This time last year Derbyshire returned from a pre-season trip to find that their chairman had resigned, the precursor to a sequence of events that culminated in the Head of Cricket's departure mid-match a few weeks later and the introduction of Chris Grant and Karl Krikken to the senior roles.
Twelve months on and the season is more eagerly awaited than the opening of a "Swap Your Penny for a Twenty Pound Note" event. We have a bright young team under a talented, articulate and able captain and the promise is one offering aggressive and fearless cricket. What's not to like?
I should now be able to make the opening two days of the county season, so all I need is a little luck with the weather and the return of Derbados to enjoy next week immensely. A meal with my parents next Wednesday, celebrating 59 years of marriage (theirs, not mine...) then two full (please, Lord) days with my eyes firmly fixed on that most hallowed turf at the County Ground.
I also hope to catch up with a few people while I'm down and look forward to meeting some with who I have been corresponding over the last few months. I'll pay a visit to the club shop, the supporters club book shop and quite possibly anywhere else that will have me. I really love April...
There's something SPECIAL about the start of a season. Eighteen first class counties all start in the same position, all optimistic about the months ahead and all hoping for a little luck with the weather, injuries and the toss. Derbyshire will be the same as all of the others, but this year have reasons for genuine optimism. I still maintain we are short of one seamer, as that most arduous of tasks takes it toll on the most robust. We have no Steffan "Mr Indestructible" Jones this year, so three of our five front line seamers need to be fit most of the time. It could be fine, but late, breaking news of another one signing a summer deal will be met with considerable rejoicing in my house.
At the end of this week I'll be previewing our Championship and one-day hopes and telling you what I think will happen. I'll also look at our rivals' squads and give an honest appraisal of where we might finish, given a modicum of luck.
Eight days to go. Woo-hoo!!