And now, the end is near and so we face the final curtain.
Four days to go until we sigh with the realisation that there will be no more cricket for six months or so. Or at least, cricket that counts. England will be on tour, but if, like me, you look on them as a side attraction, it's going to be a long cold winter.
Tomorrow's game should be sponsored by Farley's, as Derbyshire can rarely have put younger team into the field for a match. While rusks and milk may not be on the lunch menu, the Derbyshire team will have a youthful look. With no Kolpaks and no overseas player and with Tom Lungley and Jon Clare injured, the team pretty much picks itself as there's only a handful of players left.
John Sadler will be disapppointed to miss out on playing against his erstwhile colleages but can have few complaints after a poor year. Graham Wagg celebrates a year's extension to his contract by taking the captaincy in this side:
Graham Wagg (captain)
Some interesting names in there. The biggie is former Yorkshire leggie Mark Lawson "probably" playing to see if he's worth a contract for next year. "Probably" is the official line, but it ould be a big surprise if he didn't play. What would they learn if he carries drinks for four days? I'd like to see him do well and earn a contract. There's something about leg-spinners that sends batsmen into panic on occasion and he has produced enough at Yorkshire to be worth a gamble. There's little option on the spin front and as a season progresses I'd see value in such a bowler, with harder tracks (if it ever stops raining...)
Ross Whiteley gets his first senior Championship call up after good performances for the second string and is another who could earn a contract. The other week he reminded me of a coltish young Kevin Dean against Glamorgan and although he was overtaken by nerves on that occasion, he showed enough at the crease to suggest talent as an all rounder in time.
Dom Telo has one last chance to put a nightmare first season to rest but I think we'll see more of the diminutive South African, who looks poised and organised at the crease. He needs a good winter in the indoor school and some sun on his back and we should see the strokeplay that earned him such a reputation back home.
It was so gratifying to see Graham Wagg show loyalty in the face of interest from other counties, including - surprise, surprise - Warwickshire. I'm sure that Waggy must have wondered where these offers were when he was looking for a club after his drugs ban, as Derbyshire were not involved in a bidding frenzy for his services at that time.
Now, however, he is a fine all rounder and one who would be welcomed into any side. I'm delighted that he will be in ours for the next two years and hope that we can secure some silverware with his assistance.
While a defeat with a young side would be no disgrace, a win would be a good way to go into the winter.