Houghton encouraged by red-ball season

Thursday 10th September 2020
& News
Written by Stephen Martin
Photography by: David Griffin

Dave Houghton says Derbyshire’s encouraging Bob Willis Trophy campaign will prove beneficial in the 2021 red-ball season.

Despite relying on a mostly-inexperienced bowling attack, Derbyshire suffered only one defeat and finished second in the North Group with the fifth-most points in the country (74), and the joint-highest tally by a Division Two side.

Standout performances from Leus du Plooy, Fynn Hudson-Prentice, Wayne Madsen and Matt Critchley were backed up by gritty knocks from Harvey Hosein, Anuj Dal and Sam Conners at key points during the season.

Head of Cricket, Houghton, says the resilience shown by the players has been a huge positive, and believes the confidence from the Bob Willis Trophy will flow into next year.

“I thought this season was some of the best four-day cricket we’ve played since I’ve been back,” Houghton said.

“There was a lot of positives, especially when you consider most of our bowling attack has first-class appearances in the single figures before this season, and they’ve produced the goods on a number of occasions.

“From that side of things, it’s been a brilliant achievement for our young bowlers, and I felt that we batted pretty well, for the most-part, and showed great resilience. Harvey (Hosein) and Mattie McKiernan did it at Lancashire, Anuj Dal did it at Yorkshire, and that’s getting better by the day.

“Matt Critchley batted and bowled well throughout the campaign, which has been an improvement. We have the makings of a good squad, and we have a couple of exciting new additions in Brooke Guest and Ben Aitchison.

“Once again, we will need to stay injury free next season, because we are a small squad, but if we can do that, I have really high hopes for us. I’m already looking forward to next year’s red-ball campaign.”

While Derbyshire created a number of memorable moments in the Bob Willis Trophy, the opening win at Trent Bridge remains a highlight.

Derbyshire chased down 365 to win the game against Nottinghamshire, their highest chase against a first-class county, and Houghton says it’s a match that will be looked back on fondly by players, coaches and supporters alike.

“It’s a game that will live long in my memory, because it was exceptional chase,” Houghton added.

“We fought our way back into that game on a number of occasions to give ourselves a chance to chase something, and even though it looked out of sight, we came back and won it. I’ll remember that for a long, long time.”

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