Tuesday, 24 April 2018

The development of Captain Godleman

Thank you for all your comments after yesterday's fine win over Middlesex.

It is a continuing pleasure to swap thoughts with fellow supporters and it is always nice to meet up with regular contributors. If you see me wandering round a ground over the summer, do please come up and say hello, as it is nice to put a face to a name!

There were three things I wanted to touch on today, before the team is announced for the trip to Leicester on Friday. The first is the excellent wicket that Neil Godrich prepared for the first game of the summer.

The last few weeks have been a nightmare for groundsmen around the country and there have been plenty of pictures of floods and puddles. To prepare a wicket that lasted well until after tea on the fourth day is a great credit to Neil and his team. There was something for bowlers throughout, even if the final new ball of the match barely moved. There was decent bounce and batsmen could, if they got in, play their shots, which many managed to do.

Here's hoping such tracks continue throughout the summer, ideally with a little more turn if we can pick up a spinner from somewhere. The Pakistan leg spinner Yasir Shah was mentioned in a link the other day, and although he didn't set the world on fire for Kent last year, sometimes environments and circumstance work for players.

Look at Matt Henry. Last year there were few fans in the Derbyshire support following a disappointing stint in the T20, but he is on fire for Kent at present, the wickets and format better suited to his bowling. If we landed Shah, it would be quite a coup, but it may just be media conjecture.

Then there's Billy Godleman. He didn't have much chance to contribute with the bat, but his decision to drop to the middle order was typical of the man. It has given Luis Reece and Ben Slater a chance to bat in their preferred position, while giving us another experienced man in the middle order. He has made runs there before and it may just give him a better chance to switch on and off after being in the field.

Out in the middle the other day I was impressed with his captaincy. Bowlers were changed around, and switched ends. There were innovative field settings and regular chats with his senior players. Yet it was clear that he was in charge and in his demeanour he is growing well into the role.

There are those for who captaincy is foreign and it doesn't sit well with them. I think Joe Root one such player, but I look at Billy and see a man who has handled the expectation well and has become more than competent .

He is obviously respected by his team and it was good to read today how Duanne Olivier was always offering to bowl another spell. Such an overseas signing is gold dust to a captain, just as Michael Holding was to Kim Barnett. All bowlers want a crack when the wicket is in their favour, but Olivier was keen to bowl even when the batsmen were getting on top. Full marks to him for that and good luck to Billy for the remainder of the summer.

Finally today, I think we will hear soon about a new, perhaps short term signing in the seam department. Sadly, the weather has meant that neither Charlie Hartley nor Mohammad Azharullah have had a chance to impress for the second team, who have yet to get on to the pitch against Lancashire at Liverpool.

Either of them would be an asset for the upcoming RLODC, but the loan market may also be worthwhile. With Mark Footitt not getting a game for Nottinghamshire, and Conor Mckerr some way back in the queue at Surrey, there's two bowlers who might enhance our attack. The latter was in the wickets for their second team yesterday and after his fine loan spell with us last year would doubtless be welcomed back with open arms. I'd be pleased to see him return, as I see neither Tony Palladino or Will Davis playing in that competition and we need an extra option.

Until then, we have a nice clutch of bowlers who will look forward to a trip across the East Midlands later this week.

More on that in due course.


  1. Not a rant at all Peakfan, just stating facts to those getting carried away. Middsx lot 3 frontline bowlers in the 2nd innings, so context should be applied to the 2nd innings batting. To ignore that is to ignore facts. Likewise Middsx were missing at the very least half a team of first choices without the in game injuries. Again context to those saying we beat the County champions team, none of this has been mentioned in your otherwise good writeup. You wont post this as i can only assume the lack of critical analysis allowed on here is due to you not wanting to muddy your access to those at the club for your writing career, which is understandable. if you were transparent about that people would think a lot more of you - just like your opinion of Yasir SHah has magically changed now we are linked with him...odd that. It was a very encouraging win, but without its context its meaningless. We should roll over a weak leics easily.


  2. That's better Keith, so let me respond to you this time.
    My preview of the game said that they had a few guys missing. It will happen to us as the season progresses. At any time in any sport, a team can only beat what is in front of them and that was still the core of the team that won division one, two years ago.

    As for my access to the club muddying my comments, that is quite insulting. No one at the club has had anything to do with my writing career. I write what I feel and the club, chairman and chief executive are well aware of that. Indeed my access to the media centre was specifically NOT through the club so that I have no suggestion of 'toeing a party line'

    So no more of that nonsense, thank you.

    As for Yasir Shah, I think, if the story is true, that he is the best available now. Maybe, as I said, he could be better in a different environment but he is a world ranked spinner and in 4 day cricket more likely to get wickets than Santner was.

    Leicestershire? We will be lucky to get on Friday, and early season all teams are up for a scrap.

    That's why the win was so important. Because we were too.

  3. Interesting piece Peakfan, I think from what we have seen so far there has been a noticeable improvement in the on field captaincy of Billy already this year. From what I managed to see of the last day he was unafraid to try different options and plans - some of this is undoubtedly down to having more confidence in his bowlers this year to carry out his ideas and to our more experienced attack being able to formulate their own plans. I thought that on the whole we looked more professional as a team this year.
    In the programme interview Billy was talking about how he likes to develop players not only as cricketers but as people too. This is something that the best captains realise and the art of man management is a great asset to anyone who is attempting to bring the best out of people.
    Although, I remain unconvinced that Billy's best place is number 5, I would still prefer him to open alongside Ben with Luis at 3 as I think that Billy's technique and mind set is best suited to opening.

    The potential choice between Charlie Hartley and Mohammed Azharullah is interesting. If we were to engage either of these would you go for the experience of Azharullah, particularly with his good white ball record or what could prove to be a much longer term option in Hartley?

    Geoffrey Dean writing the match report in 'The Times' said that if we can keep our pace attack fit then we can be promotion candidates, from what we have seen so far this looks very possible.

  4. Fair enough Peak fan, its good you have clarified your book access. i maintain we need to factor in the context. no one has mentioned 3 injuries to there 3 seamers on the 2nd innings. had that not happened we would probably not have won.
    im simply urging caution where others are setting us up for a fall.


  5. I mentioned the absence in my day 3 report Keith...
    I don't think anyone is setting us up as world beaters from comments. But there's a time to celebrate success and not bitch about the standard of opposition.
    Wisden will record a Derbyshire win. I remember plenty of times it went the other way.
    And once at Scarborough Edwin Smith and Derek Morgan had to bowl all day as there was no one else...

  6. I disagree with Keith about the absence of the 3 Middlesex bowlers. I felt that we had the game won by the middle of the second day provided we didn't collapse in a heap in our second innings as we did a couple of years ago against Kent from a similar position of dominance. Only TR-J was missing at that stage, yet we had already taken a very strong first innings lead. We probably would not have won so comfortably (in terms of runs if not time). Neither is it right to say that Middlesex were missing half the team. Gubbins, Eskenazi and Finn were missing, but Malan is unlikely to play much if any CC cricket and Morgan I don't reckon as much of a loss miss given his very modest (and sparse) CC record in the last few years. The same team swatted Northants as ide like flies the previous week, so I think our win also has to be put into that context.

    At the very least, the game put our chances this year into a broader context. I said a couple of weeks ago that I thought we were as likely to get promotion as finish bottom, given the curate's egg nature of our batting and the reliance on keeping our bowlers fit. I'd be confident of finishing above Durham, Gloucs and Leics, who are all either weaker than last year or slightly stronger from a very low base, and optimistic about finishing higher than Kent and Glamorgan, although their early form has defied what I thought was going to be a struggle for both. Sussex flatter to deceive, with a formidable and deep pace attack that they seem to be incapable of getting on to the field, but batting that is at least as fragile as ours and seriously weakened by the absence of Nash and the effective lack of any spin. Northants looked strong but have had a nightmare of a start, while Warwickshire don't worry me greatly as I don't think they've recruited well or dealt with their large contingent of male, pale and stale underachievers. They depend so much on Patel and Barker and even then, it needs Bell to get out of his trough of mediocrity for them to have any chance.

    With the weaknesses and frailties of our rivals in mind as much as our own strengths, and having beaten Middlesex to expose theirs, I don' t think it is getting carried away to say that we have a real chance of competing for promotion this year. Yes, of course we know our own frailties that might derail our chances, but as I said a couple of days ago, we have won our last 3 matches (excluding the Chesterfield washout) and this is a group of players who must be starting to get used to winning, and doing what's needed to win. We know from 2012 what a sense of momentum can achieve, and I don't think the group who got promotion on the back of a great first half of the season looked any better on paper than this year's team.


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