Last day of yet another rain ruined game and I'm increasingly of the opinion that whoever gets promoted from division 2 this season will be the side that gets the most breaks with the weather.
The game is, barring play of spectacular proportions from someone, as dead as a dodo. We've just bowled out Northants for 341 giving us a lead of 144. Theoretically, we could now go in and give it a thrash for an hour or so and set them 260 to win this afternoon, but I can only see one winner from that scenario, and it ain't us. Waggy has a slight niggle which I assume they'll protect, which leaves Charl and Clare, plus Wavell for seam as well as the two spinners. Northants have a long batting lineup and some spectacular hitters in there. While my heart would love to see Jon Clare's emergence as a cricketer of genuine potential end in a win, my head says that this one will be a draw. There's just not enough there for the bowlers and the thinking money would be on a draw or home win unless Rogers comes up with the finest weighted declaration of recent memory.
Away from the first eleven and it was interesting to see Kunal Jogia, a 23 year old right hand batsman from Cambridge University scoring some runs for the seconds in their win against Warwickshire. As reported on the In Morris We Trust Forum (the very useful In Krikken We Trust sub-section), we won on the last ball with Rikki Clarke getting the last man lbw - how's that for a pressurised umpiring decision?
Jogia made a fifty and is on an internship with Derbyshire, paid for by the MCC. You can read all about it at http://content-uk.cricinfo.com/england/content/story/359262.html
Jogia did well for Cambridge against the counties this year, averaging just under 40, although it would be premature to suggest that he will be another addition to the ranks. All counties trial players throughout the season and Jogia is in a similar position to Stephan Marillier, the Zimbabwean who played for us earlier in the season with some success. It is refreshing to see Derbyshire bringing young players through, however and far more pleasing from a fan's perspective than to see us sign an old lag from another county, which has happened far too often over the last ten years. There is far greater expectation from a supposedly established pro and enhanced disappointment when they turn out worse than anticipated.
If Derbyshire started next season with Paul Borrington and Dan Redfern in a first choice side, fans would, I think, be much more understanding of failures. I think both these lads have a lot to offer and would also see Akhil Patel as being a player worthy of a contract. They all have a lot of work to do, but have a good technique and have been well coached by Karl Krikken, who is doing such an admirable job with the seconds.
Although I am unaware of contract situations, there are several players who may be struggling for next season. Despite his wickets against Warwickshire, I can't see Ian Hunter getting another deal, and there must also be questions over Kevin Dean, Dan Birch and possibly Steve Stubbings. I would be sorry to see Dean and Stubbings go, as both have been great servants.
Kevin Dean has always been a very dangerous bowler but injuries have cost him dearly, sometimes freakish ones (falling off golf carts). When he first emerged he bowled with sufficient nip to trouble anyone, but recently he's needed favourable conditions to do so. Much would depend on who else was available as he can still do a job, but Wayne White is perhaps the man we should be looking to for a step-up.
Stubbo has overcome being told he wasn't good enough by Dominic Cork to be a good county pro. You always get 100% from him and knew that the opposition wouldn't be gifted his wicket. There have been occasions when I feel he has had a raw deal, but this season, perhaps because of the diversions of a benefit, his batting has not really got going. He has got the 30s and 40s, but is that the summit of our ambitions? Again, it depends on who else is available, but we only have a finite playing budget and these guys to me appear the most vulnerable.