Monday, 11 June 2018

Durham v Derbyshire day 3

Durham 96 and 376 (Harte 114, Olivier 5-105)

Derbyshire 205 and 69-4 (Slater 41 not out)

Derbyshire need 199 to win

In fifty-one summers as a supporter I have watched a number of Derbyshire bowlers whose line and length, on an occasional basis, left a lot to be desired.

David Wilde lived up to his name, while Peter Hacker could be erratic at times. Devon Malcolm had days when direction was somewhat elusive, Simon Base could lose his run and radar to disastrous effect, while Nantie Hayward wasn't known as 'Wayward' for nothing.

Yet not much compared to the shambles that was our bowling this morning.

I am quick to acknowledge good things on this blog, but for Derbyshire to concede 81 extras in one innings, as they did here, was a disgrace. Just as I praised him earlier for his hundred per cent effort, I have to be highly critical, especially, of Hardus Viljoen tonight.

Some of the balls that were recorded as byes couldn't have been reached had Daryn Smit had rubber arms and been stood on a trampoline. Alfie Gleadall bowled some erratic stuff, but has at least the strong excuse of youth on his side. At two runs an over his figures look a paragon of parsimony, but a lot of those extras were down to the big South African.

I thought both Viljoen and Duanne Olivier, to a lesser extent, got carried away by the bounce this morning, rather than pitching it up and letting the wicket do its stuff. It was poor and I was very disappointed that what looked a routine target when Steel fell in the second over of the day got bigger and bigger. Harte passed a maiden fifty and thereafter a century was as inevitable as night following day.

It was hugely embarrassing and disappointing that a position of complete dominance and a nigh certain win  was chucked away with bowling more worthy of a beer match. Such carelessness and profligacy will get exactly what it deserves tomorrow, because we will lose this match by a distance and deservedly so. It is a shame on Olivier, because a ten-wicket match haul would normally be a cause for celebration. Sadly, the champagne looks like being cheap fizz here.

Late in the day, when we were set 268 to win, Matt Salisbury, from Essex second eleven via 27 first-class wickets, pitched the ball up and removed our best two batsmen in the blink of an eye. The admirable Chris Rushworth took the out of form Alex Hughes and Matt Critchley in another two pitched up balls and an easy win was turning into a hammering.

Optimists will cling to the hope of another twist worthy of Agatha Christie in the game, but as a paid-up member of that club I struggle to see where 200 runs can come from in the batting we have left. The presence of Ben Slater offers some solace, but someone has to score a hundred, and get the level of support that the excellent Harte got today. Well done to him.

For me, this was worse than Trent Bridge by a country mile, all this after my drive home last night was filled with thoughts of a promotion challenge after a professional two days.

Almost half this Durham side were making debuts.

There's no word other than 'shocking' will suffice tonight.


  1. Wow! I witnessed the Notts debacle which was bad enough. Anybody who saw that and then this has my deepest sympathy. In the space of 5 days we have become a laughing stock of a cricket team.
    KB talked about the players taking responsibility and "ownership" of their and the teams performance. Well i sincerely hope they own the last 5 days. Shambolic.

  2. A very good summary

  3. We are a complete and utter shambles, a game that we looked absolutely nailed on to win, now looks like being an embarrassing defeat. This inevitable defeat will take some getting over and I fear we could go into free fall straight after. There's little quality in this starting eleven and nothing to replace it outside the first eleven. Just another season supporting Derbyshire I'm afraid.

  4. All I can say is shambles. I will be back another day with my thoughts on unstoppable players and Godlemans role as frankly I don’t think we are helping ourselves.

  5. A perfect summary Steve. I was there yesterday and today. Today made for uncomfortable viewing. I live in Northumberland and know a few Durham supporters. I met one by chance as we arrived this morning. He had little hope that they would be able to make a match of it. Just before tea, he found me (despite my best efforts😀). He was dismayed at our bowling - but delighted of course. I wonder whether we have 3 wicketkeepers so we can try to play more than one at the same time.

    I don’t like to criticise. It’s an easier game when you’re watching but those 2 sessions were embarrassing. Either don’t bowl Viljoen when he’s bowling like that or put your fine leg much finer so we’re not haemorrhaging extras. It just went from bad to worse. Durham fans were laughing as extras fought with Harte for top score as the ball regularly flew wide of Smit’s left hand. It was horrible to watch. I’m afraid “the management” didn’t come out of those sessions with any credit. It was pretty obvious that the plan wasn’t working but there didn’t appear to be a Plan B. We were bowling at their bowlers and yet they remained unruffled. We had 2 deep Square Legs and a deep fine leg for Rimmington at times! How about bowling a full length, straight if possible. Durham found some success with that!

    I’ve been watching Derbyshire off and on since 1966. Today was right up there with the worst I’ve had the doubtful privilege of watching.

  6. Totally agree with you Peakfan. I am in the same position as you of praising the team when they do well but the performance today with 22 no-balls and 81 extras in total (which I understand is the fourth highest in the history of the county championship!) is completely unacceptable for a First Class county bowling attack. When you consider the significance a win in this fixture would have had on the Div. 2 table it is even worse. Apart from a world class innings from Slater tomorrow (fingers crossed) this game is over. One of the bowlers owes us 80 runs with the bat too! Such a shame and a missed opportunity. We needed Qadri today (if fit surely he would have provided more balance to the attack?). I have posted earlier my thoughts that we could surprise a few people in the T20 this year but if we bowl like this again we can forget it. Just hope tomorrow I am reading a post from you about an amazing act of defiance to get the win! James

  7. Tim, Chesterfield11 June 2018 at 21:11

    Come back Chesney, all is forgotten.

  8. Will Kim Barnett apologise to the fans if we do end up losing comprehensively tomorrow. No, the silence will be deafening again.

  9. Don’t forget, Brodrick is still there.

    Big partnership with Slatts before lunch should see us set up for a good finish in the afternoon

  10. While anticipating a win by lunchtime or shortly after, I suspect I wasn't alone in worrying that Durham might somehow scrape to a lead of 120 or so and bowl us out. I'm sure, though, that no-one in their worst nightmares could have dreamed up what transpired. Let's be clear about it - the team Durham had out today is, with the exception of Latham and Rushworth, a second XI and we are not only failing to beat them, we are about to suffer a humiliating defeat. Actually, we are going to be humiliated by this performance even if we win.

    Everyone is focusing on this morning's terrible bowling, with good reason, but to be honest, this is a game that we have been losing our grip on since mid-afternoon on Saturday. With the opportunity of batting Durham out of the match, we ended up in a heap at 133-8 through reckless and feckless batting before Palladino and Gleadall restored a little respectability, bowled and fielded poorly on the second day to leave Durham still just about in the game, and this morning threw the door wide open to them.

    It wasn't just a failure of bowling, it was a failure of leadership. Even watching the live stream, it was obvious that Viljoen and Olivier were out of control after 5 or 6 overs, yet they were allowed to carry on bowling like that for another 45 minutes. They were even encouraged by the captain, posting three fielders on the hook for Olivier against Rimmington to encourage him to carry on bowling short. When Gleadall was finally allowed to join the fun, he followed his seniors' example, injured himself bowling ridiculously short balls, and even then was allowed to carry on bowling for another 4 balls. Forced into a change by his departure, Critchley took a wicket and was promptly taken off to give the new ball to Olivier and Viljoen to waste in exactly the same way as the old. This wasn't just about bad bowling. Patently bad decisions were being made, but more criminally, none of the much vaunted senior leadership group, whether captain, bowling coach or wicketkeeper seemed willing or able to advise, challenge or remove the bowlers.

    Peakfan spoke effusively yesterday about the great friendship and unity in the team, but it counts for absolutely nothing if individuals aren't able to challenge each other. The old (but nevertheless entirely accurate) cliché about team spirit being an illusion glimpsed in the aftermath of victory was never truer than today - there was precious little unity or shared purpose evident in the double tea-pots, folded arms, head tosses and ground kicks in the fielders that were visible in the live stream.

    Like a broken record, I go back to the theme I've been hammering away at for several weeks now. The bowlers let us down badly today, but it wouldn't have mattered so much if we had posted the 300 that should have been achievable in the first innings, and fundamentally, the middle order is not fit for purpose. It's pointless anyone saying that we've got nothing better, because the evidence is clear that nothing could be worse than what we're getting at the moment. Madsen needs to go back to 4 so at least he's further way from the new ball that he barely seems to be able to cope with any more (and before I get more dog's abuse for saying that his technique is shot, look at his dismissal in both innings of this match), Hughes and Smit dropped (unless the latter can prove that his career record doesn't belong to someone else by winning this match for us), Wilson left out until he regains some semblance of form, and Critchley back to 6 or 7 where his loose technique matters less. We've very few alternatives ready to hand apart from Hosein, but perhaps we can persuade Mclead to join early. Even more radically, I note that Chesney Hughes seems to be back in the fold playing for the 2nd XI. He didn't make a lot of runs, but we know what he's capable of, and for all the criticism he got, he consistently performed better than any of the undroppables who have populated our middle order this year.

    1. A lot of good points here notoveryet and cannot be argued.

      But we can't drop Wilson, Hughes and Smit as we only have Hosein and he isn't fit.

      And Ches? Hasnt done a thing for me to warrant coming back. We know what he COULD do but nothing to suggest that he would be the answer to our prayers in his recent track record.

      Maybe we import the Scotland top five for T20...

  11. Paul Fitzpatrick12 June 2018 at 07:01

    Witnessed all 3 days of this
    I cannot comprehend the events of yesterdays morning session
    The same issues repeating over and over again
    I think any other Captain worth their salt would have pulled Viljoen from the attack
    I don't support the current structure and I'm not sure Billy has the authority or distance from the Senior Player Group that a Leader requires
    His batting was frenetic and his current average is less than 15 in 4 day cricket
    I think it is too much for his shoulders ,I don't get the "Advisor Role" either because RIGHT NOW he needs some advice but you need to be at the Ground to do that !!

  12. I think as an advisor you are there if needed but not always on top of the leader group, Paul.

    Personally dislike micro management and like someone I can go to, rather than looking over my shoulder.

    I think Billy improves as a leader but yesterday was poor

  13. Calmed down a bit. Brodrick needs a run in the team now till end of the season. As does HH when he’s fit / well. Kettleborough may has well have a pop to be fair. Wilson Hughes and Smit need 2nd Xl cricket asap. Wilson can go end of the season for me from all forms. For the t20 I am even thinking we should have a different captain and allow him to keep as Smit is a waste we have signed Sharif and he bowled well at the death v England so we need to fit him in I think.

    New overseas?
    Wilson (w/k)
    Hughes ©️
    Wahab Riaz
    That would look good to me. Brodrick, Godleman, Qadri and Smit as back ups.

    Something like this for county championship
    Hosein (w/k)
    Olivier (or his replacement)

    Hughes as captain for t20 would be bold bearing in mind his form (foolish some might say) but he’s a good cricket brain. He would be coming in down the order and maybe bowl 2 overs or so. I don’t think Wilson can do keeper and captain and we need to think about next year when Wilson won’t be here.

    Going back to Godleman he has too much on his plate. His mind is fried I think. The whole batting at 5 was ludicrous but it was clearly down to having too much to do and needing time to recover. We need a coach. Possibly even a new captain. I would be on the lookout for a specialist middle order (number 5 or so) who can captain next season effectively replacing Wilson.

  14. No to Chesney Hughes. We were right to let him go imo.

  15. Mark, it is not up to Barnett to apologise. He recruits, he advises, but he isn't a hands on coach.

    Nor did he do the dreadful bowling, nor the less effective captaincy. So apologies will doubtless come from those who did that, because as someone put on Twitter yesterday, Viljoen, in particular, bowled us to likely defeat here

  16. How on earth have we managed to turn potential victory into almost certain defeat in just a few hours? Of all the disappointing and frustrating and, frankly, upsetting Derbyshire performances in recent times, the match at Chester-Le-Street stands out as a "hum-dinger"! The team should hang its head in shame. 81 extras is unprofessional by any standards. I know that we Derbyshire fans can rightly be accused of being too negative, but sometimes there is a lot to be negative about!

    As yet another "promising" season delivers even more pain, we are left hoping that the T20 will lift us out of the mire. At least we have signed a batsman at last, but if previous signings are anything to go by, I expect his talent and form to dissipate somewhere on the A1!

    Woe, woe and thrice woe!



  17. As poor a performance as this currently is it's not in the same league to the shambles I witnessed at Southend in 1997 when Derbyshire managed to loose by an innings to Essex in less than two days

  18. As poor a performance as this currently is it not in the same league as the shambles I witnessed at Southend in 1997 when Derbyshire managed to loose by an innings to Essex in less than two days

  19. Well said Rev Keith, he might have scored 140 against England, but you can bet your bottom dollar McLeod will flop spectacularly here at Derbyshire. It's the cheap option again, but we have to give the lad a chance.

  20. Captain Chessy12 June 2018 at 13:26

    Dreadful performance. I think we need to look at the loan market. Is Carberry available after his omission at Leicestershire. How about Lees or Leaning at Yorkshire as they have not featured much lately. How about giving Mckerr another go from Surrey.

  21. When I switched the radio on yesterday morning at 11am I naively assumed the match would be over by lunchtime, when I had to go out. However, what I hadn’t forseen was such amateurish bowling. I know we’re Derbyshire and we like to make things difficult for ourselves, but this was shambolic. If we’d have lost by 81 runs then we would have known where the blame lay, but frankly the brittle batting line up meant we would have been lucky to have lost by such a ‘small’ margin. Thank goodness for Ben Slater, again, and Tony Palladino and Duanne Olivier’s runs at the end which at least brought the loss to under 100 runs (not that it really makes much difference). Difficult to see where we go from this shambolic performance.

  22. All I've seen about Hosein being injured is your mention of it, and as he was in the squad, it presumably isn't major, so shouldn't be a barrier to selection next week. I don't think, though, that it's a tenable position to argue that we can't afford to drop people who are contributing nothing because we don't know if we've got anyone who can do better. Quite simply, no-one can do worse than Hughes and Smit in recent games, and there's at least the possibility that they might do better. But there's also the fact that if there is a culture which is about players taking responsibility, there has to be consequences when they are not delivering, otherwise you create a culture of complacency among those on the inside, and a sense of defeatism among those outside. Godleman described the batting against Notts as unacceptable, and Smit went even further with the bowling, describing it as shameful and disgraceful. You can't use language like that without there being consequences, but several players appear to be taking their places as of right, while others lower in the pecking order are in and out of the side, or never in it, without doing anything obviously wrong.

    I'm a big supporter of the changes that Kim Barnett has made. I've written elsewhere about a story told by Gus Fraser a couple of years ago, when he'd sent a memo around the Middlesex staff saying that no-one was allowed into the dressing room without an express invitation from the captain. When he was asked if it was directed at anyone in particular, he said "Yes, me!". Captains need support, advice and guidance for sure, but need to be able to lead without being micro-managed. The head coach / director of cricket role has been a disaster for us often enough not to want to go back to it, and we are still living with the consequences of the last experience. I don't think Barnett needs to apologise for anything, nor does Godleman, but I think they need to do some clear and cold-blooded thinking about where Derbyshire are, what needs to be done and how they propose to do it, and explain it.

    I'm pleased at one level to hear the acceptance of responsibility and honesty about the standard of cricket Derbyshire have been playing, but all it's actually doing is describing what we can all see in front of us. What I want to hear is a statement of what they are doing about it, and how they are going to change it before we go into a T20 competition that is now going to have to define our season. The idea of the culture they are trying to create is right, but it's perfectly clear that either the culture they have developed or the people leading it are not right. Durham showed that whatever their weaknesses in personnel, they have a team culture and a real team spirit that enabled them to overcome all of the disadvantages they had. Derbyshire had neither ad that's what needs to be addressed.


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