A rain-affected match at the 3aaa County Ground at Derby might very well have ended in a tedious draw. An attempt by both sides to force a result, however, saw the match roll out instead into a rather eventful draw.
With no play having been possible on Day Three and the match still in the first innings, Derbyshire took the initiative and declared early on the final day with 77/2. In return, Gloucestershire took 49 runs before following suit and declaring themselves. They had set their hosts 302 to win in 80 overs.
The visitors took control quickly, taking early wickets and damaging Derbyshire’s hopes. When a lovely full length David Payne ball removed Tillakaratne Dilshan, the hosts were flailing at 35/3.
Dilshan was the second of Payne’s three wickets, taken at a cost of just 36 runs, but it was Billy Godleman who really stole the day. Derbyshire’s stand-in captain put on a display not unlike that we saw at Lord’s in 2013. In an innings that lasted for more than five hours, he made 64 runs off 228 balls.
His partnership with Shiv Thakor lasted 69 runs before Thakor was lbw for 43. When young keeper Harvey Hosein was bowled by Liam Norwell in the 59th over, the Falcons were six wickets down for just 143 runs. By now, they were just playing for time.
Locals no doubt took a sharp breath as Tony Palladino, always handy with a bat in the lower order, was beaten by Jack Taylor’s off-spin late in the day but Godleman’s grim determination paid off. The hosts only made it as far as 189 runs, still way short of their target, but no more wickets after the exit of Palladino.
A draw it would be after all, but it was far from a boring one.
It might not have been a result and it might not have been a win for either side, but both sides went out today determined to play cricket properly. That’s always worth applauding.