The news that Tom Poynton is recovering well from the injuries sustained in an early season car accident is about the best that Derbyshire fans could have hoped for at this stage of the summer, when trophies are out of reach.
That accident, which tragically took the life of his father, Keith, cast a cloud over our early summer from which we struggled to recover for some time. For all the support mechanisms that were put in place, such an occurrence could not fail to have an impact on the others in that dressing room. It is a close one, not so much a team as a tribe and the impact will have been substantial.
They have done well to come back from there with more recent performances of encouragement, but we have missed 'TP' behind the sticks. Gareth Cross has done fairly well, without convincing everyone at this stage, but Poynton is the most complete player to emerge from the academy in recent years.
It isn't just his pugnacious batting, which will only get better, nor his undemonstrative glove work, which rarely slips below tidy and is often brilliant. Most of all we have missed Poynton's 'gobby' attitude in the field. It is a term I use affectionately and is crucial to any team. Watch any Derbyshire side in the field with Poynton behind the stumps and you will be immediately aware of a non-stop barrage of encouragement. It happens after every ball and the influence of Karl Krikken, never a man to use one word when five would do, is obvious.
If he is able to play a full and active part in pre-season training, which starts in November (seriously...) then we can all be grateful to the medical and physio team that have got him there. One thing is for sure - a Derbyshire side with Poynton in it will be so much the stronger.
Elsewhere, it appears that Marcus North may have played his last game for the county and that his battling innings at Trent Bridge will be his last in our colours. It hasn't been a huge success and when I have seen him he seemed much less mobile than I remembered. He has been a good cricketer, but his perceived value to us, as far as I could see, was as an all-rounder who might take his share of wickets with tidy off-spin, while contributing good runs in the middle order.
His spectacular assault on Leicestershire at the start of the T20 was as good as it got and he will be disappointed with his returns. When he bowled it appeared to be an afterthought and I can only assume that there was an injury that prevented it. There is no other logical reason.
Whether he retires at the end of the summer or goes on to another county is a moot point, but Marcus has been a good and worthy cricketer. At his best, which we saw in his first stint with us, he was very good indeed.
He deserves thanks for his efforts, as well as in the way that he conducted himself as a professional.
Finally tonight, I meant to extend my condolences before now to the family of former Derbyshire chairman, Trevor Bowring, who died earlier in the week.
Mr Bowring was a gentleman and I had the pleasure of meeting him on several occasions. A resident of Kelso in the Scottish Borders, he was kind enough to offer me a lift to Derby should I ever have needed one. It was an unnecessary, but appreciated gesture by a man who did a lot for the county club.
He will be sorely missed.
Postscript - I will be making a trip to the County Ground over the weekend to see the first two days of the Worcestershire game. I look forward to some good cricket, as well as seeing friends, old and new.
And if Craig is reading this - it will be good to catch up, my friend!