There have been the usual knee jerk reactions to todays defeat on the message boards, with even - astonishingly - calls for John Morris to go.
Why? I can see no sane reason for wanting a man who has done more to improve our competitive edge than anyone since Dean Jones and Les Stillman. His recruitment has been sound, especially this year, with Tim Groenewald proving an astute signing, Garry Park good and Wayne Madsen outstanding. I think it is fair to say that Nantie Hayward has been a disappointment, but Morris also brought Steffan Jones back to the club and is very much in credit in his signings.
There have been very few hammerings this year, even in one day cricket, traditionally a format where we have played badly. In the Twenty/20 we scored enough runs this year to give ourselves a chance, but bowled badly. In the Championship we have battled well and went through half the season unbeaten. In the Pro 40 we are still unbeaten (OK, we've had two out of three rained off, but...) and in the FP Trophy we played some decent cricket.
People need to remember that this is a young side and we have done quite well despite losing key players at different times. Losing a strike bowler like Charl Langeveldt was a huge blow, while the loss of Graham Wagg has arguably cost us the last two matches.
We have some fine young players coming through the Academy system and gaining experience in the Second XI and they will be pushing for the first team in the next year or two.
Next year a lot of counties will have to cope with the loss of some big players with the change in work permit regulations. Few sides will be affected less than Derbyshire. We will possibly lose Chris Rogers, but I'm sure Morris has a plan B for that eventuality, while Wavell Hinds will be unaffected (and hopefully bowling more than this year). Madsen, Park, Smith and Redfern will all have greater experience of first class cricket while I hope that Steffan Jones is added to the seam bowling ranks.
All this suggests I have written off this season, which is far from the case. While I doubt after the last two matches that we have the firepower to beat Kent at Derby, winning at Uxbridge against Middlesex is possible and then it is down to the last game against Essex at Derby. With the division still tight and sides continually beating each other, no one can say at this stage that the final game may not be a must win.
The last few matches have confirmed to me that we need a bowler for next year, someone who can produce something different, get a wicket or keep it tight. I think we have enough batsmen, down the length of the order, to make a reasonable score in matches and just need another man to bowl sides out. Who that is and who is available is anyone's guess.
Look at this last match. Chris Rogers made no score and yet, with another bowler we could (would?) have won it. I know he made a big century at Leicester, but I think there are good options for Derbyshire both inside the club (Sadler, Borrington) and out who could get good runs for us next year.
Today's Australian collapse at The Oval increases Chris Rogers chances of a return next year as there is no doubt that they have not yet sorted the opening partner for Simon Katich. I'd be surprised if Rogers got the nod as its not the Aussie way to blood older players, but we'll watch developments down under this winter with a great deal of interest.
Kent on Sunday. Preview tomorrow. See you then