Sorry there was no blog last night but I spent a little time on 606 in debate with another Derbyshire fan about John Morris' extended contract. I, like most other fans, am in favour, but he wasn't. Hey, it's a free world and we all have our opinions - good job too...
What I will say, having defended Morris, is that yes, we need to see signs of improvement year on year. I think there has been this year - when did we last get to August with anything to play for? There must be further improvement next year and discernible signs that the club continues to progress.
We have good players coming through the Academy, while Morris remains in credit on his signings. Certainly, Park, Groenewald, Madsen and Jones have had their share of good days, while Hayward has been a disappointment. Even there, Morris moved quickly to sign an international bowler of recent vintage, although admitting he hadn't seen him recently. It could have gone the other way and Morris is then hailed a hero, but at least he tried.
I spent a bit of time today watching Scotland play Australia and hoped to see three potential players for next year. Sadly, James Hopes didn't play and Cameron White had an inauspicious day. He made only 19 with the bat, dropped a catch, held three and took the last wicket with the help of a poor tail end shot. I rate White - he's a decent leggie, far better bat than he showed today and is an excellent skipper for Victoria. I suspect he could be tempted to a county stint, though whether we have the resources is open to doubt.
The third I've heard mentioned as a county player is Shane Watson. He scored a classy 68 from just 43 balls today and is a fine batsman. He was once rated an all rounder of genuine talent and was referred to as the new Keith Miller. Hmmm....
To be honest, he took three wickets today with what I'd describe as medium pace filth and he's more a batsman who bowls for me. Numerous injuries have limited his bowling and he's really just a medium pacer now. He's a fine player, but my concern is his injury record and I'm not sure his body would stand up to a full season of county cricket. As a second man for Twenty/20 I'd take him, but I'd have doubts otherwise.
There's also discussion about the merits of retaining 40-over cricket at the expense of 50 overs, but the international boards are to discuss this. There's not much difference (yes, I know - 10 overs) between the two and the skill sets are much the same. Regular Sunday cricket has to be good for crowds, surely? How many other days do working supporters get to see cricket?
The problem with the 20-over league is that it will again be regionalised and so we'll be again in with the strong northern teams. We need a huge improvement to get into the top four and the quarter finals, with Lancashire, Durham, Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Northants, Warwickshire and Worcestershire likely to be in our group.
One other point in closing. We've all talked - self included - about overseas players for next year and included Aussies and Pakistanis, yet both are here for Tests and/or one dayers next year. Finding an overseas player in the congested calendar who satisfies the visa requirements is going to be a nightmare for next year. The thinking money is now on a split for me.
See you tomorrow