Enjoying the ideal start
Posted in Domestic Cricket
As I write I'm sat watching our middle order trying to dig us out of trouble versus Leicestershire in our third game of this season. But thankfully it hasn't been like that too much so far.
After 10 days of the LV= County Championship campaign we find ourselves at the summit of Division Two being the early pacesetters. Now I'm not getting carried away as the season is a long grind but we at Derbyshire are delighted to be at the top of the table; naturally we want to still be there in five months’ time!
We started our preparation for 2012 in Barbados on our pre-season tour, but we couldn't have started worse, conceding 318 in a 40-over game and losing by over 100 runs against Leicestershire.
In the next game we lost by 60 runs in a Twenty20 to Yorkshire. We had definitely started in first gear.
But from there we won a game versus Barbados and a very exciting match against Hampshire where Mark Footitt clean bowled three batsmen in the final over at the Kensington Oval to secure us the plate trophy. We followed that up with a very positive practice match against Yorkshire and we returned from the tour very happy overall with the practice we had obtained.
We started the domestic season confidently and enjoyed victory over Northamptonshire at Derby, bowling them out in the fourth innings in the final hour of the match under floodlights.
The use of our lights for much of three days was a huge contributing factor in gaining that victory and without them we certainly would not have been able to push for the win.
Northants can probably count themselves unlucky in that regard as last season, with different guidelines regarding the use of the lights, both teams would have had to settle for a draw.
It was a productive match for us with my good friend Dan Redfern becoming a first-class centurion, a very special feeling for him, and also Martin Guptill scoring 137.
David Wainwright recorded the best figures by a Derbyshire debutant for over a century with 6-33 but it was left for yours truly to steal the limelight with the final wicket. At this point I would like to apologise for the football-style celebrations in the gloom!
From there we travelled to Cardiff for the second game. With the prospect of poor weather we tried to play aggressive cricket throughout in order to force a positive result.
That, however, was easier with the ball than with the bat and if I'm honest, after the team had posted 130 in our first innings, I did not expect us to have a lead at halfway.
It was a wicket where runs were hard to come by; you never felt in on it. Bowlers still had to work hard but it did offer assistance to them. In the whole match only one half-century was made, but it was an astonishing game in terms of the way it played out.
Glamorgan needed 240 to win in the final session and made a fine start putting on 58 for their first wicket, but from there the game became very bizarre. We took all 10 home wickets in an hour and a half and the last seven for seven runs. Those who saw Gareth Rees and Stewart Walters bat unscathed before lunch would be amazed by the turnaround in the match.
Jon Clare was the Derbyshire hero taking 11-57 in the match, his career best figures. That day also heard our first rendition of the new team song. Since joining Derbyshire in 2010 there hasn't been a team song so I took it upon myself to write one. I'm really hoping that we get to hear it many more times this summer!