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.
When Wes Durston joined Matt Lineker in the twenty-fifth over the scoring rate began to pick up with Durston, the Player of the Season, being particularly fluent. He reached his hundred from only 101 balls and shared a partnership of 176 with Lineker for the third wicket. In the afternoon session Derbyshire had added 175 in 36 overs.
When Lineker was out soon after the tea interval, three more wickets fell in the next eight overs, with Balcombe taking four wickets for four runs in 24 balls. Durston’s splendid 118 had come from 122 balls (20 fours and a six). At 264 for six Ross Whiteley and Jon Clare joined forces and together they added 141 in just twenty overs: it was a quite remarkable effort in view of the way the day had started.
On the second morning Clare was quickly caught at slip, but Whiteley continued his fine innings (162 balls with 14 fours and four sixes), adding 83 with Tony Palladino for the ninth wicket. Whiteley and Clare’s partnership of 142 for the seventh wicket had broken an 85-year old Derbyshire record in matches against Kent. Derbyshire’s final score of 535 was their first score over 500 for more than two years. Balcombe finished with six wickets for Kent.
Kent started their innings straight after lunch and were soon in trouble: they had an escape which seemed likely to have a big influence on the future progress of the match when Joe Denly was dropped, a straightforward chance behind the wicket, with his score on 33. If this chance had been taken Kent’s score would have been 50 for three, but they were able to make good progress with Denly and Stevens adding 110 for the fourth wicket and then Denly and Azhar Mahmood a further 151 for the fifth.
Denly was unfortunate to fall for 199 when he aimed a careless cut at a wide ball from Mark Footitt, and Kent’s innings finished soon afterwards. Palladino had taken his third five-wicket haul of the season and captured his fiftieth victim in doing so.
With a first innings lead of 116 Derbyshire would have hoped to press on quickly and set Kent a challenging total to chase on the last day, but Balcombe, a bowler on loan from Hampshire, took a wicket in each of his first three overs so Derbyshire looked in a more precarious position (29 for four) than had seemed possible only a fifty minutes earlier. Wayne Madsen and Whiteley steadied things with a stand of 65 for the fifth wicket while Tim Groenewald later supported Madsen (122 balls) in a crucial stand of fifty for the eighth wicket. When the last wicket fell there were still six overs to be bowled on the third day, and Derbyshire’s lead was a mere 297. Light rain prevented Kent from starting their innings, but it cleared, the sun came out, and, when the covers had been removed the umpires decreed that there was time for just one over to be bowled.
Kent sent in their number eleven to face Palladino and he managed to deflect his second ball to wicket-keeper Luke Sutton who took a fine diving catch away to his left. So the players all trooped off again: it was the sort of comical situation which only the game of cricket can provide.
Next morning Denly and Bell-Drummond, and then Northeast, started promisingly enough for Kent as they reached their hundred for the loss of only two wickets. Wes Durston, pressed into bowling his occasional off-spinners, got Northeast to chop a sharply turning ball onto his stumps and Clare took two more wickets, including the vital one of Denly, before lunch, taken at 127 for five. Much of the fight seemed to have gone from the Kent side after the interval and a succession of poorly executed attacking shots saw them slump to 196 and defeat by 101 runs.
This win took Derbyshire to fifth position in the table, a position which they seem likely to hold after their final match of the season – at the Oval against promotion-chasing Surrey on Monday. Kent were deducted one point for a slow over-rate.
Derbyshire 535 (115 overs) (RA Whiteley 130*, WJ Durston 118, JL Clare 77, MS Lineker 71, AP Palladino 34, WL Madsen 26; DJ Balcombe 6 for 128) and 181 (43.1 overs) (WL Madsen 73, RA Whiteley 35, TD Groenewald 27; DI Stevens 3 for 17, DJ Balcombe 3 for 24, MT Coles 3 for 68) Kent 419 (108.2 overs) (JL Denly 199, Azhar Mahmood 97, DI Stevens 38; AP Palladino 5 for 84, MHA Footitt 3 for 80, JL Clare 2 for 64) and 196 (46.4 overs) (JL Denly 68, DI Stevens 54, DJ Bell-Drummond 20; JL Clare 4 for 36, WJ Durston 4 for 45) Derbyshire (24 points) beat Kent (1) by 101 runs.
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