Friendly Preview: Lancashire vs Derbyshire
Derbyshire visit Chester Boughton Hall for the last practice fixture before the Bob Willis Trophy starts on Saturday
The Red Rose return to their training base at Chester for their final pre-season warm-up game against a county whom they have many links with on both the playing and coaching staff.
Lancashire enjoyed a very useful, competitive workout against Yorkshire at Emerald Headingley on Friday and Saturday having played an intra-squad game of the same length at Chester last week.
It will be a midday start and a planned 7pm finish.
Captain Dane Vilas and assistant coach Mark Chilton are planning to give their players most likely to feature in Saturday’s Bob Willis Trophy clash with Leicestershire another workout.
This is Derbyshire’s only schedule two-day game against opposition ahead of the start of the competitive four-day matches.
Their playing staff includes ex-Red Rose players Luis Reece and Mattie McKiernan, although the latter did not make his first-team bow for the county. Another all-rounder, Matt Critchley, is Lancashire-born.
Derby’s coaching staff includes former Lancashire batting favourite Mal Loye, while their former head coach Karl Krikken is now on the Red Rose backroom staff.
Derby finished last season’s County Championship Division Two campaign in seventh position, winning four of their 14 games.
Captained by opening batsman Billy Godleman, their batting is underpinned by the excellent and experienced Wayne Madsen. The pair scored 1,008 and 794 Championship runs respectively last year.
Left-arm seamer Reece led the way in terms of four-day wickets, claiming 52, while former West Indies Test quick Ravi Rampaul claimed 44.
While Lancashire cancelled a four-day overseas deal with New Zealand wicketkeeper batsman BJ Watling, Derbyshire did similar with Australian seamer Sean Abbott, although they have agreed a deal with him to play for the county in 2021.
Lancashire completed the Championship double over Derbyshire on the way to last season’s Division Two title, starting with a 10-wicket away win at the County Ground in late-June when Graham Onions claimed his 700th First-Class wicket in a three-day win.
In mid-September, Lancashire won by an innings and 45 runs at Emirates Old Trafford, also in three days, to clinch promotion. And Josh Bohannon was the star!
Derbyshire, having elected to bat, posted 244 in their first innings, with Billy Godleman making 111. Richard Gleeson did the damage, though, with 5-64.
Bohannon’s maiden First-Class century, 174 batting at number three, then underpinned Lancashire’s strong response of 418 before Tom Bailey, Glenn Maxwell and Matthew Parkinson all claimed three wickets to bowl the visitors out for 129 deep into the third day.
The victory confirmed Lancashire’s promotion back to the top-flight.
WHAT THEY SAID:
Red Rose captain Dane Vilas was delighted by what he saw at Emerald Headingley - and is hoping for more of the same during the next two days.
Graham Onions and Tom Bailey bowled superbly with the new ball and could have had more success. Onions then struck twice and Josh Bohannon once as they reduced Yorkshire from 250-2 to 289-5 during the evening session.
On Saturday, Keaton Jennings (37) and Bohannon (46) both spent valuable time at the crease before all-rounders Danny Lamb and George Balderson hit 76 not out and 42 not out through the evening session.
“I found that game excellent,” said Vilas. “It’s always tough playing a practice game, but against Yorkshire it makes it more realistic, which is fantastic.
“I think both teams got what they wanted from it. I was very impressed with the standard. I thought they batted beautifully and put us under pressure, but that’s exactly what we wanted - guys bowling in tough conditions.
“The Derby game will be another opportunity for guys to get out in the middle. You can look as good as you want in the nets, but there’s nothing like being out in the middle.
“I think we will prioritise the guys who are going to play on Saturday, just to give them a good run. Guys like Luke Wood, who’s had a bit of stiffness, needs a good run. Steven Croft has also had some calf stiffness, and he will get a good go at it now.
“There will be a little bit of change (selection), but it will be pretty much more of the same.
“We’ve got a good group of youngsters pushing for spots and have guys away with England at the moment,” added the skipper.
“There are opportunities up for grabs. It’s nice to see guys coming through and pushing.”