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County Cricket: Derbyshire v Kent day 3

With a day to go of this game, there's two ways that it could pan out - always assuming that the weather turns a little more favourable.It could be a dull as dishwater final day, where Kent bat to earn some points and everyone goes home with the cricke...

Doug Bollinger

Doug Bollinger

With a day to go of this game, there’s two ways that it could pan out – always assuming that the weather turns a little more favourable.

It could be a dull as dishwater final day, where Kent bat to earn some points and everyone goes home with the cricket equivalent of a lucky bag from a kid’s party – a few bits and pieces, but nothing of real substance to get excited about.

On the other hand, the two skippers could come to a morning agreement to make a game of it. Kent could declare overnight, we could have a merry old thrash before lunch and into early afternoon and then leave them a total to chase in the final innings.

There’s the possibility of another Derbyshire collapse tomorrow morning, after the pitch has spent another day under covers, but also a risk for Kent in chasing a total that would start with the score at 108. It would, however, make for a day that identified the risks each side were prepared to take in attempting to win the game – and, indeed, promotion.

There is a danger of over-reaction in some quarters to yesterday’s collapse by Derbyshire. Throughout a season of cricket, all teams come across wickets that heavily favour the batsmen, where the top order are expected to cash in . Then there will be others that are heavily weighted towards the bowlers, where conditions allow the flexing of muscles with genuine intent as bowlers remove their sweaters.

Such a day was yesterday. Doug Bollinger is a very good player with Test and one-day international wickets to his name and will have been very aware that the cards favoured him considerably. So too Darren Stevens, a cricketer of skill and experience who will have fancied a wicket that had been under covers for a day and a half, even had the atmosphere not lent itself to swinging the ball too. Put these two things together and there’s no team would much fancy batting, especially one low on confidence and experience.

It is a well-known among cricketers and groundsmen that wickets spending long periods under cover while it rains ‘sweat’ and produce intriguing variables. If one acknowledges, as we all do on a regular basis, the skill, experience and talent of Moore, Madsen and Chanderpaul, is it not likely that something is afoot when all three go cheaply?

With four of the top seven making season debuts, it is little wonder that we struggled. Had the toss gone the other way, I have no doubt that the same would have applied to Kent. All things considered, Scott Elstone can be pleased with how he gritted it out, while Alex Hughes confirmed his talent with an unbeaten championship personal best that will doubtless be surpassed before too long.

It hasn’t been the start we all envisaged, but there’s a lot happened in the past few weeks that none of us expected, on and off the pitch.

Things will improve, but we all need to appreciate that there will be times when we don’t do well because the other team is better and/or conditions are against us. We’ve no more right to do well at such times than any other team, as plenty of others are finding this summer.But things WILL improve.

Hold tight, my friends and try to enjoy the ride.

Published with permission from Steve Dolman.

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