Worcestershire 323-6 (Whiteley 58, Cox 56 not, Fell 56 Hughes 2-49)
Derbyshire 273 (Madsen 87, Reece 62, Hughes 47)
Worcestershire won by 50 runs.
I am writing this as Derbyshire's innings has sadly subsided from the promise of 208-4 to the unlikely depths of 237-8. Indeed, even at 236-5 we looked to have a shout, with Smit and Hughes together, but the long tail has come back to haunt us in this game, as has ill-discipline in the field.
Whatever his merits as a bowler, Olivier is residing in the Devon Malcolm class as a batsman and is only at ten because Rampaul is at eleven. First impressions of Sharif the batsman are not good, so despite the presence of Alex Hughes at the crease, there will be nothing from the other end and we will slide to defeat here.
Yet we cannot blame nine, ten, jack if the top order don't make enough. Wayne Madsen played another fine innings, but went on the reverse sweep for the second time in three days, Luis Reece batted equally well but perished on an ugly slog sweep. No one else really got going and converted promise to substance.
The bowlers were the issue today, though credit has to be given to the home team for a solid, professional effort which gathered pace like a runaway locomotive. Sadly, we had no Casey Jones to stop it. The best bowling, for the second time in three days, came from Alex Hughes and Luis Reece, who slowed things a little, but there were one or two things that puzzled me.
I'm assuming that Duanne Olivier picked up an injury, because after an opening spell of six overs for twelve runs he didn't bowl again. Both Ravi Rampaul and Hardus Viljoen were horribly expensive and Safyaan Sharif didn't get a bowl until the thirtieth over. He copped some stick and came back to earth after his promising debut, but Ross Whiteley has done that to more experienced bowlers than him over the years.
We also gave away 28 extras, while Worcestershire conceded three. Smit took two excellent catches standing up to the seamers, but any lapse in line will then be costly and there were eleven byes, as well as eight no balls and seven wides. On such profligacy are matches won and lost. We can ill afford it, for sure and the main culprits were experienced men, Rampaul (2 wides, 2 no balls) and Viljoen (4 wides, 1 no ball)
Credit should be given to another fine effort by Matt Critchley, who conceded only two boundaries in ten overs, but the senior men should be doing better than that.
As I finish, despite some late heroics from Alex Hughes, who made a battling 47, we have lost by fifty runs. It is not the end of the world, having won one and lost one from our opening games, but we need to tighten up with the ball before Derby this week.
Had a we conceded what Worcestershire did, we were chasing under 300 and that's a world of difference for a run chase. Less than a run a ball is mentally much easier and we were never quite on the required rate today.
Things to work on, for sure, as well as a tweak to the team. With our all-rounders bowling well, might Gary Wilson coming in for a bowler not be a better option?
As always, your thoughts are welcome. But let's remember, today's opponents were semi-finalists in this competition last year.
Enjoy your weekend.