Derbyshire v Kent at Derby on 11 to 14 May: LV=County Championship: Division Two
By John Brown
Play was due to start on time on the first day of Derbyshire’s fourth championship match of the season but, after Kent had won the toss and chosen to field first, the rain started and the start was delayed.
There were several attempts to play during the day, but regular showers ruled that possibility out and at 3.45pm the umpires decided that there could be no play on the first day.
The miserable weather continued on the second day so it came as something of a surprise when play was able to get under way at 2.35pm. Derbyshire had made four changes from their previous team which had failed to perform as expected against Worcestershire: Scott Elstone came in for his first-class debut after scoring a double-hundred in his previous second XI match; Alex Hughes came in for his namesake, Chesney; Paul Borrington had made two hundreds recently so came in to open the batting, while Gareth Cross, recently of Lancashire, was selected as Derbyshire’s third wicket-keeper of the season.
They started badly against the seam attack of Australian Doug Bollinger and later the consistent medium-pace of Darren Stevens. After twenty-two overs they had reached 38 for the loss of the top four batsmen in the order.
Elstone and Hughes looked good together for a short time as they took the score to 57 before Elstone was adjudged lbw: this was followed by a good stand of 46 between Hughes and Cross. Once they were parted, however, the rest of the order fell all too swiftly with the last five wickets going while only fifteen runs were added. Hughes finished with an accomplished 36 not out while the two aforementioned Kent bowlers took five wickets each.
Kent were left with three overs batting at the end of the day and they survived these without any problems to close on ten for no wicket. Shortly before the scheduled start on the third day, more rain began to fall and the players and spectators were frustrated yet again. Quite remarkably, while there was almost a full day’s play at Trent Bridge, only a few miles away, the clouds over Derby remained dark and rain-bearing, so soon after 3.30pm, the umpires decided that the outfield was too soggy for play to be possible.
The fourth day was sunny and warm and play was able to start on time, although it looked as though the teams would have little to play for, other than pride and bonus points. Kent had other ideas, however, as their batsmen played aggressively in the hope that they could build a lead and leave themselves enough time to make life difficult for the Derbyshire batsmen in their second innings.
The first part of Kent’s hopes went to plan as they added 225 runs in 44.2 overs before they declared leaving Derbyshire a possible forty-nine overs in which to bat. Brendan Nash played with freedom to score an undefeated 95 from 98 balls, while Tim Groenewald captured his 250 first-class wicket when he bowled Bell-Drummond as he played no stroke at a ball which removed his middle stump.
Stephen Moore and Paul Borrington coped well with the six Kent bowlers and they batted through until five o’clock without being parted at which point the two teams agreed a drawn match, with Kent taking nine points and Derbyshire seven.
Derbyshire 118 (49.3 overs) (AL Hughes 36*, SL Elstone 23; DI Stevens 5 for 24, DE Bollinger 5 for 29) and 106 for 0 (28 overs) (SC Moore 73*, PM Borrington 31*)
Kent 235 for 6 dec (47.2 overs) (BP Nash 95*, DI Stevens 33, BW Harmison 27, DJ Bell-Drummond 24; TD Groenewald 2 for 59, MHA Footitt 2 for 66)
Derbyshire (7 points) drew with Kent (9)
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