Monday, 23 April 2018

Derbyshire v Middlesex day 4

Derbyshire 265 and 333-3

Middlesex 157 and 340 (Harris 64 not, Helm 52, Roland-Jones 46, Olivier 4-82)

Derbyshire won by 101 runs

A home win. The first since 2014. In the first game of the summer too, so the weight is removed from our neck, the monkey from our back, the albatross consigned to history.

Full credit to Middlesex tonight, because the game looked as good as done at lunch, but Harris, Helm and Roland-Jones batted sensibly and with great skill and courage to take things into the final hour. Truth be told, I couldn't see where we were splitting that ninth wicket stand, as they had defied everything we threw at them. Helm made the first fifty of his county career and Harris barely looked troubled as the wicket got slower.

There was a very close shout for lbw, when Hardus Viljoen hit Harris on the pad with a full toss. When that was turned down I feared the worst, but Matt Critchley returned from an earlier, one-over mauling by Roland-Jones, in which he finished a flurry of boundaries by hitting straight to Ben Slater.

A good ball, what looked like his googly, was enough to see the umpire's finger raised and that exposed Tim Murtagh, one of the more rabbit-like tail enders in the county game. He handled Critchley OK, but once the quicks returned he wasn't going to stay for long and Duanne Olivier bowled him to seal a memorable win.

Critchley did well, two wickets showing his value to the side, while Wayne Madsen's crucial wicket just before lunch opened up what we thought was the tail. So much for that, eh?

Olivier finished with four wickets, to go with four in the first innings, while Hardus Viljoen ran in hard and didn't quite get his just reward in this game. I thought Ravi Rampaul's post-tea spell was excellent, troubled the batsmen and made them work, though we were a little wide with lines at times again today.

When Holden and Rayner were quickly removed this morning, an easy win looked on the cards, but Derbyshire had to work, the bowlers had to bend their backs and the fielders, as they did throughout the match, held most of what came their way.

It wasn't a bad wicket and credit to Neil Godrich and his team for producing one, after all the weather we have had, that took the game into the final hour of the fourth day.

We'd have liked it a little less worrying than that, but this was a superb advert for county championship cricket. Middlesex, with their fighting spirit to the very end, showed why they will challenge for promotion this year, irrespective of this result.

Derbyshire? We've shown a few non-believers what we are capable of.

Those pre-season predictions of tenth place might be even less clever now.

Well done guys. You stuck to it well and got your reward in the end.

Leicestershire next...


Dave Mortimer said...

Hi Steve. I started reading your peakfan blog in 2014 and was beginning to think I'd brought a curse over from our little peninsula. Great performance, deserved result. I've been a cricket fan for many years and experience leads me to believe this Derbyshire squad has nothing to fear in this division, a win against Leicester, confidence breeds confidence and an exciting summer awaits.

Knack said...

20 wickets and a double hundred opening partnership. If they all stay fit (big if) we are contenders.

jasper said...

Fantastic result. If the batting can function throughout the season and our bowlers can stay fit who knows what might happen... Well done boys!

Tim, Chesterfield said...

Excellent performance all round. Now, let's do someone un-Derbyshire like and follow it up with another win.

notoveryet said...

Worth noting that (discounting the Kent wash-out last year), we've now won three in a row, also for the first time since 2014 when we had a fantastic run at the end of the season that made us all so optimistic for 2015 before it began to turn sour. That's probably more important than the fact of a win at home, nice as it is to stop everyone going on about it. Winning is one thing, but starting to win consistently is when it starts to get exciting. I'm still inclined towards thinking glass half-empty, but what's there certainly tastes good.

Mark said...

Great win against a promotion favourite, well done Derbyshire. Not getting too carried away just yet, but that is a damn fine result.

Opening Bat said...

Good win and allround performance, nice to see the spinners get a fair few overs, may be a bit of practice for later in the season. A little concerned during the middle session when little seemed to be happening despite regular bowling changes, probably the cold wind made it feel as though things went a bit flat, but we should not be pickie and all came good in the end. How long is it since we have fought through those flat periods to force a win. Well done to everyone, hope it builds confidence for Friday.

Mark Neve said...

Amazing well done. Fantastic win. Critchley bowled well I thought was well impressed with him later on in the day. Olivier has class. Promising.

Chris said...

Got to be honest mate I wasn't worried, I said if we get below 10 overs left and havent got 9 down then i would be concerned. Maybe I'm a daftie but I didn't for one minute even at 8 down that we wouldn't win.
lot of people complaining about the bowlers not making the batsman play which happened a fair bit, then someone started about if we get injuries we could be in trouble, doom & gloom so went for a walk round the ground and Critchley got Helm lbw and it was as good as over. It wouldn't have been Derbyshire if we had won at 2pm :)

John Cross said...

Great news - what a wonderful endorsement for county cricket and the 4 day format. It also gives us the 'feel good factor' following the news of the Spireites demise.

Anonymous said...

What a tremendous start to the season.  I for one didn’t see that coming when this game got underway on Friday.  To beat Middlesex, County Champions only two years ago is some achievement.

An excellent performance with some notable individual contributions from many of the players.  Really pleased for Ben Slater in an important season for him, just a shame he didn’t get a ton but must be delighted with his runs in this game.  And equally good to see Luis Reece continue where he left off last season.  I was, however, a little perplexed that Billy has moved himself down the order.  I have always thought of him as an opening batsman.  Felt a little sorry for Matt Critchley finding himself at seven, especially after an excellent winter.  Also a little surprised that Gary Wilson got the nod ahead of our other two fine glove men.  Early days l suppose and Gary does offer a lot of experience and leadership qualities.  As for Wayne Madsen, he looks as though he will continue to make his accustomed contribution to the side in all departments of the game.

The seam attack looks a lot more formidable than recent years and the new signings have already shown that they are capable of making a significant impact in the four day game.  And this is before they all get their line and lengths spot on.  Duanne Olivier looks an astute signing.

As others have said, much depends on this seam attack remaining fit throughout the season and that most of the batsmen contribute as we don’t have too much cover.  Nevertheless a very encouraging start to the season.

Stuart, York

Mark said...

John, not forgetting the perrenial bottlers Derby County. Derbyshire needs a lift and the cricket side responded brilliantly.