It's been a busy old weekend but I didn't want it to pass without mention of a fine win by the second team on Friday.
Ticknall's Tom Taylor took 5-24 in nine overs, while Mark Turner took three wickets to complete a good match. There were a couple for Alex Hughes too, who also stated his fairly obvious credentials for the long season of cricket that lies ahead.
Taylor appears to be a genuine prospect. At 19 he bowls at a decent pace and tends to hit the back of length, perhaps in the style of Mike Hendrick in his pomp. Were Taylor to develop into another Hendo, few of us would have grounds for complaint. He will need to keep working, but the lad appears to have considerable potential.
I think that's something to focus on for Derbyshire supporters. As I stated earlier in the week, Graeme Welch quite rightly and sensibly went with his experienced players at the start of the season and you'd struggle to find a coach who wouldn't have done the same. Nonetheless, he will be aware of the talent that is in the second team and also emerging from the Academy.
As I write the Academy are 76-0 in their league match, with Tom Wood and George Sellers picking up where they left off against Northamptonshire in the week and Alvaston last weekend. While the acid test will be on how many of these talented lads emerge to become established in the senior side, I cannot recall a time when we had quite so many coming through.
They will enjoy more specialist, individual coaching than their predecessors too and critics of the setup should keep this in mind and defer judgement until we're much further down the line.
Yesterday saw a few Derbyshire players, past and present, in Premier League action. Kevin Dean turned back the clock with five wickets for Ockbrook and Borrowash, for who Wes Durston took two wickets, though the latter might have hoped for more than a brisk 24 when he batted, as they went down to Lullington Park in a tight finish.
Likewise, Billy Godleman scored only eight for Alvaston and Boulton, though 88 for Steve Stubbings and an unbeaten 55 from Andy Gray helped them to 209 all out. That looked to be enough to beat Ticknall, despite Tom Taylor's 4-43, as they slid to 64-7, but then the county's Mark Turner made an unbeaten 73 and steered Ticknall home by one wicket, aided and abetted by a rather unnecessary thirty wides...
Best all-round performance? That has to be Garry Park of Swarkestone. He scored 146 with nine sixes as they posted 298-5 in fifty overs against Marehay, getting fine support from Alex Hughes , who made 71 in just 62 balls. Park then took 6-58 as Marehay subsided to 133 all out. Hughes chipped in with two wickets and the two doubtless slept soundly last night!
He's a very good cricketer, Garry Park and I always enjoyed watching him bat, bowl and especially field. His final season at the club wasn't helped by an injury that he tried to play through, but he remains one of the very best fielders I have seen in the club colours, as well as a top bloke.
The first team will be in T20 action during this week's second team games and I look forward to seeing who stakes a claim for a place in the short form of the game. I've come up with a few versions of a Derbyshire side, but since we don't yet know the availability of Messrs Chanderpaul and North, the final eleven could change somewhat. North will, of course, offer a bowling option and we could theoretically have three spinners (Durston and Chesney Hughes included) in our top five batsmen.
That's one to look at down the line. For now, enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Postscript - another win for the Academy, this time by 100 runs - 223-7 against Marehay's 123 all out. Very good cricket by the young side!