County Championship
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Edgbaston, Birmingham

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Championship Report: Warwickshire v Derbyshire

Day Four – report

Warwickshire strengthened their position at the top of the  Specsavers County Championship Division Two table by completing an eight-wicket win over Derbyshire before lunch on the final day at Edgbaston.

Requiring 89 for victory Warwickshire resumed on the last morning on 19 for one and Ian Bell set the tone for a comfortable closing out of victory by driving Duanne Olivier’s first ball sweetly through the covers for three.

On a turning pitch, leg-spinner Matt Critchley was Derbyshire’s main hope of pulling off an unlikely win and he struck in his second over of the day when Dominic Sibley fell lbw.

But that glimmer of hope for the visitors was effectively snuffed out in Critchley’s next over from which Jonathan Trott took ten runs, including two cover-driven fours, to take his team past 50.

That flurry saw Critchley taken out of the attack and 17-year-old, Kandahar-born, England Under 19s off-spinner Hamidullah Qadri brought into the attack. Trott soon punched him to the long-off boundary and, fittingly, in the match during which he announced that he will retire at the end of the season, went on to see his team through to victory.

Trott ended unbeaten on 35 (45 balls, seven fours) and Bell on 34 (53 balls, six fours).

Warwickshire’s victory was built upon a solid display with the bat which saw them pass 400 on a wicket which required watchfulness and the excellence of Jeetan Patel and Henry Brookes with the ball. The pair shared 18 wickets (Patel’s match-figures ten for 170, Brookes’ eight for 119) to more than compensate for the loss from the attack of Ryan Sidebottom who suffered a side-strain while bowling in Derbyshire’s first innings.

Derbyshire were left to reflect upon  match which ultimately brought an emphatic defeat but in which they competed for long periods to suggest they are capable of sustaining their bright start to the season.

Day Three – report

Jeetan Patel and Henry Brookes bowled Warwickshire to the brink of victory over Derbyshire in the battle of the Specsavers County Championship Division Two top two at Edgbaston.

Having shared eight wickets in the first innings, the pair added all ten in the second to bowl out the visitors for 209 on the third day.

That left a victory target of just 89 and Warwickshire were 19 for one at the close.

With a bowling attack already missing the injured Olly Stone and Keith Barker and further depleted by the loss of Ryan Sidebottom to a side-strain, the home side needed others to step up. Captain Patel and 18-year-old Brookes did exactly that.

Patel took six for 76 to complete match-figures of ten for 170 (the fourth ten-in-a-match of his career) while Brookes harvested four for 56 for match-figures of eight for 119.

After Warwickshire resumed in the morning on 375 for six, they added another 64, pegged back by three wickets for Duanne Olivier who finished with four for 134.

Olivier removed Matt Lamb (a career-best 79, 155 balls, six fours) who edged to second slip before Patel and Brookes also perished via outside-edges, off Olivier and Hardus Viljeon respectively.

Tim Ambrose (40, 72 balls, five fours) shepherded the tail intelligently so that 40 were added for the last two wickets before the wicketkeeper scooped Olivier to long leg.

Derbyshire’s second innings suffered immediate damage from Brookes. The Warwickshire academy product’s first ball knocked out Luis Reece’s off-stump, the batsman offering no shot. Wayne Madsen chipped his sixth to mid-off.

Ben Slater and Alex Hughes knuckled down to add 88 in 28 overs before Patel struck twice in seven balls. Hughes (38, 83 balls, six fours) was lbw, trapped on the back foot, then Billy Godelman edged to second slip to fall for a duck.

Slater and Gary Wilson took the score to 138 for four but both then fell without the addition of another run. Slater’s impressive resistance ended at 68 (161 balls, 11 fours) when an inside-edge off Patel ball looped up off pad to short leg. Five balls later, Wilson was adjudged lbw to Brookes.

Matt Critchley fell lbw to Patel and while Viljeon conducted an entertaining counter-attack (44, 54 balls, six fours, three sixes), the innings was pared away by Patel and Brookes. Hamidullah Qadri lifted the former to mid-off and Olivier was trapped in front by the latter before Viljeon failed to connect with an attempt to smite Patel into the adjacent suburb of Moseley.

In nine overs before the close, Warwickshire lost Will Rhodes, lbw playing across the line to the big-hearted Viljoen.

Day Two – report

Important contributions from new and old guards lifted Warwickshire into control against Derbyshire on the second day of their Specsavers County Championship match at Edgbaston.

Division Two leaders Warwickshire closed on 375 for six, 57 ahead of their nearest pursuers in the league table after a day of solid advance.

Jonathan Trott struck 76 (138 balls, five fours), Chris Wright 72 (153 balls, nine fours, after going in as nightwatchman) and Ian Bell 44 (88 balls, six fours).

While those three players have 698 first-class matches between them, Will Rhodes (50, 78 balls, ten fours) and Matt Lamb (a career-best 79 not out, 150 balls, six fours) are just starting out, so their batting, the most attractive of the day, was much enjoyed by another big Birmingham crowd.

For Derbyshire, it was a testing day. On a pitch on which they choose to bat first, they bowled with insufficient accuracy to build the pressure needed to force errors. The three senior seamers having together bagged 62-6-236-3, Ravi Rampaul might be forgiven for reflecting on his omission from the team as unjust.

After resuming on 32 for one, Warwickshire lost just one wicket in the morning session. Rhodes completed his first half-century for his new club before edging Mark Footitt behind.

That was Footitt’s first wicket back at Derbyshire on loan from Nottinghamshire and a second should have soon followed when Ian Bell, on 12, edged but Billy Godleman dropped a straightforward catch at second slip.

Wright batted throughout the morning session and added 77 in 27 overs with Bell before the latter fell lbw to Hardus Viljoen. The nightwatchman was within five runs of his career-best when he missed an attempt to cut leg-spinner Matt Critchley.

When Critchley trapped Sam Hain lbw, Warwickshire were 206 for five and Derbyshire had an opening but the next hour shaped the day as Trott and Lamb added an unbroken 60 up to tea. Footitt looked understandably rusty and Viljeon and Duanne Olivier were erratic.

A day after announcing that he will retire at the end of the season, Trott showed that his appetite for runs and ability to collect them remain high. His departure, bowled by Critchley just before the close, evoked the warmest ovation of the day.

Over-aggressive at first, Lamb settled to play some pleasing strokes in the final session and help ease his side into the lead and then into a position from which a significant lead beckons tomorrow.

Day One – report

Wayne Madsen unfurled a century of high skill and courage as Warwickshire and Derbyshire swapped blows on an engrossing opening day of their Specsavers County Championship match at Edgbaston.

In a clash of Division Two’s early-season front-runners, Derbyshire chose to bat and made 318, to which Warwickshire replied with 32 for one by the close.

The visitors’ linchpin was Madsen who steered his side away from early trouble with a classy 144 (203 balls, 14 fours) – his 27th first-class century. It was completed despite a painful blow on the head from a Henry Brookes bouncer when the batsman had 82. After a seven-minutes-and-20-seconds delay for treatment, Madsen carried on with resolve undiminished to at least partially vindicate Derbyshire captain Billy Godelman’s decision to bat first.

At 84 for four and 209 for six, that decision looked dubious, but Madsen led determined resistance against a Warwickshire side which suffered another injury blow to its seam-bowling department during the day. Already without Olly Stone and Keith Barker, the Bears lost Ryan Sidebottom who suffered a side-strain midway through his tenth over in mid-afternoon.

Having chosen to bat, Derbyshire did so unevenly in the first session. Ben Slater looked set to continue his vibrant early-season form when he moved crisply to 16 (23 balls) but top-edged a pull at Chris Wright to mid-on.

Warwickshire captain Jeetan Patel then took two wickets in his first 13 balls. Luis Reece offered a return catch then Alex Hughes top-edged a sweep and was brilliantly caught by Will Rhodes running back from square leg.

When Henry Brookes hit Godleman’s leg-stump, Derbyshire were 84 for four and needed some shoring up. Madsen, dropped on 13 and 87, obliged with valuable support from Gary Wilson (34, 49 balls) and Matt Critchley (30, 41). After Wilson edged Wright to slip, Critchley batted positively until he fell lbw to Patel who soon collected his fourth wicket when Hardus Viljoen nicked behind.

Hamidullah Qadri edged Brooks to second slip but then it was the turn of Duanne Olivier (40, 72 balls, seven fours) to dig in alongside Madsen. The ninth-wicket pair added 67 in 16 overs  before Brooks bowled Madsen and Mark Footitt in five balls. Eighteen-year-old Brooks finished with a career-best four for 63 and Patel four for 94.

Warwickshire were left with 12 awkward overs batting as the floodlights fought the increasing gloom and lost Dominic Sibley who fell to an exceptional catch by Critchley at fourth slip off Olivier.

Build on "good hard win" says Troughton

Troughton’s team will return to Specsavers County Championship action fresh from an innings-and-48-run win at Northampton which sprung them to the top of Division Two. Their position at the summit was then fortified when last week’s round of matches, which they sat out, was sentenced to draws by rain.

The Bears resume with a fixture which itself has a recent history of serious weather-damage. This will be Derbyshire’s fourth championship visit to Edgbaston this century and the three previous ones were all rain-ravaged draws.

We will see how Olly and Barks are close to the game. It is a long season so what we won’t do is put them under any pressure to come back too soon.

Jim Troughton

But the Bears have fingers crossed for some sunshine as they set about striving to build upon their excellent performance at Wantage Road.

“That was a good, hard-earned win earned by disciplined cricket and hard work,” said Troughton. “Now we have to back that up.

“It was lucky for us that the last round was rain-affected so teams were denied the chance to win games. Over a long season everyone will have their good and bad luck. You have just to take advantage when Lady Luck, or Mother Nature in this case, looks favourably on you.

“Derbyshire will be tough opposition. They started the season with a great win over Middlesex and though their game at Leicester was ruined by rain, they will come to us in confident mood. So we have got to hit them hard and play the same sort of cricket that earned the win at Northampton.

“That was a really good effort. You have to play very well to win a four-day game in three days and to do that always lifts everybody. But it was just one win – now we have to go again.”

Troughton and captain Jeetan Patel could have some interesting selection issues to face with Ryan Sidebottom and Henry Brookes both taking starring roles at Northampton after replacing the injured Olly Stone and Keith Barker, both of whom could be fit to face Derbyshire.

“We will see how Olly and Barks are close to the game,” Troughton said. “It is a long season so what we won’t do is put them under any pressure to come back too soon.

“Ryan and Henry came in and did a fantastic job with bat and ball so that does take the pressure off a little bit. What those two guys need to do, if selected, is to use the confidence from last week but remember what got them success – delivering their strengths consistently.”

Warwickshire v Derbyshire classic from 1967

Pitch inspectors did not exist in 1967 but, had one been around, he would have taken a very close interest in the 22 yards of turf on which Warwickshire and Derbyshire played their championship match at Edgbaston in June 1967.

During one of the wettest summers on record, pitches around the country had been bowler-friendly all season. Throw in further recent rain before the Peakites’ visit to Birmingham and the Edgbaston track, uncovered back in ’67, of course, made for a less-than-fair fight between bat and ball.

Especially with medium-pacers of the calibre of Tom Cartwright and Jack Bannister involved. The pair shared 18 wickets with Cartwright’s match-figures showcasing his ineffable skill and control: 25.2-16-18-8.

He (Tom Cartwright) bowled a half-volley in April then didn’t bowl another until September.

Neal Abberley

Despite the poor weather, the first morning attracted a good crowd including plenty of Warwickshire fans who had taken advantage of the immense value of membership – five pounds and three shillings for a whole season’s cricket.

County cricket was in its customary state of introspection with ongoing debate about how to make championship cricket more entertaining. Two rule-changes the previous season had proved unpopular. Forbidding any polishing of the ball upset the bowlers while middle-order batsmen in particular were aggrieved at the rule limiting the first innings to 65 overs.

That 65-over rule would have been irrelevant anyway when Warwickshire and Derbyshire met on a seamer’s paradise. The match produced 313 runs for 40 wickets in 152.4 overs.

After the Bears chose to bat (teams very rarely did otherwise in those days) only some late hitting from number ten David Cook lifted them to three figures. They made just 106 – a modest total but, it was to transpire, little short of imposing in the context of the match. Bannister (seven for 52) and Cartwright (three for 11) then harnessed the copious lateral movement to skittle the Peakites for 70 and secure a first-innings lead of 36 – hefty, in these conditions.

Those conditions deteriorated further as the pitch wore. Second time round, the Bears made 80, Brian Jackson taking seven for 22, to leave Derbyshire a victory target of 117. They imploded for just 57 in 31.1 overs as Cook took two for 16, Bannister three for 31 and Cartwright, in his element, trussed up the batsmen with 11-6-7-5.

He was to finish the 1967 season with 132 championship wickets at 15.85 apiece. “He bowled a half-volley in April then didn’t bowl another until September” the great Neal Abberley once recalled of Cartwright.

Warwickshire took 12 points to Derbyshire’s nil, sending their supporters away happy to invest two and a half shillings in a pint of celebratory beer before heading home to fire up the record-player and give another spin to Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, released by the Beatles just three weeks earlier.

Opposition Overview: Warwickshire vs Derbyshire – Specsavers County Championship 2018

Derbyshire Overview

Specsavers County Championship: Division 2 (2017 performance – 8th)

Royal London One-Day Cup: North Group (2017 performance – 7th )

Vitality Blast: North Group (2017 performance – quarter-finals)

Captain(s): Billy Godleman, Gary Wilson was Blast captain in 2017.

Coach / Director of Cricket: Kim Barnett (cricket advisor), John Wright (Vitality Blast coach), Steve Stubbings (first team coach).

Overseas Players: Duanne Olivier (April-June)

Ins and Outs: In Ravi Rampaul, James Kettleborough . Out Imran Tahir, Matt Henry, Shiv Thakor, Ben Cotton, Tom Taylor, Greg Cork, Rob Hemmings, Tom Milnes.

Man on a Mission

Hardus Viljoen will be aiming to hit the ground running next month after injuries kept him out for a big chunk of last season. The South African fast bowler showed why Derbyshire signed him on a three year contract when he took 15 wickets against Sussex at Hove in September, the first player to achieve the feat for the county since 1952. If the 29-year-old stays fit, his pace and hostility will be a key weapon in both red and white ball cricket.

One to Watch

Duanne Olivier’s pace promises to provide Derbyshire with a menacing new ball attack in the first half of the season. The 25-year-old already has experience of English conditions having played two Tests for South Africa last summer and he also brings consistency and control in the one-day format. Derbyshire are hoping his hunger to develop and improve as a cricketer will help them make a strong start to the season.

Local Hero

Alex Hughes enjoyed his best season in 2017 when success in all formats was recognised with the award of his county cap. The 26-year-old all-rounder is a fine advertisement for the academy system and is looking to play a bigger role as a bowler this summer after making big strides as a batsman last year when he was the county’s leading scorer in first-class matches. A cricketer who puts team success above personal goals, he is an important part of Derbyshire’s plans going forward.

Prospects for 2018

Although there has already been a setback with the news that Mitchell Santner will be unable to take up his contract as overseas player for the second half of the season because of a knee problem, there are certainly grounds for optimism. The pace attack should be formidable if Viljoen and Olivier stay fit and with the experience of Tony Palladino and Ravi Rampaul in support, Billy Godleman will have a strong bowling unit to take into the first three months. Will Davis is also looking to build on some promising performances with the new ball at the start of 2017 before injury halted his progress while Alex Hughes and Luis Reece offer further seam options. Derbyshire are hoping Matt Critchley’s experience with the England Lions will help his development and the return of John Wright as specialist T20 coach has encouraged expectations that the team can reach another quarter-final at least. Wayne Madsen had an outstanding tournament although the County Championship season was a lean one by his high standards and it is important he resumes normal service this year. A first four day home win since September 2014 is a priority although performances towards the end of last summer were encouraging and Godleman believes the squad should be better equipped to compete. “On paper, it’s considerably more experienced than it has been over the last three or four years,” he said. “We have a nice blend and balance in the squad.”

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