My apologies for the lack of blogging this past weekend, but a combination of work and a need to get stuff organised for our imminent holidays meant I had very little spare time to comment.
Truth be told, there wasn't much to report. T20 Finals Day - or what I saw of it around work - was a disappointment, with a slow pitch hardly conducive to quick scoring or big hitting. Given that is a major part of it for supporters, the good crowd will have had limited fun, unless they came from Lancashire, of course.
Fair play to them for winning the whole shebang, but it shows that we just need to improve the fractions, the percentages, to compete more. We beat them at the 3aaa County Ground with some ease and with shrewd additions over the winter it is not unrealistic to think we could do better next year. I think the bowlers are already in place, although a second overseas player who can turn his arm over, or a Kolpak, would be useful. The nucleus is there, though and with another ten per cent we might escape the group stages next year for the first time since Gandhi was a lad...
Tomorrow sees us play a return fixture against Surrey, the opponents on what was our worst display of the summer - indeed, many a summer - earlier this year. It was the only time I have left a day's play ahead of the scheduled close and our lads had 'gone' way before they batted that day. This is a chance to make amends and I hope that the players remember the hurt after that game at Derby.
Fresh from his second team heroics, Tom Milnes is named in the squad and deserves to make his debut, ahead of what I expect to be a move to us in the close season. He replaces the injured Alex Hughes, still struggling after the blow on the hand against Kent and deserves a chance to show what he can do at county level. I suspect he will do rather well, judging by his figures for Warwickshire in the top tier.
The Derbyshire squad:
I expect the final place to be between Ben Cotton and Milnes, but have no more idea than the rest of you on the fitness of the others. It is a decent mix of youth and experience and there will be some nice sub-plots in the game. Can Billy Godleman get four successive centuries? Can Harvey Hosein replicate last year's feats? Can several young players reinforce the positive impressions of the summer, while Mark Footitt uses the opportunity of a game in the Big Smoke, aka where the journalists are, to stake a winter tour claim?
I hope the answer is yes to all of them, but our hosts welcome back Kumar Sangakkara in a strong side that is pushing Lancashire all the way for the title. With them promoted, next year should be a pretty even division two, whoever comes down. Their squad:
Gareth Batty (capt)
It will be a fascinating game and I hope that we acquit ourselves well against a determined side with talented players.
More from me tomorrow. In closing, just a heads up that the Peakfan family will be on their annual holidays from the coming Sunday, for ten days in the delights of Spain. While I will blog briefly in that time, when time and wi-fi availability fall into alignment, it will be as and when.
I will be back in time for our last game of the summer and should be down to see most of the Leicestershire game. It would be great to see old friends at that one, before autumn and winter fall upon us once more.