Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Comments a-plenty after successive debacles

Given the nature of the people involved, I have no doubt that there has been plenty of discussion between Kim Barnett and Billy Godleman after the last two matches ended in defeats of embarrassing magnitude.

The defeat at Trent Bridge was understandable to some extent, because you are playing a high quality team with plenty at stake. They are desperate to hold on to the RLODC and came out fighting. We didn't, and with a couple of exceptions played poorly. As I have said before, if we don't have eleven men playing to their capability, we won't win many matches.

I thought the demons had been banished at Chester-le-Street, when after two days we were in a position of nigh total dominance. When, in the second over of the day, the home side were effectively 50-7, we should have wrapped it up. Bowlers of experience SHOULD have known what they had to do on that wicket. Why we didn't bowl Hughes or Madsen earlier, when others were  bowling rubbish is a moot point, but we now need the senior group of players to justify their roles and responsibilities.

None of them offered much at Durham, with the exception of Tony Palladino. Billy and Wayne both looked jumpy at the crease, Viljoen was dreadful in the second innings with the ball. Smit keeps wicket to a high standard, but has to start getting runs. Critics will point to the number of byes conceded, but we would have needed Wilson and Hosein alongside him with gloves to have stopped some of the stuff that was coming his way. The number of diving stops, either side of the wicket, that he had to do was ridiculous at this level of the game.

There has to be realism among supporters though, much as it hurts. We cannot bring in loan signings. because they will generally cost money we don't have. If a club wants a player to go on loan for experience, yet still cover their salary, which I believe happened last year with Conor McKerr, it is a different situation, but there is not the money in our coffers for much more playing expense.

I'm thinking ahead, but as things stand I think next summer would be the last for Gary Wilson and Hardus Viljoen, two senior players, both well-rewarded. The former because at the end of his current contract he becomes an overseas player, the latter because I am not convinced that we get value for money. He is a decent cricketer, but I would expect a seasoned professional to take us home in those situations. If struggling for line and length, a bowler might cut down his pace, or say to the skipper that he had a problem.

It left Duanne Olivier with a large workload and he was, and has been, magnificent. Someone said to me, tongue in cheek, that we could maybe swap Kolpaks, but Duanne has been a model professional. he has played every game, generally taken wickets, largely bowled well and been an asset to the team. All that while on an extended honeymoon...

With a small and generally young squad such as ours, there is an expectation and need for the senior men to set the standard and example.  Yet only Ben Slater, Tony Palladino and Duanne Olivier came away from that game with genuine credit. The squad as a collective needs to talk it through, dust themselves down, grit their teeth and go again next week.

Yesterday came news that Tim Bresnan was 'considering his options' at Yorkshire for next season, having not got the contract offer he was hoping for. I would have him in like a shot, a genuine all-rounder, at 33 with a few years in him and with the nous to do the right thing. I'd give him the vice-captaincy too and be confident he would do a fine job. He is the sort of senior professional you want and would be worth breaking open piggy banks to sign.

Finally, for now, we badly missed Ravi Rampaul in the last match and his greater accuracy would have been a huge asset. He should come back at Swansea and I hope to see far greater discipline next week.

Pride and professionalism gentlemen.

It is all we, as supporters, ask for.


  1. The termination of some contracts, with agreed compensation somewhere between nothing and the full amount ( for they will, quite probably, gain other such deals) wold allow DCCC a little flexibility, and not least start to give this squad a better structure.

    I admired Kim's openness at member's meetings. I would have thought too that Kim might have heard by now the drum beat on this, and other sites saying much the same about imbalance.

    I'm sure Mr Tunnicliffe, as that bridge between content and discontent, will have sounded out?

  2. Captain Chessy13 June 2018 at 12:50

    Congrats on the award Peakfan. Well merited. The rosette looks well. I agree with your comments about Bresnan. He is experienced, a battler and would offer plenty with bat and ball. No way would we have lost against Durham if he had been bowling. I would push out the bank boat to sign him. Any chance on loan this season? I note your point about the funds for loan signings but why did we sign a half-fit Footitt on loan for a month recently and he did barely nothing against Warwickshire?

    I would not resign Chesney. There must be some reason why no other county has snapped him up. He was on trial at Northants last year.
    Talking of Northants I see that Big Ben made his debut last week and took a couple of wickets. I also see that one of their ex-players, Azarullah has being turning out for our seconds lately. Possible candidate for our 20 over team?

    I would bring Will Davis in for Viljoen for the next game as Viljoen is too wayward with the bowling and hit or miss with the bat. I understand his first class batting average is only about 14 which does prove a point. I see that Davis played for the seconds the other day in the 2 twenty over victories over Notts, which were a welcome relief after Durham.

    I also note how well Henry is doing at Kent and that Podmore is not doing bad there either. They could have been in our side this year. Both players also offer a little with the bat.

    I was amazed to look at the championship table and to see that we have 12 batting points, the second most in our division and only one point behind Warwickshire who have 13. Northants have only 3. There are only 3 teams in division one with more batting points and one of them has played a game more.

    I would definitely leave Hughes, Smit and Viljoen out of the game at Swansea next week after the Durham debacle.

  3. Who is our current vice captain out of interest? It was Wilson last season is it still the same?
    I was hoping we would see the end of Wilson this summer to be fair. I didn’t realise he had another year on his contract. We are going to lose HH soon I fear.

  4. Really hoping they announce 2nd overseas for blast this week. Cheer us all up a bit going into next week. I am half hoping we keep Olivier for the rest of the season (no idea if it’s possible) but he’s the only bowler who looks on top of his game at the moment.

  5. Viljoen averages under 30 in the championship and took 3 for 30 in the first innings. He had a shocking spell in the second innings but we know he's that type of bowler but good management/captaincy takes him off early when its obvious his radar goes awry so you cant just blame the bowler. He's just as capable to have a spell like at Hove last year as the second innings at Durham.
    The main concern to me is the batting where the Reece injury has shown up a large hole in the team. Clearly Hughes is no number 4 and Critchley is too high at 5 especially when both are out of form. Add to that Smit not doing anything with the bat it gives the feel of a collapse waiting to happen. Godleman hasn't scored a run in the championship so that doesn't leave a lot left other than getting Tony Palladino opening!
    Cant see what else can be done in the short term other than persevere and maybe give Hosein a go either batsmen alone or with the gloves as there is not much else available in the squad

  6. I tend to agree with Gary that many of the middle order are currently batting too high (especially with Reece out injured),but wonder if they will persevere and hope that one or both of Hughes and critchley will battle through this period. A couple of years ago,slater had many doubters as to whether he could make the breakthrough to be able to be a professional cricketer. This season,despite the number of times he has got out when seemingly well set,i think he has answered his doubters most emphatically. If we persevere with AH,MC,Broderick and HH (if and when he is fit),then i think i would prefer that than to make moves in the loan market,as we just may have the answer within our own ranks. It might mean more pain in the short term,but i could stomach that if we end the season with the possibility of another junior taking the next step.

    As for the bowling in the second innings at durham,there were enough senior players in attendance on the field to have collectively come to the conclusion to withdraw Viljoen and try something else,so am reluctant to lay all the blame on the bowler or captain.

  7. I noted a few things from the one day quarter finals. Matt Fisher scored 21 off 10 balls at the end of Yorkshire's innings against Essex. It wasn't as violent as his 23 off 7 against us, but it showed a much better player than many thought and that our bowlers weren’t wholly to blame. Yorkshire won much more comfortably than against us, and had our result gone the other way, they wouldn't have qualified from the group at all.

    In the other game, Notts were 93-5 after 24.4 overs, compared to our 87-5 after 25.3 last week. Notts rallied to reach 255 and we folded to 110, but they suffered almost as crushing a defeat as they inflicted on us. Their supporters think they had a bad day – we think we had a catastrophe.

    My point being, let's keep things in perspective. We've had a very poor couple of weeks with 3 defeats in one day games that we thought we’d win, and a championship defeat where we threw away a winning position in two mad sessions. There are recurrent problems that could derail our season if they aren't addressed, but it's less than 2 weeks since we celebrated a consummate professional display against Northants.

    Margins are fine in cricket, and recently we’ve been on the wrong side of too many to be complacent. I don't resile from my criticisms and I'll be disappointed if some issues aren’t dealt with. But much of what's being written here and elsewhere is bordering on the hysterical, and some smacks of axes being ground and agendas served.

    Let’s also be realistic about solutions. We could have signed Henry instead of Olivier and Podmore instead of Rampaul. I don’t think we would have been happy with this last September, but they've done well in the very particular circumstances of very low scoring matches on poor pitches in which Kent didn’t reach 200 in their first 3 matches. If they'd been bowling on the pitches we've been playing on, they wouldn't have done so well.

    Terminating contracts by mutual consent is an expensive and risky business. If money is short this year, it's probably as much to do with compensation payments to the players who left as it is to the high costs of ageing imports. We also have to fill the gaps, and it's no good just saying get some loan players in, unless you have an idea who they might be.

    I also think it's too early to start discussing comings and goings. Wilson can't stay after next year unless he loses his Ireland place, and Viljoen, whatever he costs, still has the capacity to be worth every penny if he can develop some consistency and be handled more firmly than has sometimes been the case. The reality is that (barring mutual consent) only Davis, Slater and Palladino of the senior players are out of contract this year, and I don't think any of us would want to see them going.

    So we're not going to be able to afford Bresnan. I'm not sure he's likely to leave Yorkshire anyway, and there will be lots of competition from others who can afford to take a risk on a player who, for all his achievements, is ageing and injury-prone. We've rarely done well out of players we've recruited over 30 - we're still waiting for Wilson, Smit and Rampaul to deliver what we expected, and over the last 10 years only Steffan Jones could be counted as a success. If there's money for strengthening, our best value has come from under-achieving, out-of-favour or unrecognised players in their mid-20's such as Godleman, Reece, Palladino, Madsen, Durston, Footitt, Wainwright etc.

    We need to concentrate on how we get better (or perhaps better more consistently) from what we've got at our disposal rather than trying to rewrite history, or write a fantasy future. There is real improvement, even if it's not in a predictable straight line, but let's also have acceptance from the club that criticism and disappointment is legitimate and justified, not just the malicious muttering of a few malcontents.

  8. As always notoveryet some valid and well-presented points.

    I'm assuming in the inference of 'agendas being served' you don't mean me, as I have none, other than watching and supporting a consistent Derbyshire eleven whose good days outnumbered the bad, or at least were on par, which is pretty much what it is this season.

    When we win, there are a handful of congratulatory comments. When we lose, an avalanche of criticism. It has always been so and not just the preserve of this site - see forums of other counties for comparative data..

    I agree that Viljoen needs better handled and a stronger captain would have pulled him from the attack, or told him to drop his pace and pitch it up, at Durham. Notwithstanding a few decent knocks and some excellent yorkers, his wickets/average haul was worse than Alex Hughes in the RLODC and is on a par with Tony Palladino in the four-day.

    Neither of them are on his reported salary and, when the time comes to renegotiate, I guess his agent unlikely to say they would drop it by 20K because of that. More likely the demands price us out of the market.

    Bresnan? You are right that others will have more financial clout, but family ties, not wishing to uproot them and offers of more responsibility can be bargaining tools. But I take your point that we do better with 'up and coming' than experienced pros.

    Finally, as for doing better with what we have, I wondered if the appointment of Grant Bradburn could have an element of succession planning.

    He has a track record of doing very well on modest resources, while the partnership with Cricket Scotland will perhaps allow us to tap better into potential jewels north of the border.

    I can't see John Wright return for a third year, regardless of what happens this time, so there may be more to this appointment than another bloke to do throw downs and fielding drills.

    He is highly thought of in Scotland, that's for sure.

  9. Whilst being as disappointed as most by the result at Durham, which when put into the snatching defeat from jaws of victory category, affords one of the best examples I can recall in 62 years of following the county, I too feel things need to be put into perspective. The success of Slater and Godleman in the a Royal London have left the remaining batsmen with little batting other than a frenetic 15 or 20 ball innings over the past few weeks. Those wishing to write off Wayne Madsen should look at his figures which shows he still has 400 runs at average of 44 in the four day game. Olivier has 26 wickets a very similar return to Jeevan Mendis last year in unfavourable conditions.
    I was also surprised to see Viljeon's economy rate is under three per over, this of course doesn't take into account byes, but does include wides and no balls. A more worrying trend for me is our inability to dismiss numbers 8-11. This seem to start in the 2013 season in the first division and has haunted us ever since. Countless players have come in with low career averages and recorded career bests, after we have taken the first five or six wickets relatively cheaply, I have never done a mathematical check but I suspect over the past six seasons the second five wickets have been more than the first five against us no matter who we have had in our bowling line up.

  10. Axes being ground! Hysterical comments! Agendas!

    Put another way, could it not be that stances taken and opinions held are being proved to be so, and nothing more ?

  11. My first post. 'Fraid that I'm not a true Derbyshire supporter like the rest of you but in my second year with a season ticket and I do travel over from near Stockport so some loyalty is developing.
    I'm with notoveryet - need for perspective here. I went to a couple of games last week; Lancashire collapsed on Monday (with their resources) and I saw the Nottinghamshire/Kent game where the gulf in the teams was margin of victory was a big surprise. I've given up predicting cricket outcomes - and whilst the last two defeats have been hugely disappointing, with such a small squad there isn't really the flexibility to make widespread changes. I'd leave the bowling as it is but consider Quadri/Davis. Batting is the real problem and we're not helping players like Hughes and Critchley by messing around their places in the order. Badly need a no 3 - what about Brown from Lancashire?
    Finally - like your blog Peakfan - really excellent.

  12. The axes being ground and agendas being served comment refers to the feeling that some of the people commenting here and elsewhere aeem to have been waiting for the opportunity to demand the heads of Barnett and Godleman, and some others don't like the leadership model and again have been waiting for the opportunity to jump on it. Interesting to note an interview with David Willey, where he talked about Stephen Fleming, the head coach of his IPL franchise, saying that "he treated us like adults - we were given full responsibility for our game and preparation, so ultimately if we don't perform on the field, it falls on our own heads". I think it's the way of the future, and while I'm not sure it's necessarily working so well here yet, that's part of the learning curve.

    On Viljoen, I questioned at the time about the cost, suggested by Kent's coach to be £150k and rumoured to be the same amount that had taken Footitt to Surrey. If we're paying anywhere near that amount, it needs stellar performances, and we certainly haven't seen that yet. At the same time, anyone who watched his bowling against Sussex last year has seen exactly what he can do, and it'll be money well spent if he can do that two or three times a year and win games, and is more consistent the rest of the time. Whatever averages say, it's the ability to win matches that defines value to my mind

  13. Good comments gentlemen - I don't think we would pay Hardus quite that much, because we haven't the money and it would cause major issues with other senior players and overseas on less.

    But he is paid a lot by our standards, which demands consistency and, as you say, match-winning efforts, with bat and ball. I don't think Will Davis is bowling well enough to force a way in, and would not score close to the runs Hardus 'might' score.

    I remain in favour of this model, because the players are accountable and need to work and mutually support. It takes time, of course.

    I don't see Harvey leaving, because there's not a worse keeper on the county circuit, nor one who looks set to retire to create a vacancy. He needs one of those in his favour, and to be the best second team keeper on the circuit. Is he?

    And Lion...thank you for getting involved and your kind comment.

    Think that answers all comments and gives my thoughts on them for now!

  14. More rumours today about Slater possibly being lured to Trent Bridge. I am not surprised, and wouldn't blame him if he went, but it would surely snuff out the last smidgeon of hope we might have of success this year. No doubt, if he goes, he will be replaced by another seam bowler, of which the club seems to think you can never have too many!



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