Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Slater and Smit make hay for the seconds

Derbyshire Seconds 419-4 (Slater 221 not, Smit 101 not Hosein 45)

v Nottinghamshire Seconds

It may have taken Derbyshire a few attempts to get out on to the pitch for a day's cricket, but when they finally got on today, against Nottinghamshire's second team, our lads did pretty well indeed.

After the early loss of skipper James Kettleborough brought Harvey Hosein to the crease. Ben Slater was very severe on Mark Footitt, whose first six overs went for 41 runs and the pair added 119 for the second wicket before Hosein fell for 45 to the accurate Milnes, who finished with 2-29.

Alex Hughes and Matt Critchley got starts but didn't go on, but the latter's departure brought in Daryn Smit, who shared an unbroken stand of 198 with Slater, reaching his century just before the close, with ten fours from 152 balls.

As for Slater, he has started the summer in golden form and ended the day on an unbeaten 221, with 5 sixes and 26 fours.

Of course, both will face more stringent tests as the summer goes on, but you can only play what is in front of you.

For me, Smit cemented a place in the starting eleven on Friday (not that it should have been in doubt) and took his second team average to a little under 400,  while Slater confirmed what I said he needed to do in the winter.

He batted beautifully, and long. All day in fact and if he can translate undoubted talent into weight of runs this summer, Derbyshire will have another very good player on their hands. I was thrilled to see him reach his hundred, chuffed to see him go on to 150 and astonished when he sailed past 200.

Quite an effort, Mr Slater.

Finally, it was also nice to see the make up of the second team attack today.

Hamidullah Qadri, Sam Connors, Alfie Gleadall, James Taylor and Nils Priestly - all of them comfortably teenagers, together with trialist from Kent, Charlie Hartley.

That's what you need. Talented young players getting stretched and tested at an early age, not killing time awaiting an opportunity in the academy.

There will be days they get hammered, but they will learn from them, perhaps even more than the ones where the wickets fall for them.

Good portents, my friends.

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