And just like that, we’re back to proper cricket: four days, County Championship, proper whites, the works.
Stiaan Van Zyl is still crocked and I look around the squad.
We’ve tried strengthening the batting. This hasn’t really worked. Especially against Middlesex last time. We got our clock cleaned.
So George Garton, who was so good earlier in the season, gets a recall and Luke Wells gets a chance to bat a place higher than normal – at 2 with Laurie Evans at 3.
Derbyshire are seventh, two places below us. They look very similar to the side that cheated us of a win away from home, before all that T20 nonsense began.
With due apologies to the good folk at Deep Extra Cover, I’d like to cuff this lot.
They win the toss. I have no comment on the particular statistic and the win/loss ratio.
Billy Godleman and Leus du Plooy open for the midlanders (see Ed, I learn!), and we examine their strengths and weaknesses to set the fields for our opening bowlers Stuart Meaker and Mitchell Claydon.
This works well and the openers are tied down, until Godleman miscues a straight drive and the left hander is sharply taken at point by David Wiese. 7-1.
I’m really pleased – not to say staggeringly surprised- with our opening pair. Their first boundary only comes in the sixth over. We’ve kept it tighter than a mermaid’s g-string here.
Things get even better when Alex Hughes pops a limp caught and bowled back to Claydon. 19-2 from 7.3 overs.
“God I love the smell of demoralising opponents in the morning”, I smugly tell the assistant sitting with me on the pavilion steps.
Harvey Hosein begins trying to up their run rate, as our bowlers change to David Wiese and Garton.
Wiese concedes 13 runs from two overs before cleaning du Plooy up by smashing out his off peg. Great ball; great cricket. 60-3.
Matthew Critchley comes to the wicket. I look at his profile and see that he isn’t a fan of back foot, off side, play. His duck takes eight balls before eventually he’s snagged by Ben Brown behind the stumps. 61-4.
Anuj Dal begins to bring the fight to us as lunch draws closer. He hits 33 from 34 balls, taking an especial liking to Meaker who he smears for 16 off one over.
Hosein eventually wafts at one and Brown makes no mistake. Garton has his second wicket, Hosein does not have his fifty – having fallen for 49 – and we’re 131-5 at lunch.
I stick with Wiese and Garton after the hearty fare of the lunch room. It doesn’t take long for our South African marvel to get his second wicket, Dal gone lbw for 43. 135-6.
Sean Abbott is next to go, snicking another catch to Brown for 4 off Meaker. 153-7
Finn Hudson-Prentice, who has impressed me when we faced Derbyshire this season, has made a very tidy 19 from 44 balls. He really impresses me, right up until he spoons one to Wells off Claydon. 175-8.
Tony Palladino decides that today is the day that he can channel Enrique Inglesias and be a hero. His 32 comes off as many balls before Meaker clips his off peg, beating him for pace.
But he and Michael Cohen (the South African cricketer – unsurprisingly – not the ever-so-not-suspect-honest-guv-Trump lawyer) have moved Derbyshire to 234-9 which is … vexing.
Cohen is finally caught by Brown for 38 and Derbyshire finish 235 all out.
Mitchell Claydon has taken 4-42 from 15.3 overs, which will do, and we have 3 bonus points.
Which is nice.
By tea, we are 9-0.
After tea we bat about as well as I’ve ever seen us.
Phillip Salt and Luke Wells are patient but positive. They wait for the bad ball, pick Derbyshire’s honest attack off when they can.
We skip along to 80.
With 20 minutes of the day remaining, Hudson-Prentice clean bowls Wells with a decent ball and we’re 80-1.
At the end of day one, we head back to the pavilion 95-1, 140 runs behind the visitors.