And so it begins...
It's been a long cold winter but Spring is here once more (perhaps a long, cold one?) and most importantly the cricket is with us once again. The birds are singing, lighter nights have arrived and Derbyshire could be set for a good season.
Well, we all hope so. Our first fixture sees a short trip to Grace Road and near neighbours Leicestershire, starting on Sunday. The game sees us up against Daniel Redfern, making his first-class debut for them in a squad that contains eight players under the age of 25.
Nathan Buck, Anthony Ireland and Charlie Shreck make up an interesting and useful seam attack, while Josh Cobb will want to translate obvious talent into a greater weight of runs this summer. They will lean heavily on former West Indies batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan to provide ballast to an inexperienced batting line up.
Their squad in full:
Buck, Cobb, Eckersley, Ireland, O’Brien, Naik, Raine, Redfern, Robson, Sarwan, Shreck, Smith, Taylor.
As for Derbyshire, I don't expect major changes from the side that played Durhan MCCU, although Wayne Madsen kept everyone guessing with his comments after that game. We could see Tom Poynton in for Richard Johnson, while both David Wainwright and Mark Turner will hope for an opportunity in the attack. Given that Grace Road in a wet April is some way removed from its appearance in a dry August, my guess is that Wainwright will have to wait for his involvement.
Injuries permitting, I expect to see us go in with this side, which you will remember well:
My forecast? With rain expected on Sunday and heavier downpours on Monday, there will need to be a combination of good bowling and inept batting to get a result in this one. If the weather stayed fair I'd fancy us for a good start, but we all know that cricket is a great leveller.
Much as I'd like to predict a winning start, the weather suggests it will be the winner here, so I will go for a draw to start the summer.
What do you think?