Derbyshire's early salvoes fizzle out

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The Independent Online

Derbyshire 285-8 v Yorkshire

Derbyshire 285-8 v Yorkshire

18 May 2000

Yorkshire, without the services of three front-line seam bowlers, found the going predictably tough here yesterday on as good a batting surface as they will have encountered this season. It could have been tougher, but a vigorously entertaining display by Derbyshire lacked the big innings the conditions invited.

After one of the wettest springs on record, the hard, dry straw-coloured pitch was a credit to the groundsman, Barry Marsh, and his staff, but although one batsman after another showed their appreciation by becoming established, they just as quickly discovered ways of getting out.

Still, on a blustery day interrupted four times by the weather, it was all agreeable enough, not least for Gary Ramsden who, making his debut for Yorkshire at the age of 17, took the wicket of Rob Bailey with as good a ball as was delivered all day.

Bailey, with his massive forward reach, is never easily dislodged in these conditions and Ramsden, as JB Priestley might put it, is "nobbut a slip of a lad" for an aspiring medium-fast bowler. But from a good line around off-stump he got one to bounce and leave the batsman who was caught behind.

Before that the buffeting wind had not made life straightforward for the bowlers. Paul Hutchison had the onerous job of bowling into it, which he did manfully, and with a negligible amount of movement through the air or off the pitch Yorkshire erred on the side of a full length.

This enabled Michael Di Venuto to demonstrate that batsmen could hit through the line with a fair degree of impunity in these conditions. The result was a series of dazzling strokes until, having made 30 from 29 balls, Di Venuto's exuberance got the better of him and he played all round one of full length from Gavin Hamilton.

There was nothing quite so exotic after that, although Steve Stubbings confirmed earlier good impressions before being well picked up at slip as he drove rather fast-footed at Hutchison, while Matthew Cassar, whose top score in the Championship last season was a modest 42, looked capable of greater things, no doubt to his relief.

He was quick to latch on to anything resembling a half volley and produced a series of effortless well-timed strokes through the covers before contriving to give Hutchison a low return catch off the back foot. Dominic Cork kept things ticking over before he, too, perished after playing himself in and the bowlers will be hoping for more helpful conditions in the shape of either cloud cover or, dare one say, humidity today.