Friday, 5 September 2008

Close season fun and frolics

I've spent a little time message board surfing tonight and there's a few interesting names who are potentially available this close season.

One is Mark Hardinges of Gloucestershire, who has been a solid county pro for a few years now as a medium pace bowler and a batsman good enough to have scored a few centuries. He's no world-beater but I would have thought that he could do a job for someone, especially in the one-day game.

Another that really interested me was that Ian Blackwell is apparently unsettled at Somerset. Now I've always rated Blackwell since I saw him by chance in a second team game at Queens Park. He scored a brilliant century batting at number nine and looked a fine talent. He was much slimmer then and looked to have the world at his feet. He has remained a batsman of destructive brilliance on his day, but the widening girth has prevented him from the highest honours. He is a steady, rather than dangerous slow left armer, while his fielding is adequate, rather than spectacular.

Importantly he is a Derbyshire lad and I would have thought that a few of you might share my interest in him returning to the county of his birth. In this era of covered wickets, spinners rarely get conditions in which they can go through sides and so need a second string to their bow. Robert Croft has been a fine example of this over the years, taking wickets but also contributing with valuable runs. Blackwell would be a batsman who could easily hold a place in the middle order and offer a useful change of pace, if not running through sides.

I'm also interested in Andrew Flintoff now saying that Lancashire should have kept Dominic Cork. It all adds to my previously expressed feeling that he is changed since his days here. While he is linked to Durham and Nottinghamshire, a move back to us may appeal.

Be honest, concerns about Cork's personality aside, surely a middle order of Hinds, Smith, Redfern, Clare, Wagg. Blackwell and Cork (not in batting order) would be an asset? Seven all-rounders!
Add Pipe. Langeveldt, Borrington and Birch and our side for next season looks fairly impressive.

Of course, its all conjecture at this stage, but if you're looking for something to warm the cockles of your heart in those early Autumn/Winter nights ahead, maybe that is it.

Note to Bob Willis/Mike Atherton - Six of those players have, at different stages, come through our youth ranks. Good huh?


Pete said...

Great blog as always. Are there any top/middle order batsmen that are likely to be targets for us? I can't imagine that players like Ed Joyce would join us but that area of the team must be a priority.

Peakfan said...

Dunno mate, there's plenty of conjecture but nothing definite. The Gidmans/Sales/Moores we were linked with are all staying put. I doubt we'll get Joyce or Smith after the Clarke episode. Rumours abound that HD Ackerman is leaving Leicester (others say he's signed a new contract) while as reported last night Ian Blackwell may leave Somerset. I doubt we'll sign any southern bats, so if anyone comes in I suspect he'll be from the Midlands or t'north.
Anything I hear, I'll post!
Thanks for the nice comment - always appreciated!