By John Brown
This match was played throughout in wintery temperatures which were quite unsuitable for cricketers, umpires and spectators alike. Derbyshire won the toss and, to the surprise of many, chose to bat first. Despite the loss of the openers during the first thirteen overs, Wayne Madsen’s decision proved right as first he and Wes Durston, showing a welcome return to his 2011 form, added 100 for the third wicket, and then Dan Redfern helped put on another 115 for the fourth.
Madsen played the anchor role and, despite having to wait for twenty balls with his score on 99, he completed a thoroughly well-deserved and emotionally charged century from 183 balls. He was out shortly afterwards and Derbyshire finished the day on a very satisfactory 362 for 9. Durston (88 balls) and Redfern(58 balls) both passed fifties which were full of well-timed and aggressive strokes, while Ross Whiteley made a useful forty.
On the second morning Jon Clare and Tim Groenewald hit boldly in adding 26 from only thirteen balls to take the final total to 388 all out. Clare’s 48 came at just a run a ball.
Gloucestershire lost a wicket to Tony Palladino in the first over, but thereafter they looked fairly comfortable in taking the score to 94 for two at lunch. Three wickets fell quickly soon after the break, and Derbyshire’s bowlers kept a firm grip on things with some well-controlled bowling. All the wickets fell to seamers while David Wainwright kept things quiet from the pavilion end with his left-arm spin. Palladino took five wickets for 47 before bad light finished play early with twenty-six overs still to be bowledand Gloucestershire on 172 for nine, still 216 behind.
Next day Gloucestershire’s last pair survived for another 48 minutes, perhaps an indication that the pitch was becoming more batsman-friendly. They were eventually all out for 206 and Derbyshire enforced the follow-on. Groenewald took a wicket in his first over, but the Gloucestershire batsmen, concentrating mainly on defence, made life difficult for Derbyshire. Only one more wicket fell all day and Howell, Williamson and Marshall had all looked comfortable for most of the day.
The fourth day started on time with a draw looking the most likely outcome, unless Derbyshire could take wickets with the new ball which was due after eleven overs. As it happened the pitch seemed to have flattened out, and only one wicket fell in the morning session, Williamson (272 balls) edging a ball from Clare to the keeper, Tom Poynton.
Marshall, the visitors’ stand-in captain, was lbw to Groenewald for a well-made 90 (200 balls) as the game meandered towards what seemed to be the inevitable draw. His dismissal was followed by a ten-minute stoppage for rain and hail, but then Cockbain and Will Gidman continued the resistance. By tea, taken with the score at 369 for four, everyone was going through the motions, just waiting for the moment when Gloucestershire could declare and the teams shake hands.
As a result of this draw Derbyshire have returned to first place in the table.
Derbyshire’s next championship match is at Southampton where they meet Hampshire in a four-day match starting on Wednesday, the first time the two counties have met for several seasons. The next home championship match will be against Glamorgan on Wednesday week.
County caps were awarded to four Derbyshire players before the start of play on the third morning – Martin Guptill, Wes Durston, Jon Clare and TonlyPalladino.
Derbyshire 388 (98.1 overs) (WL Madsen 101, WJ Durston 68, DJ Redfern 55, JL Clare 48, RA Whiteley 40, MJ Guptill 30; JK Fuller 3 for 64, ID Saxelby 3 for 79)
Gloucestershire 206 (69.3 overs) (CDJ Dent 55, KS Williamson 25, PB Muchall 21, WRS Gidman 21; AP Palladino 5 for 47, JL Clare 3 for 48) and 409 for 4 (145 overs) (KS Williamson 128, HJH Marshall 90, BAC Howell 64, IA Cockbain 63*, WRS Gidman 33*; JL Clare 2 for 39, TD Groenewald 2 for 44)
Match Drawn (Derbyshire 10 points) Gloucestershire (7)
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