Two seemingly evenly-matched sides meet in this early season encounter at Bristol, both hoping to record their first wins of campaign.
The hosts drew with Northamptonshire in their first fixture at Wantage Road. In a high scoring affair played upon a blameless surface, Northants set Gloucestershire a massive 453 in the final innings to win the match. In the event the visitors emerged with credit, making 296/2 to merit a hard-fought draw. The main Gloucestershire contributor was opener Chris Dent who made an unbeaten 104 from 285 balls.
Derbyshire lost their opening match at Derby to Lancashire. Like Gloucestershire, the Midlanders faced a large total to win in the fourth innings, 365. They were bowled out for 114 with only New Zealand World Cup hero Martin Guptill and skipper Wayne Madsen reaching double figures. But Derbyshire will be comforted by the batting form in the first innings of Billy Godleman and Wes Durston, both of whom made healthy totals (76 and 85 respectively).
In addition to Dent, 20-year-old seamer Craig Miles was Gloucestershire’s stand out performer at Northampton. In the home side’s first innings he took 6/63, following this with two more wickets in the second innings. Fresh from a winter in South Africa with the England Potential Performance Programme (at which he was accompanied by Derbyshire’s Mark Footit) Miles will be looking to build on this excellent start in the damp early season conditions at Nevil Road promised by this week’s weather forecast.
Derbyshire’s Stoke-on-Trent born Tom Taylor is only a few months younger than Miles and delivered a very similar performance with his quickies against Lancashire. He too took eight wickets in the match, achieving the excellent figures of 6/61 in the Red Rose County’s second innings .
Both counties have named unchanged squads for the Bristol game. For Gloucestershire it will be a first home appearance as captain for Geraint Jones and home debuts for Kiwi Kieran Noema-Barnett and Australian overseas player Peter Handscomb.
Gloucestershire squad: Geraint Jones (captain), Chris Dent, James Fuller, Peter Handscomb, Hamish Marshall, Craig Miles, Kieran Noema-Barnett, Liam Norwell, David Payne, Gareth Roderick (wicketkeeper), Tom Smith, Will Tavare, Matt Taylor
Derbyshire’s Elite Performance Director Graeme Welch has named the squad that faced Lancashire. Jonathan Clare again is absent through injury, but another long-term injury absentee, spinner David Wainwright, returned to action for the Second XI this week as he continues his recovery.
Derbyshire squad: Wayne Madsen (captain), Ben Cotton, Wes Durston, Mark Footitt, Billy Godleman, Martin Guptill, Harvey Hosein (wicketkeeper), Alex Hughes, Chesney Hughes, Tony Palladino, Ben Slater, Tom Taylor, Shiv Thakor
Weather and conditions
The weather forecast for Bristol for the duration of the match is unsettled. For the first two days it is mainly dry with sunny intervals but the latter part of the match is likely to be rain- affected. It will be distinctly chilly for the whole period of the match.
Date: 26th – 29th April 2015
Ground: The County Ground, Nevil Road, Bristol
Umpires: Steve Gale and Martin Saggers
Odds (via SkyBet): Gloucestershire 10/11, Derbyshire 10/11