There’s something about a good win for your favourite sports team that puts a spring in your step for a day or two afterwards. If you’re lucky, there’s a few days before the next game so you can enjoy the feeling a little longer and if you’re very lucky, like me, you’ll be able to see some of the next game. I’ll be down south from Wednesday onwards so should get to see some of our game against Middlesex, probably on either Thursday or Friday, depending on the best weather forecast.
That was a terrific win against Leicestershire, one that produced precious few comments from the usual suspects. Why can’t people acknowledge a good display as quickly as they castigate a poor one? There’d be far greater credibility for negative comments if they were counter balanced on occasion. We all know that we’ll have our disappointments this year with a young squad, especially if injuries hit, but that display amply illustrates what the team is capable of.
An increasingly key component was recognised in the award of a county cap on Saturday to Tim Groenewald. He arrived at Derby from that reliable source of Edgbaston, the latest in a conveyor belt that has brought us Graeme Welch and Graham Wagg over the years. He’d had few opportunities in Birmingham, yet has become increasingly important to Derbyshire.
Timmy G bowls good lines at a healthy pace and seems more robust in physique than many of his kind. Certainly he carried the attack last season with Steffan Jones, showing great stamina and no little skill. At times he didn’t get the wickets his bowling deserved, but he made himself an indispensable member of the attack.
This year he has again started well, with eight wickets against Leicestershire, while the runs he made and the manner in which he made them suggests he could become an integral part of a lower order batting line up of considerable potential. Sutton, Clare and Groenewald at seven, eight, nine lengthens the batting and offers insurance against early difficulties. I’m delighted to see Groenewald’s contribution to the side recognised with his county cap and hope he continues to go from strength to strength.
The first rounds of fixtures in Division Two have highlighted how wide open the division is, with seven of the nine teams winning one of their opening matches. We currently sit second (stop the season NOW!) and are as likely to do well as any other side. One has only to look at the success of Worcestershire last year with a fairly ordinary squad to see what is possible with a strong team ethic, the odd inspirational performance and a sprinkling of luck.
Moving on and its Fantasy cricket time again in the Telegraph. I’ll have my team selected once more and I’m sure there’ll be a league organised through IMWT for Derbyshire fans. I did OK last year but suffered from making my bold move for the top too early, using my last star substitutes a month before the season ended and then seeing them all get injured…
Every season there are surprise ‘valuations’ in the game and this year is no different. Usman Khawaja only a 2? Surely that has to be a mistake for perhaps the best young batsman in Australia? I can see him being an early season pick for a few people at that price, especially when people know he’s fit. According to his Twitter account he was ‘stuck with needles like Wolverine from the X Men’ which suggests acupuncture is seen as part of the road to recovery. I hope he’s fit for Middlesex – purely selfishly, I’d quite like to see his county debut.
Speaking of injuries, I’m sorry to see Graham Wagg was injured, playing for Glamorgan. Apparently his hamstring has gone, although the severity has yet to be clarified. I hope he recovers soon – he’s a good lad and was a good servant to Derbyshire. While he’s no longer our player I will watch his future career with considerable interest.
Finally today and harking back to our win on Saturday, it is worth acknowledging the diving, one handed catch at gully that started the procession of wickets through the morning and afternoon. Garry Park was the fielder and while you can’t, in first class cricket, pick someone just for their fielding Park is perhaps as good as it gets in this area.
As a bowler he is useful and as a batsman I suppose the jury is still out on his talents. As a fielder, I can’t recall seeing anyone better in the county colours over forty-four summers and that is quite an accolade.