Vitality County Championship Match Preview: Gloucestershire v Derbyshire

Vitality County Championship Match Preview: Gloucestershire v Derbyshire

David Lloyd and Mickey Arthur at Sophia Gardens

The Shire will be looking to further their promotion aspirations against struggling Derbyshire

Both sides will be desperate to finish this block of County Championship matches with a win, but for very different reasons. The home side, who find themselves fourth in the table on 76 points and within touching distance of the top two, will want to cement their place as promotion hopefuls as we break for a white ball section of the season. Derbyshire on the other hand find themselves rooted to the foot of the table on 55 points and need a first win in over a season, in red ball cricket, to show they can still compete in the first class game.

Both sides have highly respected coaches at the helm, Derbyshire with Mickey Arthur, a coach of many years international experience, having coached South Africa, Australia and most recently Pakistan. However that international experience has yet to translate to an improvement in Derbyshire’s fortunes, their last Championship win coming back in 2022, in Arthur’s first season in charge. While he may not have the same level of international experience Mark Alleyne, in his second stint as Gloucestershire Head Coach, is having the impact that supporters would hope to see. In fact if they win this week, they will have surpassed their points total from last season by the mid way point.  What Derbyshire supporters would give for that points return right now.

They have both had a recent outing against Northants, Derbyshire clinging on for a draw on the last day and Gloucestershire winning handsomely by 256 runs. By the time the dust has settled on Bank Holiday Monday, we shall see if the teams really are as far apart as the table and recent results indicate.

Key Players

Nothing gets the blood pumping like a big, strong, strapping fast bowler charging in and making the batters jump around and take their wicket. Well if that is true, the blood must be pumping regularly in Bristol as Gloucestershire have Marchant DeLange in their ranks and he ticks everyone of those boxes. He is genuinely quick, almost scary quick, plus he makes the ball talk and is a genuine wicket taker, in his last match taking eight wickets for just 100 runs. Derbyshire will be hoping this form deserts him, although in the other two matches he has played he has taken another 10 wickets, so I hope they aren’t holding their breath.

When you are struggling for runs as a side, a good start to the innings is key. In their nine innings so far this season, Derbyshire’s opening pair have put on a 50 opening stand just once, against Leicestershire. This has seen Harry Came dropped for the last two matches and captain David Lloyd promoted to open with Luis Reece. This as yet has failed to address the problem, although Lloyd’s positivity at the start of the innings has been refreshing. However, if he is to bat at the top he must convert his starts to bigger scores and not leave his side one down for not many. If Derbyshire can get a big opening stand, providing their quick scoring middle order a platform, they may just post a winning total.

Team News

Gloucestershire will have overseas players Cameron Bancroft and Beau Webster available and will be looking forward to the return of De Lange. Singh Dale who was rested for the last match is expected back, bolstering their fast bowling ranks.

Gloucestershire squad: (tbc)

As an away game usually means Derbyshire will play a spinner, expect either Alex Thomson or loanee Jack Morley to come into the squad. Zak Chappell may be rested with one eye on the upcoming T20 Blast, so Sam Conners may also come back into the side. Harry Came, who was told to go and score runs in the second eleven has gone away and scored runs in the second eleven, so don’t be surprised if he returns. There are no fresh injuries to report for Derbyshire so Mickey Arthur should have a full squd to choose from.

Derbyshire squad: (tbc)

Date: 24th May 2024

Time: 11.00 am

Ground: Seat Unique Stadium, Bristol

Odds (SkyBet): Gloucestershire 4/6; Derbyshire 6/5


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