Slater hopes century is good omen for Derbyshire

Ben Slater in action for Chesterfield
Ben Slater in action for Chesterfield
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Ben Slater will be hoping that his first century in the county championship for nearly two years will prove to be an omen for him and for Derbyshire.

The Chesterfield-born left-hander had scored three limited-overs hundreds this summer - two of them in the Royal London One-Day Cup - but his 110 on the opening day of the Division Two match, against Gloucestershire on Wednesday, was clearly a special moment for him.

Slater ran towards the pavilion to celebrate his first hundred in four day cricket since late September 2014 when he made 119 in the second innings against Leicestershire at Derby.

That was his second century in the game and, as it was the last time Derbyshire won a championship match on home soil, he will be keen to end what has been another long wait.

Derbyshire have yet to win a championship match home or away this season and although an all-too familiar first innings collapse allowed the initiative to slip away, Slater’s innings could point the way to better days for the county.

A reliable opening combination is one of the keys to success so it was interesting to hear the views of former Derbyshire captain Kim Barnett who forged a prolific partnership with Peter Bowler.

Barnett was watching Slater’s innings from the radio commentary box and was impressed with the 25-year-old’s technique.

“For someone like Kim to say nice things is good to hear because he was a great player for Derbyshire so I’m happy with that,” said Slater, who would also have impressed Barnett with the way he altered his approach after three wickets fell in as many overs.

“When a couple of wickets go down you have to reassess, look at a few options and become the man to stay there and help the other batter get in so once wickets go in a cluster like that you have to be ready to go again.

“It’s felt like it’s been a while since the last one, it’s just under two years in red ball cricket so it meant a lot to me to get that hundred.”

Slater will also be looking to show that his natural place in the team is at the top of the innings.

He added: “I’ve opened all my career really apart from a couple of spells down at six. I didn’t mind it down there but I think moving that forward, opening the batting is where I’ll be.”