I called it right last night when I suggested that we may not need to use Stuart Law in the Pro 40.
With Wayne Madsen on board for the remainder of the season and the likes of John Sadler and Dominic Telo hoping for a chance to impress, there would have been little point in playing Law in the final year of 40-over cricket (for now).
He was not, in my opinion, an unqualified success but his greater contribution may have been in the dressing room, where Derbyshire did make a better fist of 20/20 batting this year and his experience would have helped. The high point was his innings of 95 at Northampton in the FP Trophy, but there was not a deluge of runs to follow.
Whether he returns for an optional second year will depend on recruitment over the winter. I am sure that Wayne Madsen will be with us next season and Paul Borrington will be with us full time too. IF we gained promotion in the Championship there may be a few players who see Derbyshire as an attractive proposition, but I cannot see wholesale changes over the winter as, quite honestly, there's a good squad coming together.
Still no definite team news for this evening, though the greatest concern may be the weather. John Sadler is in the squad after a century in the Seconds this week and Sads is making a strong case for retention through his weight of runs in the Second XI. His problem is that all of the first team are scoring regularly too, so there's no way in at present.
At the halfway stage of the season, Wavell Hinds, Chris Rogers, Garry Park and Greg Smith are all in with a good shout of making their 1,000 runs. Rogers has some ground to make up having missed three matches, but few would bet against the skipper on the usually drier tracks of August and September. Dan Redfern has also performed solidly in his first full season, with an average over 30, while Madsen would appear to have sewn up the opener's berth with his debut performance. It is hard luck on Sadler and also on Paul Borrington, who batted well in the early season at Loughborough. His time will come, however and I would see him as an integral part of the batting line up in coming seasons.
Whether the solid, professional beast that is the Derbyshire four-day side can translate to the Pro-40 remains to be seen. I'm sorry to see this competition go as I grew up on the John Player League and its various incarnations thereafter. For me it is still a great form of the game as a PROPER game of cricket can ebb and flow. I'm old enough to recall the disaster recoveries that Bob Taylor and Fred Swarbrook performed in the 1970's, as 85-7 became 165-8. You could still win matches with those scores at that time, before pinch hitters, power plays, reverse sweeps and heavy bats made 165 a standard 20-over tally. I feel a piece in homage to 40-over cricket coming on, but that's for another day.
Fingers crossed for tonight.