BEFORE a ball was bowled this season both these sides would have eyed this fixture and marked it as one that could be won. Whether either can do it now, with a day lost to rain and on a pitch devoid of life, remains to be seen, but what is certain is that Gloucestershire would have emerged from yesterday's events with most satisfaction.
Despite one or two mishaps, they made the most of winning the toss and of some Derbyshire bowling that was, to put it mildly, unexceptional. In these circumstances an attack consisting of five seam bowlers and one off-spinner is not the best balance, and it showed.
Some counties would have made Derbyshire pay even more for their variations. As it was Tim Hancock would have been mortified to get out to Kim Barnett, albeit very tight with his medium pace, six short of his first 100 of the season after doing all the hard work when the new ball was moving about.
Later in the day Matthew Windows took a heavy toll of a disillusioned attack with some vigorous back-foot strokes, which were - dare one admit it - highly reminiscent of his father. He was left unbeaten one short of the fourth century of a promising career, having faced 181 balls and hit 14 fours. He and the well-organised Dominic Hewson added 150 together for the fifth wicket in 51 overs.
If Gloucestershire subscribe to the widely held local view that this grassless pitch will turn, they will no doubt bat on this morning. They may well do so anyway if they believe in the old adage that you make your runs while the going is favourable.
Before that, the new ball did enough to suggest that batting ought to have been much harder. The trouble was Derbyshire scarcely put two successive balls in the right place.
Elsewhere, there were too many half-volleys, long hops and, for that matter no-balls. Maybe in desperation the acting captain Karl Krikken turned to Barnett who demonstrated that medium pace bowling, just short of a length, could frustrate batsmen on this pitch.Reuse content