Thursday, 27 August 2015

Second XI are cup winners!

Terrific win by the Second Eleven at Durham tonight, as they took the One-Day Trophy by ten runs over their hosts.

It was a well-deserved win for them, who had gone through the tournament unbeaten and contained a good mixture of youth and experience in the side. 69 from Chesney Hughes, 45 from Ben Slater and 41 from Wes Durston were the top scores, but Tom Knight's 32 and Matt Critchley's sensible 18 at the end saw us to a challenging score of 247-8 in 50 overs.

Durham's side also included players of considerable first-class experience but Phil Mustard struggled to get the ball away before being leg before to Critchley and when Tom Taylor removed the dangerous Calum Macleod for 41, the writing was on the wall.

There were late wickets and common sense bowling from Tom Milnes, who finished with 3-43 and the trophy will be heading back to the 3aaa County Ground.

Some will doubtless say 'it's only a second team' but the talent in that side leaves grounds for optimism, especially with a very young attack.

I would not be at all surprised to see Milnes engaged for next summer, as the lad has done little wrong since joining from Warwickshire on loan. Indeed, 22 wickets in seven innings confirms that he has done an awful lot right and the lad's record suggests that he might be worth a punt.

His limited opportunity at Edgbaston has left him with a batting average of 28 and, with a best bowling performance of 7-39, there's no concerns that the lad can bowl. Yes, we need experience in our side for next year, but at 22 Milnes may well be worth a contract.

That's for others to decide, but for now, enjoy the taste of success...I hope it is just an aperitif for the youngsters in that side.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Good luck to the seconds

I am sure you will all join me in wishing the Second Eleven the best of luck in their one-day final against Durham tomorrow.

They have played some fine cricket this summer and the icing on the cake would be a win in the final, on the ground of their opponents.

While the under 17s quest for silverware ended up short at the weekend against a strong Surrey side, the seconds could go all the way.

Bring home the trophy lads!

We're all rooting for you.

Edwin Smith launch a great success

It was a memorable night for both Edwin Smith and old Peakfan last night, as my new book on Edwin's career was launched at Chesterfield Library in front of a fine audience.

Several of Edwin's former team mates were in attendance, as was Derbyshire captain, Wayne Madsen, who happily chatted and posed for photographs as the books were sold and signed.

Edwin was in fine form and entertained the audience with stories from his career, then took questions from the audience.

Thank you to everyone who came along for making it a special evening and please get in touch if you would like to buy.

The book is now available on Ebay - simply search under 'Edwin Smith'.

Photo shows: back row - David Millner, Peter Eyre, John Eyre, Wayne Madsen
Front - Peakfan, Edwin Smith, Brian Jackson

There's the basis of a good little team there, but I don't fancy my chances of either opening the batting or taking the new ball...

Thanks to all at Derbyshire County Libraries for making the evening one to treasure.

Photograph courtesy of Derbyshire County Libraries

Adieu to David Wainwright

It is always sad when a county favourite is released, although there was an inevitability about that of David Wainwright, which was announced today.

He had been a peripheral figure this season, struggling to recover from a pre-season injury which ultimately caused form to be elusive. His last appearance, which even at the time appeared a farewell, was against the Australians and his batting was, as ever, dogged.

The truth is that David always was a battler, a 'nuggety cricketer', as I have heard him described. There was a touch of the Fred Swarbrooks about the way in which he got his head down and tried to save a losing cause, but the harsh reality was that he perhaps didn't score the runs that his talent deserved.

As for his bowling, he never recaptured the form of that golden summer of 2012, when he won us matches, shut an end up as required and, crucially, gave balance to the side. He lost the control of that summer and seemed less able to bowl the maidens that are so useful to a captain whose seamers are going around the park.

More importantly, he didn't take wickets when he was expected to do so. At Southport, in favourable conditions, he was outbowled by Matt Critchley and then struggled to take wickets in second team cricket.

It was all very sad and inevitable. We seem set to go with Tom Knight and Critchley next summer, both of who crucially have time on their side but a lot of learning to do.

David Wainwright will doubtless score runs and take wickets in club cricket for many years to come, while supporters will remember his contribution to that title of 2012 and the 'magic ball' in last year's RLODC that set him off on something approximating a lap of honour of the County Ground.

He was a good cricketer and always gave of his best.

You can't ask for more.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Still tickets left for the Edwin Smith book launch

There are still tickets available for the launch of my book on Edwin Smith, which takes place at Chesterfield Library tomorrow evening (Tuesday) at 7.30pm.

It will be an opportunity to recognise the wonderful contribution made at all levels of cricket in Derbyshire by Edwin. As well as 1214 first-class wickets, he took thousands more in league cricket across the north of England and was also county coach for three seasons.

He is engaging company and good fun, something that I hope is reflected in the book, which contains many stories never previously in print about a range of Derbyshire cricket characters.

Containing the thoughts of many of Edwin's contemporaries in Derbyshire sides, as well as such luminaries as Geoffrey Boycott and David Steele, the book costs £14 and will be available on the night. Afterwards, signed copies can be obtained from me by using the contact details that you will find on the left hand side of this blog.

Unsigned copies can be obtained by calling the Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians on 01323 460174.

I look forward to seeing you tomorrow, when I will interview Edwin on his career, before we take questions from the audience and then sign copies of the book.

My thanks go to Derbyshire County Libraries for hosting the event. Call Chesterfield Library on 01629 533400 to reserve your ticket for the evening. They cost £3 (£2 concession)

Derbyshire v Kent day 4

Derbyshire 253 and 234-3

Kent 159 and 231-5 

Match drawn

My comment regarding the weather being the deciding factor turned out to be quite propitious today, when an absorbing day's cricket that ebbed and flowed throughout was ended by the rain at tea.

It came bang on cue, as given by the forecasters, yet stopped a game that could have gone either way in its tracks. When Rob Key and Sam Northeast were going well, Kent clawed back the ascendancy that had gone to us with two early wickets, but Tony Palladino's removal of the former slowed their progress.

Ben Harmison looked sketchy to start but had got into his stride before tea with three successive boundaries before he got too confident against Chesney Hughes' spin and edged to Wayne Madsen at slip. It was the last action before tea and, coming soon after Mark Footitt had induced an edge from an assayed hook by Northeast, saw Derbyshire go into the interval the more confident side.

Five down was effectively six, with Billings unable to bat, so with 98 needed to win and two new batsmen at the crease, the Derbyshire attack will have come out after tea for one final assault on the tail. With Alex Hughes off the pitch after a crack on the hand yesterday, along with Shiv Thakor, still hors de combat after his first day blow to the head, we were two bowlers light and the burden on the rest was considerable.

They did extremely well. Ben Cotton and Palladino ran in hard, but star turn was once again Mark Footitt, whose pace never dropped from the first over to his last and who bowled 24 overs in the innings. It was a top effort by the paceman and all three will sleep well tonight.

Given better weather, it is a game we would have won easily and the team can be pleased with a good effort over the four days.

Especially Billy Godleman.

That will live long in his memory.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Derbyshire v Kent day 3

Derbyshire 253 and 234-3 (Godleman 105 not)

Kent 159 and 30-0

Kent require 299 to win

I suspect that the weather will have the last laugh tomorrow in a game that, in a fair four days, we would have won easily.

Tonight is one to salute Billy Godleman, for his second century of the match, third in succession and fourth in five innings of all cricket. He couldn't be in a more purple patch if he sat eating those funny shaped Quality Street with the caramel and nut centre, while listening to Deep Purple and Prince on his ipod...

Billy follows some illustrious names in the three in a row sequence, with Kim Barnett the last, 25 years ago, preceded by Peter Kirsten, William Storer and Levi Wright. He is up there with them now and looks such a good player right now. If he gets another in his next knock, I might need to rename this Billy's Blog and leave his picture up in perpetuity...

He was given good support by Chesney Hughes, who reached a solid fifty before being bowled, which brought in the skipper to play a selfless innings, full of improvisation. When he was dismissed, Alex Hughes became the latest to retire hurt in the game, before the declaration came with one eye on the gathering clouds and the other on tomorrow's forecast.

Kent got through largely untroubled, but unless we produce a magical morning, rain threatened after 3pm may well render a lot of very good cricket in this game to naught.

In closing tonight, thanks to all who came along to make the signing session at the ground so pleasant today. Your chat and kind words meant a lot and I hope more of you manage along to Chesterfield on Tuesday.

Be assured that Edwin Smith is a very entertaining man and it will be a special evening.

Postscript - it was duly confirmed today that Dilshan has played his last game for the county. It proved to be a largely unsatisfactory experience, although the memory of him opening the batting with Hashim Amla in the televised Lancashire T20 will live long.

It was also announced at the members forum that we will soon announce the signing of a young all-rounder and are seeking the services of a Kolpak or dual-nationality player.

That should start the rumour mill going nicely - any thoughts?

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Good luck to the under-17s

Time to wish the DCB under-17s the very best of luck in their one-day cup final against Surrey at Kibworth tomorrow.

I would have gone along to that, had I not been otherwise engaged at the 3aaa County Ground, as I have heard good reports about these lads. Archie Gleadall, Joss Morgan and Ryan Bramwell make up a trio of talented batsmen and they are backed up by a balanced attack and a high standard of fielding.

They could go all the way and win it, which would be a terrific achievement for them and for their coach, Howard Dytham.

Congratulations also go to Ryan Bramwell, who has been selected for the Midlands under-17 squad to take part in the regional festival.

Bring home the silverware, boys!

Derbyshire v Kent day 2

Derbyshire 253 and 73-1 (Godleman 42 not)
Kent 159 (Footitt 4-61)

Derbyshire lead by 167 runs

As truncated days go, this was a very good one for Derbyshire.

I missed the morning session but taking five wickets for under 70 runs was impressive work. In the afternoon, some of the out cricket got a little sloppy, but the catches were held with sufficient regularity for the Kent innings to fold well short of our total.

While Mark Footitt again bowled well and led the wickets tally, I was taken with Ben Cotton's bowling today. I think he has the ability to be a really nasty quick bowler, but is too nice a lad to rough up the opposition batsmen as someone of his size could do. By the time he is the finished article, I think he will add a couple of yards to his already handy pace and I enjoyed the way that he was happy to use and threaten with the 'throat ball' today, perhaps a sign of things to come.

He's a big lad and could be a formidable bowler for us in the coming years. So too will Tony Palladino, who bowled within himself, yet with metronomic accuracy. The attack had a good look to it and it was a good effort, all topped off with a brilliant stop and throw from Scott Elstone in the deep to get the final wicket.

When we batted, I didn't think Ben Slater looked as sound in technique as when I have seen him previously, perhaps a little more hesitant in his footwork that goes with a player not quite in the best of form. He stuck around though and gave us the solid start that we needed, in conjunction with Billy Godleman.

The latter looks the real deal now, an opening batsman with an air of permanence about him. Sure in defence and crisp on the attack, Billy has an on drive that is all his own and that I would say was his trademark shot. The coaches have done a good job with him, but his own work ethic is important, as is the fact that, at 26, he now knows his game. After bursting onto the scene, Billy had several years of under-achievement, exactly as others in their early twenties have found.

Another 166 runs would take him to his first thousand, while nine more will make it his most prolific season, overtaking his first in 2007.

He has been a standout this summer and his efforts have set us up for a win that could be ours, if the weather doesn't intervene.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Busy weekend with the book

I hope to meet a few of you over the next few days as my new book on county bowling legend Edwin Smith is launched.

Edwin and I will be at the County Ground on Sunday from 1.30pm, giving you the first opportunity to buy a copy of 'Edwin Smith: a Life in Derbyshire Cricket'. We will both be available for signing copies too, should you wish.

Then, on Tuesday evening at 7.30pm, we will be at the theatre in Chesterfield Library, where I will interview Edwin before we both take questions from the audience and then sign copies for those who wish to buy.

Ticket for this event are priced £3 (£2 concession) and can be reserved on the door by calling 01629 533400.

The book costs £14 and is full of stories from a life in the county colours, as well as many photographs.

I look forward to catching up with friends old and new over the days ahead.