We got back home this evening after a lovely stay in Scarborough. Cricket aside, the weather was better than we expected and we enjoyed the place as much as ever.
While I was away I was able to follow the cricket news online and the end of season comings and goings have started in earnest. Tom Jewell leaving Surrey, Murray Goodwin may be leaving Glamorgan (as may a few others, as church mice have been having a whip round for them) and Gareth Breese is leaving Durham. Oh, and Will Gidman is leaving Gloucestershire and has signed a three-year deal with Nottinghamshire. There's a surprise, our dear neighbours signing the star turns neatly developed by other counties. Who knows, all that spending might bring them a trophy sometime...
Sorry, tiredness-induced sarcasm I'm afraid, but you know what I mean. I've heard whispers of a few other players who may be heading out of exit doors at counties, but you have hopefully known me long enough to know I prefer to deal in fact, rather than rumour and supposition.
I really enjoyed the Scarborough ground in the week, even if a few of the fans were unnecessarily boorish as they watched their side win. They are a good side, but far from unbeatable, although the addition of their England stars would make them a tougher proposition. The side that played us should have made it a fairly even game, that's for sure.
Rich Pyrah is another of those players on the circuit who enjoy playing us and he usually does well with bat or ball. He's a good cricketer, too good to be playing only occasional cricket, but he seems happy with his lot in life and who can blame him? Yorkshire bowled steadily, put the ball in the right areas and simply waited for us to make mistakes.
The ball nibbled around early and we might have given them a better game had we won the toss, but that's what happens. The loss of Wes to a catch at third man was cruel and not in the script, while Marcus North didn't look in nick at all. He's a fine cricketer and we all go through those periods, but we could do with him rediscovering his best form for the run in.
It was all a shame as the decent crowd deserved to see the Derbyshire that has been so impressive in recent weeks. I can't argue that the batting is overly reliant on Wes and Wayne at present and when they went early it was hard to see where the 'big' runs would come. Billy Godleman again looked a good batsman, as to be fair he has on every occasion I have seen him. His defence was tight, his strokeplay firm and with conviction, but when he looked set for a big score, he gave it away with a half-cock force to backward point which undid much of went before it and cut him off far too soon. He needs a big innings sometime soon to convince the doubters that he can play a part in the new team. In much the same way as Paul Borrington, only the churlish doubt his ability, but players need to produce the statistics to reinforce the message.
I also liked the look of Alex Hughes and Ben Cotton. Hughes struggled with his timing, like a good few others. but still managed to hit a straight six out of the ground. Defensively he is organised and he is a busy player who could, with continued development, become our Paul Collingwood. His bowling looked a couple of yards quicker than when I last saw him and he almost got a wicket with a surprise bouncer. Such a delivery would have been cannon fodder a few months back.
Cotton has a nice, easy action and a run up that is rhythmic and smooth. I got the impression that, like Tom Taylor, he perhaps doesn't yet use his full height (which is impressive) but he beat both batsmen on several occasions, no mean feat on a wicket that rolled out pretty flat. A tendency to drag the ball down leg on occasion will doubtless sort in time, but has plenty of potential.
It was a bad day at the office but we move on. If we beat Gloucestershire next week and Lancashire beat Leicestershire, we can still make the quarter-finals. Derbyshire fans rooting for our red rose cousins? Whatever next?
It would make for an encouraging end to the season, one that looked like it had sailed down the Swanee river a few weeks ago.
Graeme Welch and his coaching team, still relatively new in their posts, deserve credit for the way in which they have turned things around. They will add a few more points to their credit rating if a side that was largely written off a couple of months back can finish the season strongly.
I think we can do our bit. We just need to rehearse that song now...oh Lanky, Lanky...