Billy Godleman heaped praise on his varied and highly-competitive pace attack after Derbyshire took seven wickets on Day Four to beat Middlesex by 101 runs at The 3aaa County Ground.
The Club Captain watched his bowlers dismiss Middlesex to claim victory in the opening game of the Specsavers County Championship campaign, with Duanne Olivier claiming eight in the match on debut and fellow South Africa quick Hardus Viljoen taking four.
They were backed up by tight bowling from Ravi Rampaul and Tony Palladino, as well as useful medium pace from Luis Reece and partnership-breaking spin from Matt Critchley.
Godleman said: “It’s the variety of the bowlers. We’ve got Hardus [Viljoen] who you don’t always know where the ball is going to go, but you know you’re going to get pace and real aggression.
“Tony [Palladino] has canny skills and the ability to move the ball both ways, whilst I thought Ravi [Rampaul] bowled exceptionally well without rewards with wickets.
“Duanne [Olivier] is as good as I have played with or against. I think he’s got a gear or two in him and a very willing bowler. He was constantly at me suggesting that he got another opportunity to bowl which is always nice.
“I feel there’s some healthy competition among the ranks and they want to outdo each other for the best interest of the team.”
Derbyshire’s victory in the final innings was earlier set up by openers Luis Reece (157 not out) and Ben Slater (99), who added 219 for the first wicket in their second innings, a Club-record against Middlesex.
This helped Derbyshire onto 333-3 declared, setting the visitors an ultimately insurmountable 442 to win.
Godleman added: “It was a crying shame for Ben [Slater] because he’d played faultlessly. He didn’t just hit the bad balls for four, he was starting to hit the bowlers’ good balls for four as well, which is the hallmark of a player in form.
“He has the ability to not just score hundreds, but big hundreds, and I don’t think it will be long before he does that.
“I’m really chuffed for Luis [Reece]. I know how hard he has worked and to see him make the most of it in the first game of the season is brilliant for us as a team.”
Derbyshire travel to The Fischer County Ground to face Leicestershire in the second round of fixtures, starting on Friday 27 April and Godleman knows conditions throughout the season may not always suit his strong attack.
He said: “It’s one game of the season and as I’ve said to the guys, particularly away from home, we will have to play on surfaces which give less help to our bowlers. So the application and effort we have showed in this match, busting their guts to take the ten wickets, we will need that and more over the next few months.
“To win the first game of the season is a really nice feeling and to beat one of the so-called ‘big boys’ gives us great confidence.”
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