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.