Derbyshire have named a 12-man squad for the LV= County Championship fixture against Leicestershire at The Incora County Ground, starting tomorrow (10.30am).
Batsman Wayne Madsen returns to first team cricket for the first time since June, having recovered from a serious hamstring injury. He scored 61 for the Second XI against Glamorgan this week, and will be looking to bring that form into a top-order containing the likes of captain Billy Godleman and Leus du Plooy, who both made half-centuries against Middlesex at Lord’s.
With Luis Reece set to undergo shoulder surgery, the seam bowling attack of Sam Conners, Ben Aitchison and Anuj Dal will be aiming to make the most of their overs in his absence, while new loan signing, Ed Moulton, comes into the squad and could make his senior debut for Derbyshire. Brooke Guest will keep the gloves, with Harvey Hosein still out through concussion and continuing his graded return to fitness.
Dustin Melton will build match fitness in the Second XI against Middlesex next week, with the aim of featuring in the final two fixtures of the season, while Mattie McKiernan and Harry Came will also be in action at Denby from Monday.
1. Billy Godleman
24. Tom Wood
76. Leus du Plooy
77. Wayne Madsen
20. Matt Critchley
29. Brooke Guest
65. Anuj Dal
18. Alex Hughes
15. Alex Thomson
59. Sam Conners
11. Ben Aitchison
23. Ed Moulton
Derbyshire’s home game against Leicestershire is their 12th County Championship game of the season and will be the 216th scheduled meeting between the two counties.
Only Lancashire (221 games) have been Derbyshire’s opponents more times than Leicestershire, partly as a result of counties arranging their own fixtures in the formative years of county cricket. The proximity of the two counties meant that both were happy to play each other twice per season, with the Bath Grounds at Ashby-de-la-Zouch being a popular home venue for Leicestershire; the ground being nestled just one mile away from the Derbyshire border in the south of the county. Ilkeston and Loughborough have also featured matches between these two sides, as well as Burton, Buxton, Coalville, Glossop, and Oakham School, although Chesterfield, Derby and Leicester have hosted the bulk of the games.
Derbyshire have won 62 matches, Leicestershire 64, with 88 draws and one game abandoned without a ball being bowled at Loughborough in 1928.
Dave Houghton believes there were some positives to take out of Derbyshire’s performance against Middlesex at Lord’s, but the Head of Cricket knows lessons must be learnt from the defeat.
Despite making bright starts with the ball in both innings, Derbyshire were beaten by 112 runs, with expensive spells easing the pressure on the hosts, before a few quick wickets in each innings saw the visitors chasing the game.
Leus du Plooy scored a brilliant 90 in the first innings, while Billy Godleman (70) and Matt Critchley (58) gave Derbyshire a chance on the final day, but the experienced duo of Toby Roland-Jones and Tim Murtagh shared eight wickets to end any hopes of a famous victory.
Anuj Dal scored 48 on Day Two and took four wickets in the match, Sam Conners claimed five wickets on his return from injury, while Alex Thomson also impressed with the ball, taking 3-71 in Middlesex’s second innings.
Houghton was pleased to see some progress within the side, but says there’s further work to be done for Derbyshire to pick up their first red ball win of the season.
“You’ve got to try to take the positives out of the game,” he said.
“It’s tough, because we’re still losing and the more you do that, the harder and harder it gets to shake off, so you have to focus on positives. We made a good start with the ball in both innings, but we need to go for less boundaries than we are at the moment.
“Hopefully our bowlers will be able to learn from what they’ve played against, and there were a couple of really good examples of how to tie and end up without taking wickets all the time from Middlesex.
“The biggest thing we need to learn as a young bowling unit is how to bowl tighter and control the scoring rate when we aren’t taking wickets. Even though we were striking early, we were never going at less than four runs an over, so one partnership is always going to put you on the back foot.
“On the batting side, I thought we showed a bit more resolve and were at the crease for a bit longer. It was good to see Billy Godleman play himself back into form with some runs, Leus du Plooy in the first innings, and Matt Critchley also batted well.
“However, the biggest thing is to learn how to win again, we have to get over that line.”
How to follow
Derbyshire’s LV= County Championship fixture against Leicestershire will be Live Streamed on the club website, through our improved Match Centre, delivered in partnership with Purpose Media.
Multi-angle replays put you at the heart of the action, while our Match Centre also includes in-play scorecards, ball by ball commentary, clips and statistics, everything you need to stay up-to-date, no matter where you’re following from!