Well folks, the East Midlands is going to be the hub of the cricketing world next week, after Nottinghamshire, as I expected, sank to a near two-day defeat against Durham. The latter will be crowned county champions tomorrow and deservedly so. They have played good, attacking cricket all summer and have been unstoppable for the past month.
All of which makes our display against them last week the more laudable. We made them work more than our dear neighbours, for all their expensive stars. Who comes out on top between them and Somerset is anyone's guess, though I'd not be surprised if both teams tried to include their international big guns in a match of such importance.
As I wrote last week, even if we dare to dream of a Derbyshire victory, it will almost certainly be on a 'result' track, which I'd expect to preclude a score of 400 and maximum batting points. My guess is that 300 would be a target, which, if we won and got our bowling points, would give us a haul of 22 from the game. Less than that makes the Somerset and Nottinghamshire tasks considerably easier.
Somerset could lose and stay up with seven bonus points, based on the above figures. Nottinghamshire would need maximum bonus points to avoid relegation if they lost, as we would have more wins over the season. A draw would suit both fine and we cannot do anything about the weather over Trent Bridge next week - nor the County Ground for that matter.
Few sides are anouncing full retained lists at this stage, as the uncertainty over their cricketing destiny will be a major factor. I am sure that Derbyshire, like other counties, will have players in mind for next summer, but the targets will depend on the tier we are playing in. Our pulling power will be different in division one, for one thing.
Glamorgan have pulled off a fine signing for the next two summers in Jacques Rudolph. Interestingly he has signed as an overseas player, not a Kolpak, so presumably retains hopes of an international recall, slim as they appear to be. Still, it worked for Chris Rogers, so you never know...
As I have written previously, I can see Kolpaks being back in favour next summer, if appropriate people can be found. The T20 is set to be played on Friday evenings across sixteen weeks and the likelihood of getting an overseas player to stay here for four months on a one-night a week deal is only marginally better than that of my being in the England tour squad this winter.
Finally tonight, confirmation from the club today that they are deadly serious in considering all options for their ground development plans. Quite right too. We have to be thorough and the viability of all locations has to be assessed and explored.
The County Ground may well remain a preferred option, but anyone who opts to call the bluff of the professionals we have at the County Ground could get a surprise. These gentlemen know what they are doing and will get the very best option for the club and its members.
I will be watching developments - pun intended - with considerable interest.