There may have been confusion at the end of Derbyshire’s last home match, but there was no confusion in the improvement that Derbyshire showed in their draw against Leicestershire last time out. A draw which leaves Derbyshire one point and one place above their visitors Gloucestershire in the County Championship Division Two table, both having played four in the matches column, however one of those for Gloucestershire was abandoned without a ball being bowled.
Both sides have had trouble bowling sides out this season, with Gloucestershire failing to take twenty wickets in a match so far and Derbyshire having completed this feat just once, last time out against Leicestershire. Gloucestershire have faired slightly better with the bat, having amassed 569 in one innings in their first game of the season, however since then they have failed to pass 250 in their next four innings. Derbyshire having passed 300 in all three completed innings at home so far this season.
Neither side will be happy with where they find themselves after the opening four games of the season, both would have been hoping to be in the top few places of the table and will be looking to alter that as soon as possible. Derbyshire have brought in reinforcements in the shape of Henry Brookes who will be playing his second game of an initial two game loan from Warwickshire, having claimed seven wickets at a cost of 11.14 Derbyshire will be hoping for more of the same in this match. Gloucestershire may have Matt Taylor back to bolster their ranks after being named in the squad to face Sussex having been declared fit, however he did not make the final eleven.
Whoever plays, both sides will be hoping to claim their first victory of the season and with just twelve covering the bottom four places in the table, that victory could catapult them up to fifth if results go their way.
Derbyshire When a side is looking for its first victory it needs its senior players to stand up, although not senior in age, Sam Conners is senior in the attack. He has played 35 First Class matches now and last time out took his 100th First Class wicket. Having taken 50 wickets in the championship last season, earning him an England Lions call, he will be keen to add to his tally of 10 wickets so far this season. He started the Summer bowling first change, however the match against Leicestershire saw him return to opening the bowling and he looked much happier and in better rhythm. If Conners can lead the attack and set the tone at the outset of the innings then, Derbyshire will be hoping for wickets and success to follow.
In the era of “Bazball!” or whatever you want to call it there has been a forgotten man, the discussion around who should keep wicket for England appears to be limited to Foakes or Bairstow, however it is not that long ago that James Bracey was automatically in that discussion as well. He may not have impressed hugely in his two Test Match appearances, but his quality is undoubted. So far this season he has scored 121 runs in six innings at an average of 20.16 batting at three. If he can return to form and get back to his free scoring best then Gloucestershire will have a real weapon at number three who can take the game away from Derbyshire.
Derbyshire Henry Brookes will again be available on loan from Warwickshire so expect him to play, this should give both Ben Aitchison and Suranga Lackmal more time to return to fitness. Harry Came is expected to open the innings again, with Billy Godleman absent from the squad last week. Anuj Dal is out injured, with no date for a return announced, so expect the same eleven which drew with Leicestershire.
Gloucestershire have had a week off to rest their bodies so should have no new injury concerns, expect a similar thirteen man squad to the one named for the match with Sussex, where the playing eleven were supplemented by Matt Taylor who is returning from injury and Ben Charlesworth.
Gloucestershire squad (tbc)
Weather and Conditions
As ever at the moment it appears the weather will be playing a role in this match with rain forecast for days one and four, so expect some interruptions. The temperatures look set to be pleasant enough, so when sheltering from the rain, you should at least be warm. The last match played at the Incora County Ground, yielded an exciting affair, with batters who applied themselves able to score runs, but with enough for bowlers to make it interesting. Expect no different this match and if the weather allows, a result should be in the offing.
Date:11th May – 14th May
Time: 11.00 am
Ground: Incora County Ground, Derby