It is a sobering thought at this time of year that there's only 12 days of first-class cricket to go before another summer ends. Then it will be back to dark nights, cold mornings and football. April will be a long way off and the cricket gear goes back in the loft for another six months.
If Derbyshire lose to Somerset over the next four days, the last eight will be largely irrelevant, as relegation will be all but a certainty. Our hosts will be a happy with a draw in this one, but a win, besides sounding our death knell, will come close to consigning Surrey to the drop too.
A thirteen-man squad has been selected for tomorrow's game at Taunton, which is as follows:
Hands up everyone who expects this track to turn for Piyush Chawla on the last couple of days? Me too and given that Somerset have brought one of the sub-continent's finest twirlers across the globe you wouldn't expect anything else.
I thought this game might see a return for Wes Durston on a ground he knows so well, but it was not to be. My guess would be that after doing well in the last three matches, Matt Higginbottom will be rested in favour of Tony Palladino, with the final place between Peter Burgoyne and Alex Hughes.
I think I did Tony a disservice in one of my pieces yesterday. He suffered more than most from dropped catches in the early season malaise that affected the side, but for which his season statistics would have been more impressive. I was also, having read it back later, perhaps unduly dismissive of his bowling efforts at Colchester, when he alone stemmed the tide of runs, conceding just 27 from his eight overs as nearly everyone else was hammered around the ground.
He's a very good bowler, as he showed last season and importantly is now fully fit for the run in. I think Higginbottom has done a good job in the past three games, but is less likely to bowl a side out at this stage in his development. On that basis - and also for the late order runs that he so often contributes - Tony gets my vote.
It is good to see Tim Groenewald back and with Mark Footitt the seam trio will be a handful against a Somerset side missing Jos Buttler, Peter Trego, Jamie Overton and George Dockrell. Their twelve:
Marcus Trescothick (capt)
If we could split that powerful opening pair early, it would expose a middle order that can easily go either way. Chawla's century at Lords is not indicative of a top batsman, rather a hitter who occasionally has a big day and our greater challenge will be in seeing off his leg spin through the match.
Can we win? Yes, if eleven players go out prepared to battle, as they have all season but especially in the last three games.
Will we win? I genuinely don't know, but Somerset will know they have been in a scrap and at this stage we can't ask for more than that.
Good luck lads. We're all behind you.