Derbyshire's progress checked
Division Two leaders Derbyshire collected maximum bowling bonus points to ensure victory over Hampshire at the County Ground this week will seal promotion to a league they have not played in since its first year in 2000.
However, a home win is by no means certain against potentially dispirited visitors, whose faint hopes of going up were boosted by James Vince’s first LV= County Championship hundred of the year, but then ended by events elsewhere.
The hosts began the day a point ahead of Yorkshire, whose first batting point of two kept fourth-placed Hampshire in this league for another year, and six in front of Kent. Derbyshire gained three more by dismissing their opponents for 272 inside 76 overs.
Vince was chiefly responsible for lifting the visitors to that many, with a classy 114 that came after a lacklustre season of 277 championship runs at 18.47 with a previous best of 48.
The tall 21-year-old right-hander hit 19 of 40 boundaries in the innings, adding a restorative 136 for the fifth wicket with Sean Ervine. Ervine was the first of three wickets for left-arm spinner David Wainwright, who will be on a hat-trick when he next bowls.
Tony Palladino’s cheap scalps helped reduced Derbyshire to 26 for three and he returned 3-44 from 18 overs to move to 55 Championship wickets for the campaign, second only in Division Two to Hampshire’s David Balcombe on 58.
Balcombe and new-ball partner James Tomlinson troubled the home top order, each removing an opener before Derbyshire closed on 50 for three with Usman Khawaja unbeaten on 27.
This morning Wayne Madsen unsurprisingly gave his unchanged side first use of a green but hard pitch under broken cloud cover.
Palladino had not conceded a run from his first 10 balls when Michael Carberry paid for indecision and played on. Palladino again benefited from a strong cross wind to strike two overs later when Bilal Shafayat edged to third slip.
Tim Groenewald was also bowling tightly and Liam Dawson nicked him aerially to the right of a diving gulley.
When Dawson was trapped on the back foot with a nip-backer, that looked to be hitting the top of off stump, Palladino had figures of 3-9 in his seventh over and Derbyshire their first bonus point.
Having elegantly cover-driven Groenewald to the rope, Vince edged the bowler uppishly to the left of gulley for another four.
Jimmy Adams, who had responsibly played himself in, emulated Vince’s first boundary as fours briefly came freely. However, Adams departed for 20 in the 21st over when Khawaja took a fine catch low to his left at second slip off Ross Whiteley.
Vince cut and twice straight-drove three fours in a Mark Turner over before lifting David Wainwright over mid-on for another to reach lunch two short of a half-century.
Wainwright continued after the interval and Ervine copied Vince’s shot, although with enough power to clear the rope, immediately before the latter brought up his fifty from 46 balls, featuring nine fours, with two off Palladino. Not to be outdone, Vince again went over the top against the left-arm spinner.
Ervine continued to assert himself with two driven fours in an over from Groenewald, who next up had a close lbw shout against the left-hander turned down.
Vince swept Wainwright to herald the hundred partnership the ball before Ervine’s half-century arrived and the duo continued to capitalise on a mainly sunny mid-afternoon.
Hampshire were on the verge of a first batting point when Ervine went to reverse-sweep Wainwright, but failed to connect and was bowled off stump behind his pads.
Vince drove Turner to backward point rope, which took him to 96, and later in the over a quick single to Madsen, who threw down the non-striker’s stumps from mid-off, brought up Hampshire’s 200.
Vince’s 18th four, driving Turner through extra-cover, took him to three figures. Two more boundaries came in the right-armer’s next over, Michael Bates straight-driving and Vince cover-driving.
Vince lost concentration with tea approaching, loosely driving a wide Whiteley ball to Khawaja at cover, to take the hosts to a second bonus point.
In the over after the interval Chris Wood, playing in place of the rested Simon Katich, tamely chipped Groenewald to square-leg just as news came through that Yorkshire had a bonus point.
Balcombe top-edged Groenewald for a streaky four and the visitors accelerated with Bates taking two boundaries in a Palladino over, but Wes Durston’s first delivery back found Bates’ outside edge and Khawaja held another low slip catch to remove the wicketkeeper on 29.
The innings ended in the next over when Wainwright had the driving David Griffiths caught behind and Tomlinson lbw in consecutive balls, both for nought, to leave Balcombe unbeaten on 20.
Tomlinson and Balcombe immediately caused problems, the latter forcing Paul Borrington to edge over the slips for four. Balcombe broke through soon after when Madsen gloved down leg.
Borrington did not last much longer, looping a rising Balcombe delivery to point. Durston got going with an almost suicidal single but Wood just missed with a shy from cover.
Dan Redfern was just about in control of a hooked four against Balcombe. He and Durston picked up late boundaries until the latter edged Wood to second slip, bringing Palladino in as nightwatchman.