It’s first against second at Emerald Headingley, as Yorkshire welcome Derbyshire in the the North Group of the Bob Willis Trophy.
Both sides have played two and won two, both sides beating Nottinghamshire, whilst Yorkshire’s have also put Durham to the sword, whilst Derbyshire sent the running foxes of Leicestershire packing to give them 44 points, while Yorkshire have collected four fewer batting points to have accrued a total of 40.
Derbyshire will have to contend with one of their former players in Duanne Olivier, who spent time at the club as an overseas player and made a big impression in a successful spell. Since signing for Yorkshire he has been equally impressive. Derbyshire will hope their knowledge helps to combat him.
This season more than any, access to being able to watch the matches is key, and the live streaming services counties have provided have been an excellent way to do this, however this match will only be available to stream for members of each club. So if you are looking to watch and cannot then sadly you will have to look for your cricket fix elsewhere.
If it were just a league situation Derbyshire, with current bottom side Durham to play, may say a draw would be a good result. However with only the two division winners with the best records progressing to the final, every point is crucial to ensure they in one of those places and improve their chances of making the Lord’s final. With the weather forecast for Leeds over the four days of the match looking less than ideal, both sides may have to settle for a draw, so bonus points will be at a premium along with the eight points received for the draw.
In a side low on bowling experience, Yorkshire have a diamond in Kolpak signing Duanne Olivier and they will be leaning on him throughout the competition to help the crop of young bowlers who are currently playing in the side. Olivier offers more than experience though, he is a proven wicket-taker, in his only game this season he took five wickets and lead the attack well and will be looking for more of the same against Derbyshire this week.
Like Olivier, Derbyshire also have a Kolpak signing in Leus du Plooy, who at the end of the season will either return to South Africa or play as an overseas player in. Du Plooy has been a revelation since signing at the beginning of last season, batting at four in the order he has regularly scored big runs and has already amassed 192 runs in just three innings, with one hundred and one fifty, averaging 64. He also has a bit of a golden arm when bowling his slow left arm spin bowling and regularly breaks partnerships when Billy Godleman turns to him for a wicket. In general if Du Plooy does well, so do Derbyshire.
Yorkshire’s squad has a strong look about it, with plenty of experience in it with Malan, Lyth, Bairstow, Olivier and Patterson, however the rest of the squad shows a degree of inexperience. With Ben Coad and Matt Fisher missing through injury and David Willey potentially still absent due to his central contract, it has fallen to younger players to fill that void, which they have done admirably and Yorkshire will be hoping they can continue to back up the experienced pair of Olivier and captain Patterson. If they are looking to rotate, a more experienced seamer in the Matt Pillans could be the man to come in and do that.
Derbyshire have looked to rotate their bowlers so far this season, with only Sam Conners having played both games, Dustin Melton, Ed Barnes and Anuj Dal playing the last game and Michael Cohen, Ben Aitchison and leg spinner Mattie McKiernan playing the first game. Ed Barnes, who is on loan from Yorkshire, will be unable to play against his home county so will be replaced and do not expect that to be the only change as Dave Houghton may look to continue rotation to keep his seamers fresh and protect them in this shortened and compact season. McKiernan may not play, with spinning duties being the responsibility of Matt Critchley. New signing Brooke Guest may play, the wicket keeper signed from Lancashire last week, although this may be as a batsman only, as Hosein scored an unbeaten 66 last time out and kept well, rotating him out this game would be harsh.
Weather and Conditions
The weather forecast does not look good for Leeds over the four days. Days one and four look the best days for cricket to be played, but even then the players could well end up cold and damp for their troubles. When there is play, it will be the first scheduled play Emerald Headingley this season, with Yorkshire having played been on the road as much as the nomadic Derbyshire this season, so Andy Fogarty and ground staff will have had plenty of time to make it a good wicket.
Dates : 15th to 18th August
Time : 11am
Ground : Emerald Headingley Stadium, Leeds
Match Odds (Sky Bet)
Yorkshire 1/2 Derbyshire 13/8