Vitality County Championship Match Preview: Glamorgan v Derbyshire

Vitality County Championship Match Preview: Glamorgan v Derbyshire

Derbyshire hoping for better luck with the weather in Cardiff

These two sides met in Cardiff in the final round of last year’s competition, the game ending in a draw after Kiran Carlson, the Glamorgan skipper made an aggressive first innings declaration, 149 runs behind. The Derbyshire declaration in their second innings was perhaps overly cautious, leaving Glamorgan with the tough ask of 384 to win in 70 overs and they did not ever get going. In the end it was a matter of the Glamorgan batters hanging on for the draw, ending six wickets down and Derbyshire may have regretted not giving themselves more time to try and secure their first win of the campaign.

Given the way the Cardiff pitches played last year, it may need some inventive captaincy to fashion a result again this week. Whatever happens, the Derbyshire players will just be grateful to get onto the field after their opening fixture against Gloucestershire was washed out without a ball bowled. Their pre season preparations were also affected by the weather, so they will be coming into this game a little rusty. They are led by last year’s Glamorgan captain David Lloyd, who will know Sophia Gardens well, having been a product of Glamorgan’s development pathway. He could be joined in the Derbyshire side by another Welsh product Aneurin Donald, the hard hitting batter having arrived in Derby this winter via Hampshire. Two other players who could be making their debut will be Kiwi quick Blair Tickner and Pat Brown from Worcestershire. Five pace bowlers were part of the squad selected for the Gloucestershire match, but with the use of a Kookaburra ball again for this round they might well choose to play three seamers, with the additional bowling of Lloyd, alongside two spinners. Off-spinner Alex Thomson was Derbyshire’s leading Championship wicket taker in 2023 and he could be joined by young left armer Jack Morley, on loan from Lancashire. The 22-year-old has represented England at under 19 level and taken 25 first class wickets from nine starts.

The loss of Leus du Plooy leaves a big hole in the Derbyshire batting, but it was taking wickets rather than a lack of runs that was behind the absence of wins last season. Luis Reece prospered when he was promoted to the top of the order and he will open with young Harry Came. Lloyd will come in at three, followed by Brooke Guest and then the final two batting places are between Donald, Matt Lamb and the evergreen Wayne Madsen, now in his 41st year. Madsen has been playing for Italy over the winter alongside fellow South African Gareth Berg, qualifying thanks to an Italian grandmother. Anuj Dal tends to be favoured at seven, in the all rounder role.

Glamorgan participated in the one first round game to be uninterrupted by the weather and their bowlers might be regretting that fact, having had to put down 211.2 overs in the Middlesex first innings. It was hard work for the seamers with the Kookaburra ball on a flat Lord’s deck and it seems likely that Mason Crane will be included, with another week using the same ball. The Glamorgan bowlers toiled admirably, with Dan Douthwaite looking the most dangerous, included primarily as a batter following a rather wayward bowling effort in the single preseason game they were able to play. This is good news for coach Grant Bradburn as it allows him to play Crane instead of one of the seamers, probably James Harris. The bowling resources are somewhat limited following injury to Timm van der Gugten while away with the Netherlands. Pakistan’s Mir Hamza took one wicket at Lords and Craig MIles has been brought in on loan from Warwickshire, but Glamorgan lack anyone with enough pace to really hurry batters, particularly on the turgid surfaces that have been the norm in Cardiff. Kiran Carlson bowled 47 overs of his part time off spin and could be in for a long stint again this week.

The Glamorgan batters were able to get plenty of practice at Lords, opener Zain ul-Hassan the only one to miss out. Billy Root has been pressed into service at the top of the order, following the loss of Eddie Byrom with a dislocated shoulder and was able to post 67 in the first innings at Lords. Root’s rather jittery movements when batting might not suit facing the new ball and it will be interesting to see how he goes if the ball starts moving around. Sam Northeast has taken over the captaincy and moved to three in the absence of Marnus Labuschagne. He certainly profited, making the highest first class score seen at Lord’s, ending on 335 not out, while Carlson and Ingram both scored runs.

As with Derbyshire last season, Glamorgan’s inability to win games was due to not taking wickets rather than lack of runs.

Glamorgan will have benefited from the time spent on the field and should have an advantage as a result. The weather also seems to be improving and with the fast drying outfield at Sophia Gardens we should be in store for plenty of play. However the likely docile nature of the pitch may make wicket-taking by two attacks that have been short of fire power difficult and a draw must be the most likely outcome.

Key players:

If Glamorgan are going to have any serious ambitions to challenge for one of the promotion spots they are going to need to start bowling sides out. They are not helped by the slow pitches that tend to be produced in Cardiff. The Kookaburra ball will be used again this week and spin might be key. Glamorgan have signed Mason Crane on season-long loan and will have regretted leaving him out of the side that played at Lords. He extracted slow turn in the preseason game at Cardiff UCCE and will likely have a long bowl this week. He has struggled to get in the Hampshire red ball side because of the exploits of Liam Dawson, taking just one wicket in the two matches he played last summer and will be keen to rebuild his career after his single Test back in 2018.

Derbyshire will be hoping that New Zealand’s Blair Tickner can inject some firepower into an attack that lacked a cutting edge last year. He should have been bowling alongside Mohammad Amir, but the Pakistan quick has joined up with his national side in a bid to play in the T20 World Cup. Tickner is available for the first nine Championship games, as well as eight Blast fixtures. He can bowl at up to 90 mph and should create problems for the Glamorgan batters, even on the slow surface he is likely to encounter this week.

Team News:

There are unlikely to be any changes to the squad that went up to Lord’s, unless any of the seamers have had a reaction after their prolonged bowl. Crane will likely start in place of Harris. Harry Podmore is sidelined with a hand injury.

Glamorgan squad (probable): Sam Northeast (c), Kiran Carlson, Chris Cooke (wk), Mason Crane, Dan Douthwaite, Mir Hamza, James Harris, Colin Ingram, Craig Miles, Jamie McIlroy, Billy Root, Asa Tribe, Zain ul-Hassan

Mickey Arthur chose a 14 man squad for the Gloucestershire game and we wait to see if all will travel. It seems likely both spinners will play, with Lloyd able to contribute alongside three seamers.

Derbyshire squad (probable): David Lloyd (c), Pat Brown, Harry Came, Zak Chappell, Sam Conners, Anuj Dal, Aneurin Donald, Brooke Guest (wk), Matt Lamb, Wayne Madsen, Jack Morley, Luis Reece, Alex Thomson, Blair Tickner

Weather and Conditions

The current forecast is for a dry first three days with perhaps some showers on Monday. Temperatures might be a little warmer.

The bowlers should not be expecting too much help from the pitch and batting first might not be a bad option, despite the early season conditions. The odds are on a high scoring draw, so probably over in two days.

Date: 12-15 April 2024

Time: 11:00

Ground: Sophia Gardens, Cardiff


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.