Thursday, 17 September 2015

Jonathan Clare released

Like that of David Wainwright, the release of Jonathan Clare, announced today, comes as no real surprise.

Approaching thirty, his fragile body simply didn't allow him to become the all rounder of quality that at one point seemed inevitable. When he averaged over 40 with the bat in 2008, adding in 31 wickets at 28 runs each, a long and glittering future appeared in prospect. Yet the following two seasons saw him make only nine first-class appearances through injury, the form of his breakthrough summer proving elusive when he did play.

In 2011, he returned and made almost 700 runs, with 43 wickets at 27 being further proof of his talent. We hoped that the injuries were behind him, but it was sadly not to be.

There was a dip in form in 2012, but since then, in three summers, he has made only eight first-class appearances. When he appeared, the ability to bowl the 'heavy ball', making him quicker than he looked, had gone and at times he cut a forlorn figure, bowling at a gentle medium pace, some way removed from his best days.

On those he could bowl at 80mph-plus, moving it around to get good batsmen out. His wickets often came in clusters, as if a confidence-meter had been plugged in and was gaining power. His batting was similar - he was never a good starter to an innings and was vulnerable early before he got his feet moving. Yet when he got through that and started to get his range, his driving and pulling were impressive and he looked like a player with everything needed to go far in the game. Except for a more resilient back, which suffered stress fractures and was at the root of most of his injury problems.

Last winter it appeared that this had finally been diagnosed and we were told that he should be fit from early season, following surgery. It was not to be and his only appearance in first-class matches came against Australia, when he looked a long way from the player that we all knew and loved.

Now he has gone. He rarely bowled in second team cricket in the past summer and didn't make enough runs to justify selection as a batsman alone. As a senior player in the club, on what one would assume an appropriate salary, the club could scarce afford to retain him, the money being better used elsewhere for someone able to make a more regular and positive contribution. Shiv Thakor and Alex Hughes are younger and similar players, leaving the writing writ large upon the wall.

He is a lovely lad, with a ready smile and a pleasant demeanour and I wish him well for the future. It is unlikely that it will be in the first-class game, as anyone offering him a deal would know of the injury issues. Yet Derbyshire fans will remember Jon as a player of great talent, who at times looked like he could become the real deal.

Thanks for your efforts Jon - and good luck wherever the future takes you.


Anonymous said...

Taking about wicket keepers peakfan, like you mentioned before Niall O'Brien might be worth enquiring about. with a batting average of over 37 and a very good keeper he would make a difference surely ?


Peakfan said...

Yeah but under contract John and we would then have 3 keepers on the staff..too many on a small budget.
We go with what we have unless De Kock fancies going Kolpak..which is unlikely! One needs to step up to plate next year for sure and we need a plus-20 average

Stephen Roe said...

Love the blog Steve but I still think your comparison of Hossein and Poynton to Banks and Shilton ("Leicester City, in the 1970s, found themselves with the world's best goalkeeper in Gordon Banks, at the same time that they had a huge young talent in Peter Shilton") is one of the funniest things I've ever read!

Peakfan said...

Not suggesting either are comparable in standard to their football counterparts, Stephen - merely using the analogy that you have a young lad and an older one and at some point a decision will need made. Nine times in ten, if the younger one is improving, he will win out!