There has been a fair amount of comment around regarding why there was no play at Chesterfield over the past three days, especially when the weather hasn't been too bad for the last day and a half. There has also been unfair comment towards the groundstaff, very able and talented people who deserve much better.
What has happened, my friends, is simple. The ground could take no more water. So much had fallen that the water table was high and I assume that Queens Park is still a slow drying ground - it usually has been. I have good experience of such grounds, as our club plays on one that is heavy clay under the surface. Once the limit has been reached, the water simply pools on the surface and has nowhere to go.
You can get all the forks, "Whales", sponges and whatever you like on the surface, suck it all up or move it around. You could, if you had the money and inclination, get a helicopter in to help dry the surface. But it still going to do nothing for the state of the subsoil, which is going to take longer to dry as the water has to gradually go away in its own time.
I assume Queens Park is a world away from our club - it has to be as they are confident in play tomorrow. We were once unable to play for three weeks of lovely weather, as the water table at the nearby river was so high and the water just sat there, while we did the same, talking up the runs and wickets we were missing out on...
The groundstaff will have done all that was humanly possible, but you cannot expect professionals to risk serious injury by playing on an unfit surface, which this has been for the past three days. Neither side will have been especially happy, but what can you do?
I was amused to see that Yorkshire wanted to get out there for that extra bowling point "that could be all important at season end". They seem to have discounted the fact that it was perfectly feasible for Derbyshire to have scored the 60-odd runs we needed for a batting point. Facing bowlers running in gingerly for fear of their footing, I'd have thought that eminently do-able.
So we are still 25 points clear and six games left, two of them against Kent. They might still win tomorrow, but require Glamorgan to do - well, do a Glamorgan and collapse like a pack of cards. It could happen, but shouldn't, based on today's events.
Yesterday came news that Northamptonshire were releasing a player who I have always rated - Rob White - who would appear the latest victim of the regulations if he departs the county scene at the age of just 32. He has played some very good innings for them over recent years - usually quickly - and he is their highest scorer in T20. Yet a more detailed look at his career statistics show why the parting of ways has come.
In ten years on the staff he has only eight centuries to add to many delightful, but often inadequate cameos. That is two more centuries than Wes Durston, who has played around 70-80 innings less for an average that closes in on 40. As I wrote the other night, after they are 26 years old players have to average more than their age or the writing is on the wall. At nearly 33, White averages 32, while Surrey will expect more of Vikram Solanki, for all his talent, than an average of 28 from 16 innings. That's marginally more than Ross Whiteley has managed in a challenging second season, a telling comparator.
And so to tomorrow. I'm less convinced that we will acquit ourselves well in a game of limited overs and am not subscribing to the "we could still qualify" message coming from the club. I'd love to, but until we prove we can chase a total with greater composure than that shown so far, I am not convinced.
More tomorrow. Fingers crossed for sun and a good crowd!