LVCC: Derbyshire 44 & 236 beat Gloucestershire 156 & 70 by 54 runs
(PTS: Derbys 19, Glos 3)
"It's like a bloody wake here," said one member assessing the post-game atmosphere around the pavilion, "So it ought to be," replied John Light. The former chairman was bang on the money. What a farce this whole match was.
Chasing 125 took one partnership. To build one partnership took occupation of the crease. Derbyshire are not a particularly threatening attack; their only threat was with the new ball - a havoc-playing period throughout the match. Not one Gloucestershire batsmen looked prepared to simply play out the new ball and remove the only threat.
The performance was incredibly complacent and just a touch arrogant - the way Alex Gidman, James Franklin and Steve Snell swung away their wickets was an assumption that someone was going to win the game: no-one had the discipline to do so.
The complete lack of control over the innings was unfathomable given the importance of the match. To take only three points from, on paper, the easiest match of the season, was ridiculous for a side chasing promotion - Glamorgan supporters must be bearing a grin as wide as Bridgend beach.
It was quite frankly pathetic. What on earth were the batsmen doing? It was fair enough to try and hit away the target at the top of the order - not that there was opportunity to do so after Will Porterfield and Chris Dent were genuinely dismissed - but when the innings changed, the batting should have changed. An hour of solid batting would have won the match - Gloucestershire weren't capable of doing that.
The problem runs deep. When the tide is running against them, Gloucestershire are never able to discover a way to swim upstream. As the wickets tumbled and the panic set in, there was no dam-building strategy. Only Hamish Marshall stood against the current but he was washed away too in the end.
Marshall simply stayed at the wicket - and it was damn effective. He knew Derbyshire were soft beneath the surface and his 44 was controlled and disciplined: all the characteristics of a good knock, regardless of the situation. One more innings like it and Gloucestershire would have won the match.
But it should never have got to a fourth-innings wobble. Had more Marshall been displayed in the first-innings, Gloucestershire would have killed the game on day one. They bottled it. They handed back initiative. They missed out on any bonus points. Then they dropped Chesney Hughes.
Hughes is an immense talent. His flair and beautiful strokemaking was on display at Derby earlier in the season. Here his dogged, determined side was on show - intelligence plus ability is some combination.
Dent put him down on 48 - a dipping chance that hurt Dent: he disappeared and didn't return to the field. Hughes doubled his score and Derbyshire had half a score to bowl at. While significant, the incident wasn't wholesome in the reasons for defeat.
Twice in two years Gloucestershire have been on the cusp of promotion - last year it was defeats to Middlesex and Leicestershire that put paid to their chances. This defeat will probably be the defining moment of this campaign.