Just because Derbyshire won the Plate Final last night I'm not about to change my mind on the fact that pre-season results don't matter all that much.
Having said that, trophies are trophies and a win in the kind of game they enjoyed with Hampshire is especially sweet, as well as being rewarding. It is, after all, only a couple of years since that county won the T20 and they have a clutch of the best regarded young players in the country.
Then again, ours aren't so bad either. Let's not forget that half of this side probably wouldn't be in a first choice T20 XI, yet they did remarkably well in a pulsating finish. I was racking my brains on the last time I'd followed cricket so captivating at that time of night and reckon it was when Lawrence Rowe was caressing England's bowlers to all corners of the ground, the winter before he joined us in 1974. Lying in my bed at that time, listening to Rowe rack up the runs and imagining what he might do for Derbyshire was a great thrill.
It never really worked for Rowe in England, but the lads in our current side offer genuine rich potential. Batting was obviously less straightforward than against Barbados earlier in the day, but Wayne Madsen ensured that our total was at least competitive. Madsen's apparent composure under pressure later was notable, but his ability to steer a weakened side to a defendable total was encouraging.
With Hampshire coasting at 50-0 in the seventh over a win seemed scarcely possible, yet between them slow left-armers David Wainwright and Chesney Hughes ripped their batting apart. Hughes has had a good all-round tour, but Wainwright will be especially pleased to return fine figures after working hard in partnership with the captain in our innings.
Nor should we forget the fielding, which was apparently very good and highlighted by Paul Borrington's arrow-like throw from the boundary to run out the dangerous Sean Ervine, a man who could well have won them the game. Bozza is an excellent fielder in a team full of them and is another who has enjoyed an encouraging tour so far.
Finally it came down to Mark Footitt. How many of you groaned, as I did, when his first ball in the over conceded an erratic five no balls? With five to win from six balls I was set to switch off but decided to see what happened next. Three wickets in five balls, all from searing yorkers, finished the game and saw Derbyshire win by one run, at the same time that Footitt finished with a remarkable 4-11.
“I just wanted to run in and bowl as fast a yorker as I could in that last over. When the first ball went for five I thought ‘oh no’ but then I got my line right and got the reward for a long winter practising that particular delivery” said Footitt afterwards.
If he can bowl like that on a regular basis we might just have a one-day team to be reckoned with. Last night I wrote that it was an important season for him.
He could have picked no better way to set out his stall to make it a good one.
Well done lads. Make sure you bring that form back with you!
PS Again warm congratulations to Tom Holdcroft for an outstanding Twitter feed last night. Last year this varied between average and poor, to be perfectly honest. The signs are that fans will be much better informed this time around, something we can all be thankful for.