Thursday, 16 April 2015
Which part is perhaps subject to prior knowledge of the weather, to be honest. It took around six months for some bits of me to return to a normal colour after sitting watching the first day of the season against Northamptonshire in 2012. I don't recall being that cold before watching cricket, even with sufficient layers to have made a passable sightscreen had I lingered behind the bowler's arm.
Old Chaminda Vaas was the one I felt sorry for. He laboured in to bowl with the alacrity of a stuffed moose and the ball was coming out at a speed you'd expect the forementioned beast to muster. I felt sorry for fielders who had a red leather cricket ball coming towards them in such conditions, even with the now obligatory early-season hand warmers.
This week's game looks to be more favourable weather-wise and the game should be a good test of Derbyshire's potential. We shouldn't forget that we have a young side, nor that Lancashire are probably one of the favourites for the division. The addition of Australian James Faulkner to a side that already boasts Alviro Petersen and Ashwell Prince as Kolpaks is indicative of their strength, if not necessarily to their concern over the future of English cricket.
That's something that has struck me in the opening matches this summer - the number of overseas hired hands there are in games. Several sides have two or three players on either Kolpak deals or passports of convenience, more than in recent summers. The other thing that hit me was the large number of extras, Leicestershire 'starring' by bowling 45 no balls in the first innings against Glamorgan, who sportingly conceded 45 extras to reciprocate.
In the top tier, Sussex gave away 33 to Hampshire in their second innings, Nottinghamshire 36 in the Middlesex second innings - it is unnecessary and in some matches could be costly. I expect our lads to bowl with far greater discipline this summer, even allowing for the odd wild ball that nothing and no one could stop.
In other news, Nathan Rimmington (pictured) has arrived (and to prove it, he's here...) and will be playing some league cricket in the coming weeks ahead of the T20. He is a very good player and I expect his reputation to be considerably enhanced in the next few months. As a death bowler he is near Langeveldt standard and we have needed that in recent seasons.
It's all very exciting and to almost quote Martin Guptill on Twitter, there's only two sleeps to go...
Finally tonight, a mention for the Academy side, who started their season at Ticknall on Sunday.
They made 258 from their 50 overs, with Matt Critchley hitting an unbeaten 92 from just 41 balls. In reply, Ticknall had reached 54-4 when rain intervened, Adam Wheatcroft taking two wickets. I'd suggest they were robbed of a win, but it was a solid effort by the youngsters.
I hope to give them a mention through the season when I catch up on their news and, like you, wish them all a lot of luck.
Postscript - a big thank you from me to Office Care Commercial Cleaning, who have very kindly agreed to renew their sponsorship of the blog for another twelve months. It has resulted in a new-look header (thanks to Karl at Silver Birch Creative) and I hope you like it as much as I do.