Friday, 18 October 2013

Trio of County Ground contracts as off-field review commences

All those recent knee-jerk reactions of supporters were proved to be my predicted waste of time today, when Ben Slater was offered a one-year deal in which to cement a place in Derbyshire's future.

The comments flying around at the recent news that Slater wasn't being offered a contract 'at this time' were silly, as the statement suggested that such an award may well be pending 'something' - whether an analysis of finances, an agent being more sensible with demands or whatever. Some of those comments were patently unfair, as the one thing you cannot doubt now is the professional nature of the club set up. If a player warrants a contract and his demands are sensible he will get a new deal. If performance, conduct or demands doesn't allow for it, he won't. It really is as simple as that.

I had little doubt an offer would be forthcoming once the barrier had been overcome. Slater didn't pull up trees in last season's performances, but there was enough promise to suggest that his displays were building blocks for the future. That the lad has the strokes and technique is not really the issue. We need to see if he has the temperament now and he has work to do in the coming months to prove that is the case.

Equally interesting are the summer deals offered to seam bowling youngsters Greg Cork and Johnny Marsden. Press interest is likely to centre on the former (left), as it always will with such footsteps in which to follow. At nineteen, Cork junior bowls impressive left-arm seam that takes good wickets, hits a cricket ball very hard and fields brilliantly. There's not much to dislike in such a combination and I'm especially touched that our birthdays are only a day apart. OK, that and 36 years...

Expectation will be high, but I understand he's a grounded lad and will doubtless be encouraged to make his own way in the game by his coaches and father Dominic. We shouldn't expect the second coming, but hope for the continued development of a player who appears to have much to offer. He will be given opportunity if he works at his game, that's for sure.

Johnny Marsden is the least known of the three, but at twenty the word is that he is genuinely quick (too quick for the photographer who couldn't get his full head in the photo on the left...). Certainly that reputation has carried with him from his early days at Buxton CC and the opportunity to work at his game that the contract affords will be invaluable. Bowling coach AJ Harris has shown with Mark Footitt  that he can improve bowlers and I will watch his progress with great interest.

The signings follow on from my assertion last week that the progress of academy talent was the reason for the release of Ali Evans. That has been proven correct and the news releases suggest that Karl Krikken will now pursue other targets to further strengthen the squad ahead of 2014.

Such signings will come at a cost, of course and the review of the club's off-field spending is a sign that no stone is being left unturned in the quest to improve the playing budget. That such a review may ultimately result in job losses is unfortunate and will be worrying for personnel, but it is absolutely the right thing to carry it out. I hope that the requisite savings can be made without redundancies, but the number one priority has to be the playing side of any sports club.

I expect to see more news in the near future, so keep your eyes on the blog.

Enjoy your weekend. I hope to be back soon, with the next installment of the A-Z of Derbyshire cricket.

1 comment:

Marc said...

I,m pleased to see Slater given this contract,it,s no more than he deserves. I don,t think the critisism was a knee jerk reaction,merely a response to the announcement made by the club at the time. Both Slater and Elstone deserve a chance to show what they can do next season. If it doesn,t work out then fair enough,we may have to look elsewhere,but the decision to retain both, is for now, the correct one.

Cork and Marsden are obviously unknown quantities at the moment but it seems both are rated by the club. Again,one can only wish them the best and hope they live up to expectations. We really do need one or two bowlers to start coming through the system and prove genuine contenders for the senior team. Good luck to all of them.