The challenge is to get Sussex promoted after five seasons languishing in the second tier. There was money to play with but my acquisitions have plunged us into the red. Against Nottinghamshire we have scraped a rain affected draw.
And so to the north. Derbyshire look a bit “meh”.
They are seventh in the table having won only one game this season.
But, three guys averaging over 40 with the bat, and a couple of guys averaging around 20 with the ball, means they are not to be underestimated.
George Munsey is the one in the firing line. This season he averages 19.33, and his pressurised 32 last time out just wasn’t that great under the circumstances.
25-year-old Harry Finch looks to be in fine form and gets the nod over T20 international Delray Rawlins who might, rightly, be aggrieved.
Apart from that, I leave well enough alone. I hope.
We win the toss (hooray!). I look at the pitch and the weather (both set fair with the exception of day 3, which looks like it’s going to rain and beam round corners).
We trot along to 19-0 when Derbyshire’s Australian Sean Abbott clean bowls Luke Wells, beating him for pace. But we’ve got our own Southern Hemisphere chappie, Stiaan van Zyl, coming in to settle the nerves. Then Abbott pops up again and cleans up Phillip Salt.
Salty is cleaned up for 24, again beating him for pace.
He’s not bad this boy. 36-2.
At lunch we are 117-2.
Our Australian, Travis Head, brings up his 50 from 84 balls while big Steelan follows next over with a 50 from 94. We are 140-2 at 14:02.
I edge up both players’ aggression as they are so settled, assuming this will make them lose their wickets immediately. Instead, van Zyl seems to retreat into his shell while Head appears to go mental. His 100 arrives off 155 balls while off 152 balls, van Zyl is still on 67.
We are 209-2.
Van Zyl’s weird turtle-like innings ends as he falls to a catch off the bowling of, guess who? Yes, that’s right: Abbott – for 82 from 175.
But we’ve been in worse spots than 228-3 this season. Harry Finch has a chance to make his name here. He does really well and begins eating up deliveries and playing sensibly.
We continue relentlessly to rack up runs. Derbyshire take the new ball and Head eventually falls to Tony Palladino. His 158 off 242 has been the knock of the first innings.
At the end of day one, Bopara is 10 not out from 20, and Finch is on 47 from 110 and, frankly, vindicating my selection. 345-3 is a decent platform.