On my way to the cricket yesterday, I stopped at Morrisons garage near the ground to get some fuel.
As I was filling up (the car, I wasn't emotional at the thought of being at the cricket again..) I looked across the forecourt and saw an unmistakable face across from me.
'Twas Gregory Cork with his motor, a modest but nice set of wheels and a personalised number plate to boot. It struck me that it was the first time in all my years that I had seen a Derbyshire player out of context - i.e. away from the ground.
I've met celebrities in unusual places before. I once met American country music star Marty Stuart outside Marks and Spencer in Glasgow (he was playing there that night, he hadn't taken a wrong turn...) and I also bumped into - literally - the actress, Greta Scacchi in WH Smith. We had a lengthy conversation, something along the lines of:
Me - "Oh, I'm sorry.."
Her - smiling...remember that - "It's alright."
I'm sure she fell for my debonair charms, but then she was gone from my life forever. But she smiled at me and I remind my wife of that whenever we've seen her in films subsequently. Usually White Mischief, in which she played a part where she was gorgeous. And also naked for much of the time.
I didn't get a chance to chat to Greg, but the portents were good as I went into the ground and had a look at the newspaper. I was surprised by something that I read.
Sam Kelsall released by Nottinghamshire.
Really? I subsequently heard from a couple of contacts on the dark side (I jest, lads...) who told me that their club were planning to sign Will Root, brother of Joe, who had a fine season for their second team. Kelsall was apparently sacrificed so they could engage Root. Even moneybags Nottinghamshire have to balance the books...hold the front page!
It set me thinking though. Kelsall, a diminutive batsman of similar stature to James Taylor, came through the same, excellent Staffordshire system that has seen us benefit from Alex Hughes, Ben Cotton and Tom Taylor in recent times. He will be well-known to our club and its coaching staff and would be of value as an option in the opening berths.
While Wes Durston and Chesney Hughes have been one-day options, neither are really four-day openers. Kelsall could be. He averaged over forty for Nottinghamshire in the second eleven championship; over fifty in the one-day competition. While we have plenty of middle-order competition for next year, we don't at the top of the order. He is the right age (21) and right ability for us and, while I can see interest from around the circuit in such a player (er...Leicestershire for one) he would surely be attracted to an opportunity to join Welch's wonders. Crucially, he should also be affordable.
I have no idea if he fits the bill for Graeme Welch, but he seems a better fit, at least to me, for where we are going than someone like Stephen Peters or Matt Pardoe, released by Northamptonshire and Worcestershire respectively.
And if he turned out as well as Mark Footitt - we'd not complain, would we? Something to think on, over the weekend.
Enjoy yours. Tomorrow I drive back to bonnie Scotland.
Maybe I will see Greta again...