By John Brown
The weather forecasters warned us that all four days were likely to be blighted by frequent rain showers, but, in the event, much more cricket was played than might have been expected. As it happened the start on the first day was delayed until 3.30pm: Derbyshire won the toss and asked the visitors to bat first. Rain came again after 10.5 overs had been bowled (Leicestershire 24 for one) and there was no more play that day.
Tony Palladino took his second wicket on the second morning, but Smith and Sarwan, Leicestershire’s stand-in overseas captain, stayed together in adding 82 for the third wicket. Cobb joined Sarwan and they added a further 139: both batsmen reached 105 before they were dismissed so the visitors were in a strong position. Two wickets fell just before the close, taken at 318 for seven.
Next morning Palladino and Mark Footitt finished off the innings in four overs, so the last five wickets had fallen while only seven runs were added, and these two bowlers had taken three wickets each. Derbyshire started badly as they lost two wickets in the first three overs, and all their batsmen were made to work hard. When the seventh wicket fell at 115, it seemed likely that Derbyshire would have to follow on, but David Wainwright, Jon Clare and Tom Poynton all battled hard in making double figures.
Derbyshire won the toss and chose to bat on a pitch which looked true enough: once play had started, however, it was clear that all was not as easy as had been expected.
Graham Wagg, who had left Derbyshire two seasons earlier, bowled with great control and swung the ball late in both directions: in his opening spell of nine overs he dismissed the top four batsmen at a cost of 22. Derbyshire slipped to 44 for five and it took a sensible stand of 48 between Ross Whiteley and newcomer David Wainwright (fromYorkshire) to bring any sort of respectability to the all out total of 130.
Jon Clare added a useful 21, but the highlight thus far had been Wagg’s bowling with six for 44, the first time he had taken more than three wickets in an innings for his adopted county.
A young Derbyshire team (average age 25) started their championship campaign in bitterly cold conditions on the earliest date in their history. Northamptonshire won the toss and invited Derbyshire to bat on a pitch which they expected to help their seam bowlers. At first the visitors seemed to have taken the advantage as Derbyshire lost their first three wickets for 21, and their fourth at 50.
Despite what seemed to be awkward conditions, however, Dan Redfern looked to be in the form of his life, and he played confident strokes all round the wicket. At lunch Redfern had made 52 made from only 55 balls out of 96 for four. After the break he, in partnership with Ross Whiteley, continued to make good progress and this pair were not parted until they had equalled the fifth wicket record for the county in all matches against Northamptonshire – 160.
Redfern was bowled for 110, his maiden first-class century, made from 143 balls with thirteen fours. From this point, 210 for five, the rest of the batsmen managed only another 76 between them, but the final total of 286 was far more than had looked likely earlier in the day. Whiteley went for a well-crafted 83 made from137 balls (11 fours and 2 sixes).
Surrey v Derbyshire at The Oval on 12 to 14 September: LV County Championship: Division 2
Report by: John Brown
Match Result: Surrey (24 points) beat Derbyshire (2) by an innings and 126 runs
Derbyshire finished their season with a match against Surrey who needed to win if they were to have a chance of gaining promotion to the First Division. It seemed that the cricketing fates were on Surrey’s side and against Derbyshire (and Northamptonshire!) right from the start.
Derbyshire v Kent at Derby on 7 to 10 September: LV County Championship: Division 2
Report by: John Brown
Match Result: Derbyshire (24 points) beat Kent (1) by 101 runs
The weather forecast for the four days of Derbyshire’s last home championship match was most unpromising, but only fifteen overs were lost in total. The start on the first day was delayed by forty-five minutes when Kent asked Derbyshire to bat first on a pitch which looked likely to help the seam bowlers. The early batsmen had to work hard to survive and they did not reach fifty, for the loss of one wicket, until the nineteenth over.
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