I like facts. A larger part of my professional career has been based around the provision of information and statistics to justify service improvements and initiatives and when you dig deep you can often find some worthwhile figures.
To be fair, I didn't need to dig too deep on this occasion, as the information is out there. A glance at the statistics that matter - the Derbyshire Second XI championship batting averages in this case - tells you all you need to know about eligibility or 'worthiness' of contracts.
That top six run scorer list perhaps holds only one real surprise, the presence of Tom Knight, a fast-developing batsman who could push hard for inclusion in the senior side next summer if he continues to work hard. Wes Durston is in there, on the back of four innings, but the key statistics are those of the other four batsmen.
The figures make awkward reading for Billy Godleman, whose first eleven statistics bear a fairly direct correlation to those in the second team. He would have hoped for more than 150 runs from ten innings, with a highest of just 36.
Paul Borrington tops the run scoring chart and has a healthy average of 42, adding to some improved first team displays in one and four-day cricket. Ben Slater averages just under 35 from less innings, given that he was in the first team squad for much of the second half of summer.
Scott Elstone? Top average at 46 and he scored his runs faster than even Durston, which speaks volumes for his ability to play shots and find the gaps. Were it not for the Slater 'issue', there would be no question of his deserving a contract. Nor should there be any more - and note also that his sparkling fielding also effected two run outs, while his off-spin may also be utilised, especially in one-day cricket.
There's no such thing as a contract entitlement. You get what you work for in life and are generally rewarded for good performance. On that basis, Scott Elstone thoroughly deserved his one-year deal and Paul Borrington justified his current one. Billy Godleman can be considered fortunate to have a two-year contract on last year's figures, while Ben Slater is considerably less so, at this stage.
You can't blame Elstone for that, though. Good luck to the lad - I hope he scores a barrow load of runs next summer.
I look forward to seeing him in Derbyshire colours.