Derbyshire 301-4 (Madsen 80*, Godleman 61, Slater 55, Reece 48, Critchley 35*)
As first days go, especially when the visitors have invited you to bat on seeing the pitch, that was a pretty good one for Derbyshire. Make that very good.
Having somehow conjured a win from their last game against Leicestershire, when they were well behind for most of the match, they arrived at Derby with their tails up, bolstered by the return of England hopeful Mark Wood. Yet they used seven bowlers today and Wood, it has to be said, looked a bowler lacking rhythm and match practice. Their was little threat from him to the Derbyshire batsmen and he didn't look the bowler of a couple of years back.
The biggest threat came from James Weighell, fresh from his seven wickets in the last innings. He bowled full and straight, almost every ball needing played carefully. He was rewarded with two wickets, though Luis Reece played a loose shot after a disciplined innings for the first, being caught one-handed by Poynter behind the stumps at the second attempt. Reece was hampered by an early hand injury, but did a good job for his side.
Ben Slater again looked classy for his 55, but will have kicked himself all afternoon for thrashing a wide and short ball from Nathan Rimmington straight to the fielder at point. When Weighell produced an excellent yorker to remove Alex Hughes for a duck, 110-0 had become 126-3 in the blink of an eye.
Then came Billy Godleman, out of touch but commendably keeping the Slater/Reece partnership going. He was soon up and running with some punchy strokes and overtook Wayne Madsen as the pair added 114 for the fourth wicket.
He was eventually removed by Matt Dixon, who has joined them from Essex on a one-month loan, but not until the bowler had taken some punishment from both batsmen.
Which left Wayne Madsen and Matt Critchley to see us to the close, with an unbroken partnership of 61 runs. Critchley was restrained but played some fine strokes when the ball was there to be hit. He increasingly looks a cricketer of the highest class.
What struck me with both he and Madsen was how much time they both seem to have at the crease. It is the sign of a very good player, one in touch and whose eyes, hands and feet are in perfect synchronisation.
That was very much the case for the incomparable Madsen, who was progressing serenely to another century when bad light ended play early for the day. He is unbeaten on 80 and it is hard to recall a false stroke in that time.
I hope that Derbyshire supporters realise how lucky we are to have a man of that calibre. With most players you wonder IF they might get a few, whereas with Wayne, when you see his feet moving so well, so early, it is a case of how many he will get, with no 'if ' whatsoever.
The efforts of the Derbyshire batsmen have set us up well in this game, with batting points already in the bag. There's more to come, hopefully, but rain lies ahead for this match and it remains to be seen how badly it will interfere.
That was a top effort today, though.
Well done to all of them.