Liam Norwell takes five wickets as Warwickshire take charge against Derbyshire on day one


Liam Norwell got Warwickshire off to a stunning start. Credit: @WarwickshireCCC

Liam Norwell ripped through the Derbyshire top order on the opening morning of the new County Championship season as the visitors were bowled out for just 189 at Edgbaston.

Pace bowler Norwell claimed figures of 5-32, whilst Luis Reece and Matt Critchley struck half centuries as Derbyshire recovered from 7-3. Warwickshire lost Will Rhodes early in reply but only trail by 176 runs with nine wickets remaining at stumps.

Warwickshire captain Rhodes won the toss and elected to bowl first in this Group A fixture and that decision was quickly justified as Norwell struck twice in his first over. The first was the crucial wicket of the Derbyshire skipper Billy Godleman caught behind, before youngster Anuj Dal, who looks set to take on more responsibility up the order this season, was beaten through his defence just three balls later. As they did against Durham in the opening game of the 2019 campaign, Derbyshire had lost two wickets for no score.

Oliver Hannon-Dalby did not have to wait long for his first wicket as Leus du Plooy was clean bowled, becoming the third batsmen to depart without scoring. The ever-dependable Wayne Madsen joined Reece at the crease with the visitors looked to rebuild the innings after a woeful start and the pair put on 43 before Madsen was superbly caught in the slips by Rob Yates diving away to his right as Derbyshire went to lunch at 58-4.

Leus du Plooy’s dismissal capped a torrid opening hour for Derbyshire. Credit: @CountyChamp

The afternoon session was largely dominated by Reece and Critchley, both making half centuries in a fifth-wicket stand worth 93. Critchley, who impressed with both bat and ball in the Bob Willis Trophy last year, played a particularly eye-catching innings and brought up his 50 off just 58 balls, including ten boundaries. The Derbyshire resistance was finally broken by Norwell as Reece edged to slip for 63, which proved to be the catalyst for another flurry of wickets. Sam Hain took his second catch in the space of four overs to remove young wicket-keeper Harvey Hosein, before Critchley became Norwell’s fifth victim following a fine knock of 64. Fynn Hudson-Prentice and Matt Cohen soon departed either side of the tea interval to Will Rhodes and Craig Miles respectively as the visitors slumped to 168-9.

Matt Critchley, along with Luis Reece, played an array of classy strokes during the afternoon session. Credit: @DerbyshireCCC

Following a short break for bad light, Ben Aitchison and Sam Conners frustrated the Warwickshire bowlers in occupying the crease but were never truly troubling the scorers. A 74-ball partnership by the tailenders was brought to end by Danny Briggs for his first wicket on his Warwickshire debut to remove Conners and end the Derbyshire innings on 189.

As the visitors went in search of early wickets, highly-rated young seamer Conners made the perfect start by trapping Warwickshire captain Rhodes plumb LBW for a duck, failing to offer a shot on just the second delivery. England opener Dom Sibley and Yates survived a challenging six-over spell before a second stoppage for bad light brought a slightly premature close of play. The hosts closed with the score on 13-1, 176 runs behind Derbyshire’s first innings total.

Heading into day two, Warwickshire are well placed after containing a well-established and proven Derbyshire batting line-up which has made the county significantly more competitive over the past few years. However, the visitors will now require a big effort from their young and inexperienced bowling line-up in order to get back into this game.

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