Derbyshire 357-8 (Godleman 137, Slater 69, Madsen 58, Critchley 35 Trott 4-65)
Warwickshire 300 (Hain 108, Barker 48 not)
Derbyshire won by 57 runs
If the idea was to start their RLODC campaign as they mean to go on, Derbyshire did a fine job today in what was a pretty impressive team performance.
Last night I wrote that the batting hadn't yet functioned as a unit. They did today. I also wrote that the bowling had been too erratic for optimism, yet today the lines and discipline were there on a belting batting wicket. 657 runs in a day was a fine day's entertainment for all, especially those from the east side of the midlands.
Star turn with the bat was Billy Godleman. Restored to an opening berth, where I prefer to see him, he led from the front with a fine effort. As I have written before, you don't watch Billy for classical style, but he punches, nurdles and dabs, then broke loose after a disciplined century and was taking Jonathan Trott apart when he ran himself out. It was a captain's innings and anchored things quite beautifully for his side.
Earlier Ben Slater, who thrives in this competition, hit a typically breezy 69 before a loose drive, while Wayne Madsen was charm personified in a delightful 58. An effortless six over extra cover was matched by a swat from England hopeful Ollie Stone that sent the ball miles over mid wicket and had so much time in the playing. He perished on the reverse sweep, but it is a percentage shot and usually brings him so many runs.
Matt Critchley also looked a player with a lot of time and talent before he was foxed by Trott (foxtrot...) and stumped, then came the worst passage of our day. Hughes played two good shots then a needless one, Reece chipped to mid off and Viljoen was run out by half a pitch after a misunderstanding with the skipper. After Sharif's dismissal and a penultimate over when Hannon-Dalby bowled yorker after yorker and Olivier missed them all, Daryn Smit cut loose in the final over and took the score over 350 with reverse sweeps, conventional ones and a chip over mid on. Psychologically, those closing runs were important and again confirmed the keeper's contribution to the side.
It was a fine tally, but should have been over 375 and nearer 400 from the position we were in, a minor quibble perhaps. Surely an international attack could take us home from there?
When Duanne Olivier took two early wickets it looked a walk in the park, but the excellent Sam Hain and Ian Bell rebuilt before Matt Critchley had the former England man leg before. He bowled another fine spell today, but so too did Luis Reece and Alex Hughes. Just when Hain and Hose, at 173-3, had the home side starting to believe, they pegged them back then got them out. Smit's catch to dismiss Thomason, standing up off a thick edge, was apparently excellent and when the chances came, they were taken by everyone.
At the death, the final two wickets were taken by Safyaan Sharif, who impressed me. Before the home side's website and the feed went down for the remainder of the match, he made the batsmen play at every ball and ended with 2-31, narrowly beating Reece's 2-33 as the best figures of the day. He looks a find, and I hope he can build on an encouraging debut in which he also fielded well.
Played one won one. It is always nice to go to the home of a 'big county' and win. To do so with a degree of 'swagger' as we showed today was heartening.
There will be less enjoyable days ahead, but we'll deal with them as they happen.
Well done today, gentlemen.
That was very impressive.
Postscript: the second team also won today, beating a Lancashire side that included Hasib Hameed and Shiv Chanderpaul by seven wickets. The latter was dismissed by Alfie Gleadall, while there were wickets for Azarullah, Will Davis and Hamidullah Qadri.
The interesting name in the side was Zimbabwe quick bowler Blessing Muzarabani. Taller than Morne Morkel and rated a real talent by many critics in that country, he will be broadening his experience over here and isn't likely to be anywhere near senior cricket.
It's nice to see such players in a Derbyshire eleven though and it can only help a young squad in their future games.