Warwickshire is the squad size. Tony Palidino recently made a comment that Derbyshire would need Luck if they where to have a successful campaign regarding injuries. I don't think many batsman will be rubbing there hands to come down to 3A county ground this season.

    My only gripe this season is wicketkeeper issue. We are very blessed to have 3 good wicket keepers. I am trying to work the logic out of why we picked Wilson. He certainly has had game time and thats the only plus thing. If we ask questions has he batted well over the winter? will he be here next year? Ireland comittments? I hope Gary puts a fantastic innings in today and prove a lot supporters wrong. Last season he did start the season very well. I hope proves all the doubters wrong.

  3. On another note, is that fine International bowler, Matt Henry, any relation to the club player of the same name we had last year. They look remarkably similar.

  4. It looked last night as if only threatened heavy rain around midday today might stand in the way of a win here, but even that prospect seems to have reduced. Even a headlong Derbyshire collapse this morning would still leave Middlesex needing the highest score of the game to win, and on the basis of what we've seen so far, neither seem likely. two things in particular impressed me yesterday - the ruthlessness with which we sliced through the Middlesex tail, and the care that the Derbyshire openers applied in buiding a solid base for the second innings.

    I was puzzled though by the Middlesex approach after the rain break. On a pitch that 20 wickets had fallen on to pace in 4 sessions, it seemed a bit perverse to bowl almost exclusively spin in the final session, even though there were signs that the ball was gripping and turning at times. It might be that Middlesex were simply hoping to get through the overs as economically as possible with the hope that Roland-Jones and Murtagh would be fit and firing this morning, but it was a very flat and passive performance from a team that is supposed to be a runaway certainty for promotion.

    Anyway, looking forward to a calm and sedate progress towards a lead of 400-450 for a declaration around 3pm, and 5 Midddlesex wickets down by the close. But then again, we've been here often enough in the past couple of years when we've thrown away dominant positions not to get too carried away.


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