"The business end of the season" Greg Smith calls it on the official site today and I hope that Derbyshire are set to be business-like in their remaining games after a break that should have recharged their batteries.
First up tonight, serious congratulations to Derbyshire's physio team who have got Graham Wagg fit again. I thought we'd seen the last of Waggy for this year and he must have had a lot of work to do to get himself back so quickly. Whether he is back as the fast medium version or as solely the slow left armer we'll need to wait and see, but there's little doubt that he has a talismanic effect on the side and it will be good to have him back.
Hello again to Tom Lungley, after we sent him off to our nursery club, Lancashire, to regain form and fitness. He'll be the first to admit that it has not been a vintage year, but he could go a long way towards redeeming himself if he rediscovers his old skills in the run in.
There's also a return for John Sadler after a season of consistently good returns in the Second XI. He replaces Dan Redfern, who has had a long first season and is rested. In most other seasons in the last ten years Sadler would have walked into the batting line up, but the top six have done the business this year. They've all had barren spells but have come out of them before it became critical.
The Derbyshire side in full is:
Chris Rogers (captain)
Given that Nantie Hayward hasn't really fired, I'd expect the top eleven to be the side taking the field.
Kent will miss Joe Denly after his England 20/20 selection, but still come with a strong side. Given that they've beaten us with their Firsts and Seconds in recent weeks, the cynics might say that it doesn't matter who they bring along, but I'm sure that Derbyshire will be up for this one.
The Kent squad of 13 is:
John Morris said yesterday that if we win two out of the last three we could still go up and I'd agree, but we'd need to make sure that we don't lose to Essex in among that. For me they're the rivals and if we could (somehow) beat Kent then go to Uxbridge and win, the last game would be a real belter.
First things first. Can we beat Kent? Of course we can. Will we? I'm not so sure we're quite there yet, but sincerely hope I'm wrong.
Finally tonight, I said yesterday that someone could/should take a chance on Herath of Sri Lanka. Lo and behold, Surrey sign him today for the remainder of the season. So while I'm in the zone, I think we should sign Jacques Kallis or JP Duminy for next season.
Now, where's that lucky white heather...