Forgive the use of the acronym, but do please get used to it, because the idea of typing 'Royal London One-Day Cup' on a regular basis in the next couple of weeks doesn't thrill me unduly...
Tomorrow, or rather today as I type this, Derbyshire play Somerset at Taunton in the first match of a competition that will test their resilience and their Sat-Navs in equal measure. Whatever criteria were used to draw up the schedule, logic doesn't appear to have been one of them. Between tomorrow and next Sunday, the route seems somewhat akin to the old American rock 'n' roll tours, where bookers picked up gigs anywhere and everywhere with scant disregard for the distance in between.
Sunday in Taunton, Monday in Derby, Wednesday in Bristol, Friday in Derby and Sunday at The Oval is like the bad old days of the John Player League, when championship games were interrupted by cross-country hikes with little regard for the welfare of players. After throwing yourself around all day, you ideally don't want to be sitting in a car for several hours, perhaps explaining why we have taken another bowler on loan, just in case.
At least the competition sees us play largely different opposition to the T20, which is something. Despite their being a first division side, this Somerset side is beatable, with no Gayle and no Trescothick from the T20. Their squad, captained by the dangerous Jimmy Allenby:
Jim Allenby (capt), Tom Abell, Michael Bates, Tom Cooper, Lewis
Gregory, Tim Groenewald, James Hildreth, Jack Leach, Johann Myburgh,
Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Peter Trego and Max Waller.
As for Graeme Welch, he has matched a youthful-looking opposition with an equally young Derbyshire squad of rich potential:
One would assume that Matt Critchley will be twelfth man, but there is good depth to the batting that at some point will bear fruit. The duration of the innings and the less frenetic manner of the cricket should suit us. If we can bowl with similar professionalism and skill as we did in the shortest form of the game, there is no reason why we should not do well in this competition.