Derbyshire v Leicestershire at Derby on 23 to 25 September: LV= County Championship: Division Two
By John Brown
Derbyshire started their last championship match of the season with some confidence since they had won four of their previous five matches.
Leicestershire won the toss and chose to bowl first on a pitch that looked green. After twenty overs, Derbyshire had lost three wickets, the last of them in one of the most bizarre ways possible in the game of cricket.
Cheteshwar Pujara, playing his first match at home for Derbyshire, felt that the ball, following a defensive stroke, was bouncing towards the stumps, and he instinctively knocked the ball away with his hand.
There was a unanimous appeal from the Leicestershire fielders and the umpires, after consultation, gave Pujara out Handled the Ball. This was only the fifty-ninth occasion in the history of the first-class game that a batsman had been dismissed in such a manner: strangely enough the last previous such incident in England had also been at the County ground when Karl Krikken had knocked the ball away with his hand in a match against the touring Indians in 1996.
Ben Slater had stood firm and, together with Wes Durston, added 124 for the fourth wicket. At this point Durston (50 from 59 balls with nine fours) swept a ball to be caught on the long-leg boundary, and the next wicket fell almost immediately. 186 for five developed to 289 all out, thanks mainly to Slater’ determination and watchfulness in reaching his maiden first-class hundred from 195 balls with fifteen boundaries: he was well supported by some strong strokes by Tony Palladino and Ben Cotton. Play had been interrupted for bad light for seventy-five minutes with the score on 278 for eight, but there was still time for Derbyshire to bowl eight overs before the close.
Surrey v Derbyshire at the Kia Oval on 15 to 17 September: LV= County Championship: Division Two
By John Brown
When Wayne Madsen won the toss on an overcast morning, he had no hesitation in asking Surrey to bat first. The sun burnt the clouds away within fifteen minutes of that decision and, when the home team’s openers took their partnership to 47 in the eighteenth over, there were some thoughts that Madsen may have got things wrong.
His seam bowlers, however, did not let him down: Wayne White, playing his third match on loan from Lancashire, dismissed both openers to catches by the debutant wicket-keeper, 18-year old Harvey Hosein. Surrey went into lunch with their score on 68 for two after twenty-eight overs.
After the interval Mark Footitt started one of his most destructive spells of the season: he took a wicket with the last ball of the first over of the afternoon session and then took another five wickets from his next thirty-two balls. It was daunting stuff and seemed to have set Derbyshire well on the way to success.
The ninth wicket fell at 130 to White, but there followed one of those frustrating last-wicket stands which added 51 in eleven overs. Surrey’s captain, Wilson, took control and managed to score all but one of those runs as he outwitted Derbyshire’s attempts to keep him away from the strike. Wilson was last out when he edged Ben Cotton, another debutant, to the wicket-keeper. Even so Derbyshire had every reason to feel pleased with their efforts in dismissing Surrey for an all-out total of 181. Footitt had taken six wickets and Hosein had held seven catches, equalling the best by a Derbyshire wicket-keeper (Bob Taylor – twice).
Glamorgan v Derbyshire at the SWALEC Stadium, Cardiff, on 9 to 11 September: LV= County Championship: Division Two
By John Brown
After winning their previous three championship matches, Derbyshire travelled to Wales in optimistic mood.
It was a disappointment, therefore, when Glamorgan won the toss and chose to bat on a pitch which looked good for batting. The home team were made to work hard for their runs with Tony Palladino being especially economical (34 runs from 21 overs).
Glamorgan were reduced to 158 for six, but Graham Wagg played aggressively in a stand of 91 for the seventh wicket with the in-form Cooke. Even so Derbyshire felt that they had done well to dismiss the hosts for 282.
Derbyshire were left with three overs batting at the end of the first day and Ben Slater and Billy Godleman survived these without any alarms. Next morning did not go according to plan (or expectations) as Glamorgan’s seam bowlers made life difficult for Derbyshire’s top order. Slater was surprised by a Wagg bouncer to be caught off the top edge in the gully, and the next six wickets to fall were all leg before wicket.
Gareth Cross came in with the score at 78 for five in twenty-six overs and he decided to play more shots than those who had gone before: he hit three fours and a six in his thirty-two ball stay before he became the sixth of those lbw victims. Wayne White started his innings at 131 for seven, and the first ball he faced was the start of a new spell by off-spinner Kieran Bull. By the end of that over the score had advanced by eighteen runs and White had hit sixteen of them.
Derbyshire v Worcestershire at The 3aaa County Ground on 31st August to 3rd September: LV= County Championship: Division Two
by John Brown
Derbyshire were pleased to return to four-day cricket after a break of forty days, and they were pleased to welcome the Second Division leaders, Worcestershire, to Derby.
Wayne Madsen won the toss on an overcast day, but chose to bat first. Ben Slater and Billy Godleman set the foundations with an opening partnership of 41 at just over two runs an over.
The conditions were not easy for batting and it took care and no little skill to make further progress. Godleman battled hard, but Madsen made batting look easier than anyone else during the first day’s play. This pair added 112 together before Madsen was caught at slip for an accomplished 56 (86 balls – 10 fours). 153 for one became 183 for four whereupon Wes Durston and Alex Hughes put on 48 runs at four runs an over.
There followed a slump as four wickets fell while only 52 runs were added, so Derbyshire were grateful to Alex Hughes and Tony Palladino who put on an important 58 in only eleven overs for the ninth wicket. Hughes had reached his fifty from 92 balls and he went on to score 74 (133 balls – 12 fours); it had been an excellent innings which proved to have been a crucial contribution in the context of the whole match.
Derbyshire v Glamorgan at Derby on 20 to 22 July: LV= County Championship: Division Two
By John Brown
Wayne Madsen won the toss in this first meeting of the season with Glamorgan and he chose to field first.
Tony Palladino took a wicket in his first over and, after six overs, he had taken three wickets for one run. Alex Hughes and Tom Taylor took a wicket each so that Glamorgan were reduced to 50 for five by the lunch interval.
Goodwin, who had been dropped in the slips before he had scored, and Wallace stayed together for nineteen overs after the interval and they added 64 for the sixth wicket. Once Goodwin had gone, caught off the bowling of Hughes, the remaining four wickets fell while only eight runs were added.
Glamorgan were all out for 138 with Hughes having taken four wickets in an innings for the first time in his first-class career. Ben Slater dug in on a pitch which required plenty of application and occasional luck as he saw three partners go to leave Derbyshire on 63 for three. Enter Wes Durston who continued his run of free-scoring form as he reached his fifty at exactly a run a ball.
Derbyshire looked well-placed to establish a commanding lead, but they lost three wickets in the space of five overs shortly before the close which was taken at 142 for six. Two more wickets fell in the first fifteen minutes on the second morning, so now the game was very much in the balance.
Gloucestershire v Derbyshire at Cheltenham on 14 to 17 July: LV=County Championship: Division Two
By John Brown
Derbyshire chased down 204 inside two sessions to claim victory on the final day of a thrilling LV= County Championship fixture versus Gloucestershire at Cheltenham.
Gloucestershire won the toss at this beautiful venue and chose to bat on what was expected to be a batsman-friendly pitch. Derbyshire’s bowlers started well and, when Tom Taylor had Alex Gidman caught at slip in the eighteenth over, Gloucestershire had scored at less than two an over.
When lunch came the home team had scored only 77 for two from thirty-two overs. Runs came rather more easily during the afternoon, but Palladino took two wickets before tea and Taylor two more before the close.
One of these was Tavare who had made a solid 135, although Will Gidman was still there on 88. Derbyshire had every reason to feel satisfied with the close-of-play score of 304 for six on what had been a hard day for the fielding side.
On the second morning Taylor took two more wickets to record his first first-class five-wicket haul, a fine performance for a young man who has not yet left his teenage years. Although there was an irritating tenth-wicket stand of twenty-seven Gloucestershire were all out for 356.
Derbyshire v Essex at Chesterfield on 7 to 10 July: LV=County Championship: Division Two
By John Brown
The main match in the 2014 Old Speckled Hen Festival of Cricket at Queen’s Park, Chesterfield, was this championship match with Essex.
Wayne Madsen won the toss and chose to bat first on what was expected to be a good batting pitch. Ben Slater, playing his first first-class match of the season on his home club’s ground, and Paul Borrington started well before Borrington was unlucky to be caught down the leg-side.
When lunch was taken at 96 for three, the match seemed in the balance, but it swung Derbyshire’s way when Madsen and Wes Durston, making a welcome return to the first eleven, stayed together throughout the afternoon session.
Durston glanced the first ball of the post-tea session to the fine-leg boundary only to be clattered on the helmet from the next ball, bowled by Napier. He was concussed and took no part in the match for the next two days, but happily he felt fit enough to take part on the fourth day.
Durston’s retirement changed the whole complexion of the game and Derbyshire lost their last six wickets for only 49 runs after they had looked set to reach a score in excess of 350. Madsen had made a fine ninety from 178 balls, while the more aggressive Durston had reached 74 from 118 balls.
Kent v Derbyshire at Canterbury on 22 to 25 June: LV= County Championship: Division Two
By John Brown
Derbyshire travelled south for this midsummer fixture with Kent. Kent won the toss and chose to bat first on a rare hot sunny day.
Rob Key was lucky to survive a catch from a Mark Footitt no ball when he had scored fourteen but, when David Wainwright came on to bowl, he was stumped off his second ball. Harmison fell to Wainwright eight overs later and Kent continued to lose wickets to the persevering Derbyshire attack through most of the day.
Bell-Drummond and Steven added 91 for the fifth wicket, after which Tony Palladino had an inspired spell during which he took four wickets for five runs in twenty-three balls. So Kent finished the first day on 259 for eight, and Derbyshire had every reason to feel satisfied with their performance. Bell-Drummond had batted with strong defence and determination (268 balls) to complete his first championship hundred.
The second morning did not go to plan for Derbyshire as the Kent tail-enders stayed longer than expected and added a further 74 runs in twenty-five overs.
Stephen Moore and Paul Borrington survived the five overs before lunch, taken with the score on 18 for no wicket, fourteen of the runs having been conceded in extras.
Derbyshire v Surrey at Derby on 15 to 18 June: LV= County Championship: Division Two
By John Brown
Following their win in the previous match with Leicestershire, Derbyshire went into this match with increased confidence and hopes that they would be able to continue their improved performance into the next few matches. Wayne Madsen won the toss and chose to bat first on a pitch which was hard and expected to favour batsmen.
Unfortunately for Derbyshire the overhead conditions were helpful to swing bowlers and the conditions probably deteriorated during the day. The early batsmen were made to work hard for their runs, and they struggled to reach 77 for three before lunch. After about half-an-hour after the interval, Dernbach had a golden spell when he took three wickets in eight balls, one of them being that of Marcus North who had looked sounder than most in his sixty-seven ball 44.
Thereafter Gareth Cross played a few strong strokes, but Derbyshire were dismissed for a very disappointing 153, with Tom Curran having taken a career-best five for 51.
Mark Footitt struck with the second ball of the Surrey innings, but they survived for the rest of the day which was curtailed by bad light (34 overs lost in all) to finish on 44 for one. Tom Taylor took his first first-class wicket when he trapped Hashim Amla lbw, but Ansari continued to bat doggedly while his new partner, Solanki, played with much more flair to reach his fifty from fifty-nine balls. Davies joined Ansari and together they added 140 for the fourth wicket – by now it was clear that conditions were much better for batting, but Derbyshire’s bowlers persevered in difficult circumstances.
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