Big thanks to everyone who looks in at the blog on a regular basis and is helping to continue its remarkable success.
Last month was the biggest ever out of season month for the blog, with almost 12,000 hits. The pre-season tour helped, of course, but this site continues to go from strength to strength. Wednesday marks its fourth anniversary, having started on April 4, 2008. Three years of 100% exponential growth have been followed by another which has seen over a 50% increase. Quite remarkable for a small county that has the smallest membership in the country; perhaps so for a blog on that county written by one person.
Small shouldn't equate with lack of interest though. I never cease to be amazed by the e mails I get from around the globe, all of which I am delighted to read and reply to. While some, especially in the early days, could be critical of the club, in the past twelve months there has been almost universal backing for the club, the chairman and Karl Krikken.
Keith Loring today tweeted that he feels the club are about to commence on their best season for years and it is hard to disagree. We're going to lose matches along the way - all teams do - and sometimes the aggressive brand of cricket promised will go wrong. It will, however, be a country mile away from the attritional game that I grew up watching in the 1960s, where scoring rates rarely exceeded 2.5 runs an over and most people preferred to see us bowl than bat, mainly because we were better at it and we could watch Bob Taylor.
Whatever we do this season, wherever we finish, whoever we lose to or beat, I am convinced that Derbyshire are doing EXACTLY the right things and are very much on the right path. The season may or may not see us end up with progress, but we can look forward to the next five years with greater confidence than at any time since I have been watching the club.
Even my Dad, not known for effusive praise, said to me over the weekend that they had some "cracking lads" at Derbyshire, the best bunch he's known. Considering that his following of the county goes back to 1946, that's as good a testimony as you could wish for.
Battle commences in four days and I will see the first day of the season for the first time.
Excited doesn't even come close...