The sun was shining at the County Ground on Monday but for Derbyshire supporters there was nothing to warm to as the team crashed to a third County Championship defeat of the season.
While losing to an impressive Worcestershire side was no disgrace, the manner and margin of the defeat certainly was and makes the match starting against Leicestershire tomorrow (Thursday) even more significant.
Derbyshire’s last home win in four day cricket was against Leicestershire in September 2014 but the long wait for another will go on unless there is a drastic improvement.
Injuries have deprived skipper Billy Godleman of Hardus Viljoen, the South African fast bowler who was signed to be the spearhead of the attack, and the promising Will Davis who started the season so well.
Both are unlikely to play again until the end of June which means others need , to borrow an Australian phrase, to ‘put their hand up,’ otherwise the season is in danger of collapsing.
“Of course it’s very disappointing not to have the two strike bowlers out there on the field but it’s a great opportunity for the other guys who want to forge a career in the game and they’ve now got the chance to go out there and do a job,” Godleman said.
“To win a four day game, unless you’re playing on an under-prepared wicket, you need to play consistently good cricket for four days, you don’t win with just one or even two good days and that’s been our problem over the last 18 months.
“We’ve not been skillful enough or had enough application to play good solid cricket for four days so we need to put a performance together.”
The concern for Godleman and director of cricket Kim Barnett is the way the team crumbled in good batting conditions in a match where more than 100 overs had been lost to rain.
Derbyshire’s second innings was the second shortest of the season and there were still 47 overs left when Tony Palladino swung Nathan Lyon into the hands of deep midwicket.
Godleman admitted: “No defeat is nice but to lose in the manner we did with time taken out of the game on the first couple of day is hugely disappointing.
“We definitely didn’t start well with the ball and weren’t able to do what their bowlers did in the first innings and put the ball in a threatening area consistently enough.
“I think 275 in the conditions we batted I was pleased with but the rate they scored put us under pressure but that isn’t to excuse the way we were all out for 98, it certainly wasn’t an all-out 98 wicket.”