Thursday, 3 October 2013

The winter blog

I was genuinely surprised today.

I saw that Sussex had released Joe Gatting, a young player who appeared destined for better things and not just because of the family name. A first-class average of 30 doesn't truly indicate his talent and I would have thought he will be picked up very quickly by a discerning county, as the lad can play either form of the game with equal relish (not the type his uncle Mike liked...)

I'll not set a hare across the park by suggesting he should come to Derbyshire, as my guess would be that he will stay down south and prove a point before too long. I am surprised to see him let go, though and wouldn't be surprised to see Middlesex as the obvious next port of call.

Anyway, on to news of the winter blog. As you will realise, writing about Derbyshire cricket when there's not any cricket being played poses a few practical problems, but I've some exciting things lined up for the coming months. I intend to blog two to three times a week about player rumours and information that emanates from the club. With discussions ongoing regarding the ground development plans and where that might be there is plenty to keep an eye on.

Nor have we yet announced the contractual situation regarding a few players whose current deals expired at the end of the summer. Matt Higginbottom, Ben Slater and Ali Evans will all hope for 'proper' contracts and we'll doubtless hear the result of discussions on that in the near future. Then there's new players, where it gets pretty exciting.

I will also be running a few interviews with former Derbyshire stars and I am thrilled to be able to announce that club fast bowling legend Harold Rhodes has kindly agreed to be interviewed as the first of these.

Some of you will recall that around a year ago I commented on the book of a hundred Derbyshire cricket greats, saying that the basic premise was flawed. Neither on a local nor national scale has Derbyshire had a hundred truly great cricketers in our 140-year plus history, but Harold is definitely one of them.

1073 wickets at a shade under 20, together with a shamefully low two Test caps and scandalous treatment by the cricket authorities over a supposed 'throwing' controversy - it promises to be an exciting interview and a preliminary chat with him has already revealed a couple of issues that were overlooked in John Shawcroft's ghosted autobiography of a few years back. I've a lot of questions for him and look forward to sharing his responses with you in the weeks ahead.

I also hope to interview other Derbyshire personalities during the winter, time permitting, so watch this space!

Another thing that will be finished off over the winter is the A to Z of Derbyshire cricket. This interesting series was, you may recall, started by Nathan Fearn when he was at the club, but ceased when he moved to a marketing role with Burton Albion. Our opinions often differed on the selection, which stopped after we had agreed that Peter Kirsten was the best ever 'K'.

With the blessing of Tom Holdcroft at the club, I will finish the series over the winter months and look forward to your comments on my selections for the letters L to Z. No, make that W, as we've had no one worthwhile whose name began with Y and, somewhat unsurprisingly, no X's or Z's...

So that should all keep me busy, around the usual work and domestic commitments. Thanks to all of you for your continued support in a summer that saw more visits than ever before. July, August and September produced new monthly records nearing 25,000 hits and I am grateful to you for looking in on a regular basis.

An overdue thanks also to Sportskeeda followers, where the posts have had an additional 80,000 reads and where the blog is now featured on the site's home page. I had no idea that things would develop in this way when it all began five years ago and I'm thrilled - make that overwhelmed -  that sometime in the next couple of months the site will reach half a million visits.

Derbyshire cricket eh? Alive and well and the Falcons will be back.

Roll on 2014!


Matt, Littleover said...

It would be crazy to let Slater & Higginbottom go after their progress this year (with full acknowledgement there's still much work ahead for both) but I think Evans might be vulnerable to release - not someone you could feasibly see playing regularly next year, but as someone who'll be 25 come April, too old to be a raw rookie, and clearly overtaken by Higginbottom in the second half of the season.

Anonymous said...

I heard Evans had already gone

Marc said...

Could be an exciting winter in many respects Peakfan. Looking forward to Harold Rhodes,though my own recollections are somewhat hazy. I,m sure there will be many topics to keep us all occupied and pass the time along. I hate this period between now and the new year and even following the Rams is only scant consolation. Roll on next summer.

Tim, Chesterfield said...

I heard a couple of days ago that Slater wasn't being retaining.

John said...

Just heard ben slater not been offered a contract at derbyshire, WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON THERE? Can anyone please explain?

Sam said...

Don't understand the release of slater one bit. You would only imagine that they've got someone better already lined up, which I fear isn't the case