Derbyshire 211-9 (Godleman 64, Wilson 49, Aaron 4-31)
Leicestershire 206-7 (Critchley 3-35, Reece 3-37)
Derbyshire won by five runs
Check your league table tonight, my friends and then check it again.
Because Derbyshire sit proudly atop their group after a third win in four games saw off a gallant late effort from our local rivals, Leicestershire. Tom Wells, after a period of playing himself in, started to tee off against Hardus Viljoen and Ravi Rampaul. Forty off two overs was quickly getting eroded and Rampaul was twice hit for six in a final over that included a no ball.
When it came down to six from the last ball, there were a few nails being chewed, but Rampaul held his nerve and, as Wells stepped outside off to try and swing him, cleverly followed the batsman. Wells clearly thought it a wide, but since he himself was almost on the wide line, all bets were off.
So we made a meal of it, just like the Durham game, but crucially came out on top again. We have all seen many times over the years when that hasn't happened, so it is nice to be winning these close finishes.
There's quite a brains trust going on out in the field: Godleman, Wilson, Smit and Madsen were in regular conversations and that experience has been proving vital. All have played key roles too. Godleman once again anchoring the innings beautifully with shots conventional and created, Wilson helping to rebuild the innings once more when it was floundering, Madsen bowling some key tight overs and Smit...well...
So far his innings have been 26*, 22, 1* and 30. All made at the death, all made quickly, flying somewhat in the face of those critics who say he has no shots. Sometimes, in the team's cause, he chooses not to, but the sixteen he took from the penultimate over today were crucial. I tweeted accordingly at the end of the innings and so it transpired. There was an impeccable display behind the stumps too, the pinnacle a catch of brilliance when the dangerous Ackermann thrashed at Critchley. The edge was sharp, the reactions sharper and the secureness of his handling is quite extraordinary.
Impressive once again were Matt Critchley and Luis Reece. Each took three wickets and they are crucial to our game plan, taking the pace off the ball and keeping the batsmen guessing in the middle overs. I don't recall seeing many players who so obviously enjoy their cricket as Reece, a smile rarely far from his face, which is so nice to see. Yet the team are enjoying themselves and they have reason to do so.
Not flawless, but that happens rarely in any sport. Professional though and that is so good to see. There is a togetherness about this squad that will see them through the awkward times in a match.
To quote the old song, there may be troubles ahead, but we faced the music today - and danced to the top of the table.