Sometime later today, or tomorrow if things are a little quiet, this blog will go past the quarter-million hits barrier, which is a figure I never expected to see in my wildest dreams. I wasn't sure that people would want to read my thoughts on Derbyshire cricket, let alone come back on a regular basis for more.
To all of you, wherever you are, a heartfelt thankyou. The last two months, aided and abetted by Derbyshire's performances, have seen new records for the number of hits and new members are coming along all the time - such is the interest in Derbyshire cricket.
The last few days have seen a little rain on Derbyshire's championship parade, but we shouldn't be overly disheartened at this stage. Did anyone else out there genuinely expect us to be table-toppers at the halfway stage? I didn't and there were probably a few of you thought I was crazy to predict a promotion challenge when I did so pre-season.
I still think we're a good four-day side and we have already proved that to be the case. The only concerns are if we have injuries to any of the main seam bowling attack and if one of the opening batsmen in contention for a regular role doesn't fire sometime soon. Realistically Usman Khawaja is going to have to take on one of those roles when he arrives, as positions three to six seem pretty much sown up at present. Wayne Madsen has made an excellent job of first wicket down and the position at least affords him a brief respite (too brief at times) between marshalling the troops in the field and going out to bat. The mental demands are considerable and should not be underestimated and the skipper gets an opportunity at three to unwind a little, however briefly.
There can be few complaints about the efforts of Wes Durston and Dan Redfern at four and five, while Ross Whiteley has continued to do a decent job at six, albeit without the weight of runs that signalled his introduction to the side last summer. Second season was always going to be harder for Whiteley on the unforgiving county circuit, but he will be back in his usual vein of form sometime soon.
Getting one from Borrington, Lineker and Hughes into form for the other opening berth must now be priority for Karl Krikken and David Houghton. All have the ability to score good runs, but for some reason its not quite fired as it should have done so far. I suspect that Matt Lineker has a big game at Leicester this week, as Chesney Hughes will then be in poll position with the advent of T20s to have a run for the start of the second half of the Championship campaign.
Suggestions that we should have gone for Michael Thornely are fair, but I'd prefer to judge his ability after he's scored solidly against better attacks than Glamorgan. Suggestions on the circuit were that he was less good against pace and bounce, so we'll see as the season progresses.
Derbyshire need to get someone into form from within and they will do so. The Falcons will be flying again, very soon.