Division Two sees third play fourth this week, both hoping for a slip up by Middlesex.
Derbyshire visit Cardiff in the penultimate round of Championship fixtures, both having seen their promotion chances take a big hit following Glamorgan’s capitulation to Middlesex last week. Glamorgan had fielded the extra batter at Lords, but it was this part of their game that badly let them down as they collapsed from 123/0 to 220 all out in their second innings, eventually losing by ten wickets. Glamorgan now trail Middlesex by 12 points with Derbyshire a further seven points back, but with Middlesex playing whipping boys Leicestershire this week, they only look likely to strengthen their position.
In the reverse fixture back in April, Derbyshire were nearly undone by an unlikely run chase from Glamorgan. Billy Godleman declared three down in their second innings, setting Glamorgan a target of 331 from 55 overs. Glamorgan were aggressive from the start and reached a point where they required just 36 off the last five overs, with five wickets in hand. However the Derbyshire bowlers fought back, taking three quick wickets and eventually it was Glamorgan who had to hang on for the draw. If the game this week produces a similar ending the spectators will be well entertained and given that it is a must win for both sides, that scenario is quite possible.
Derbyshire did not play in the last round of matches and all teams in both Divisions will be involved in the final two weeks of the competition. In their last outing they had the better of Durham, who had to hold out for a draw. Derbyshire have only registered two Championship wins this year, drawing seven, with the bowlers finding it difficult to take the 20 wickets required for a win. Glamorgan, through Michael Hogan and Michael Neser have achieved that feat on five occasions, but the loss of Neser has left their attack weakened. Both sides have strong batting line-ups, but Glamorgan’s has faltered in the last two games, failing to pass the follow on target against Worcestershire and then setting Middlesex a paltry 45 to win in the last round.
It seems likely that the batters will be dominant in this game given the respective strengths of the two teams, but the fact that both sides need the win means that an exciting finish is on the cards.
Both teams will be looking to their bowlers to get them over the lineand for Glamorgan the main threat will come from Michael Hogan, as it has since he joined the club 10 years ago. With the 41-year-old retiring at the end of the season, this will be his penultimate game and he will be keen to lead Glamorgan to a win. He is their top wicket-taker in the competition, with 40 at 26.12 and he defied the years this season with a call up to the Hundred. He will be leaving a big hole for Glamorgan to fill.
At 23, Sam Conners is at the other end of his career, but the seamer has been a consistent performer for Derbyshire this season, taking 42 wickets albeit at the slightly costly average of 37.16. He will be looking to improve on that statistic, but his performances were rewarded with selection for the England Lions team that played South Africa. He showed his potential by helping secure the Lions win with 4/25 in the South African second innings. Undoubtedly we will see him in a full England side in due course.
Glamorgan have announced a number of departures this week and their selection options are limited. The question is whether they wish to strengthen their bowling line up, as the use of David Lloyd as the fourth seamer has resulted in figures of 0/122 in the last two matches. Neser has been replaced in the squad by New Zealand left arm spinner Ajaz Patel who has figures of 4/170 from the two games he has played. It may be that Glamorgan will try and produce a turning pitch and bring off-spinner, Andrew Salter into the squad. He is Glamorgan’s third highest wicket taker with 26 wickets at 32.65.
Glamorgan squad: TBC
Derbyshire have named a 12-man squad. They are currently without an overseas player following the call-up of Shan Masood by Pakistan for their upcoming IT20 series against England. Scottish left arm spinner Mark Watt is also out, replaced by off-spinner Alex Thomson. In the absence of George Scrimshaw, Cardiff-born seamer Adam Sylvester has been signed for the final two games of the season, having impressed in recent second team games. Sylvester is a fiery character who has a somewhat chequered disciplinary record in club cricket.
Derbyshire squad: Billy Godleman (c), Ben Aitchison, Harry Came, Sam Conners, Anuj Dal, Leus Du Plooy, Brooke Guest (wk), Wayne Madsen, Nick Potts, Luis Reece, Adam Sylvester, Alex Thomson
Weather and Conditions
The forecast looks to be cloudy but hopefully there will not be too much in the way of rain.
In the last game at Sophia Gardens it was the seam bowlers who held sway. However it may be that Glamorgan will this time put their faith in Patel and try and produce a pitch that will aid the spinners. The forecast dry period could assist with this.
Date: 20th – 23rd September 2022
Ground: Sophia Gardens