The third round of fixtures sees Durham welcome Derbyshire to the Emirates Riverside for their first home game of the season. Durham have so far drawn one and lost one, whilst Derbyshire have drawn both their opening fixtures. The sides find themselves sitting in fifth and third place respectively in the group 1 table, separated by eight points.
With Warwickshire and Essex, who currently fill the top two slots in the table, playing each other this week, a win for either Durham or Derbyshire could see themselves starting round four of the fixtures in the top two of the table – so long as Essex and Warwickshire don’t draw at Edgbaston.
Both sides will arrive for this match with a slight taste of disappointment in their mouth from last week’s results. Durham pushed the current County Champions and Bob Willis Trophy holders to the limit, dismissing them for just 96 in their first innings. When set 178 runs to win in their second innings, however, they succumbed to the brilliance of Simon Harmer and fell 44 runs short.
Derbyshire also pushed their opposition to the limit and will be unhappy to not have come away with a victory. For them, however, it was Worcestershire’s rear guard batting that denied them a victory. The Rapids’ tail stood firm and Derbyshire had to settle for a draw, taking just the 8 wickets in the 84 overs they bowled.
Both sides will be looking to secure their first win of the Summer and build on the promising displays they have shown so far from players such as Scott Borthwick and Matt Critchley.
The bookies have Derbyshire favourites for the game at odds on, while Durham are odds against. I can see the home side nicking this one, though, and would not be surprised if Durham were victorious.
When you are part of a bowling attack that boasts Chris Rushworth, it would be easy to think you will be feeding off scraps and not get noticed as a quick bowler. Brydon Carse, however,has done exactly the opposite. He complements the other seamers beautifully; he is quick and has already found himself on the England radar and; if he continues in the form he has shown this season, he will do his selection chances no harm. So far this season, Carse has taken 12 wickets at a smidge under 23 runs per wicket. If he can continue that form against Derbyshire, Durham’s chances will be greatly enhanced.
Whenever something familiar happens, it’s reassuring and makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Derbyshire supporters get that feeling when Wayne Madsen scores runs. After three low scores, that warm fuzzy feeling washed over Derbyshire when he scored a well crafted 66 in the second innings last time out. If Derbyshire are to succeed this season, and in this game in what no doubt will be tricky early season conditions up north, the batting prowess of Madsen will be vital.
After a strong showing, albeit in defeat against Essex, there are unlikely to be any changes to the squad from that game. Cameron Steel will definitely not be playing, as he has joined Hampshire on loan and, despite returning from the IPL, Ben Stokes is back to recover from a broken finger and not to play for Durham.
Mark Wood, who has missed the first two fixtures of the season, may be available, although the ECB have not yet announced this. If he is available, expect him to play. If there are to be any batting changes, both Graham Clark and Michael Jones scored centuries in the week for the seconds and could be pushing for inclusion.
There will be an injury concern around skipper Billy Godleman, who retired hurt in Derbyshire’s second innings last time out and then hardly fielded in the fourth innings. If Godleman is not fit to play, expect Tom Wood to be added to the squad and potentially open in Godleman’s place. Derbyshire may look to rotate their seamers after two games, with Scrimshaw chomping at the bit to make a debut and Alex Hughes, who scored a double century for the seconds in the week, also staking his claim for inclusion.
Durham CCC : DL
Derbyshire CCC : DD
Weather and Conditions
Durham’s early season pitches always offer something for the bowler. It’s likely this one will be no different, although as this is the first match to be played at Durham this season we cannot know for sure – particularly with the increased eight points on offer for the draw.
The weather looks set fair for the four days of the game – should all four days be required – although chilly, so the players may need their hand warmers. Sitting inside watching on the live stream, the cold shouldn’t affect too many supporters.
Dates : 22nd to 25th April
Time : 11am
Ground : Emirates Riverside, Chester-le-Street, Durham
Match Odds (Sky Bet): Durham CCC 11/8 Derbyshire CCC 8/15