Sincere apologies for the lack of blogging this week, but this time of year in retail is somewhat manic and this year seems to have overtaken all the others in that nature. Suffice to say that there have simply not been enough hours in the day and for a few days the blog has perforce had to take a backseat.
Things have been moving down Derby way. Work has commenced on the new media centre, which will be complete during the coming season. The difference that it will make to the look of the ground will be considerable, with the Falcons Stand moving towards the Gateway to accommodate a building which will be the next step in the transformation of the place.
There will be those who grumble, doubtless having enjoyed an excellent view behind the bowlers arm at the Racecourse End, but it is all in the name of progress and there is no dissent from me. I usually wander around the ground anyway, enjoying the cricket from various angles as the day progresses and catching up with friends old and new.
I was also pleased to see the players getting involved in the club's hospitality work. It is important, as far as I am concerned, that players are grounded and fully appreciate the lifestyle that first-class cricket affords. There is a lot of work, without doubt, but you wouldn't get many cricket fans loathe to swap places with them, talent permitting, in a heartbeat. Getting those players involved in other work around the club is a sensible approach, one typical of the people at the top.
Around the circuit there have been a few things happening at last. Ross Taylor has signed for Sussex for the first half of the season, a very shrewd signing of a fine cricketer, while Gloucestershire have picked up Australian Andrew Tye for the T20 Blast. It is a signing reminiscent of the one we made last year of Nathan Rimmington, though Tye will hope for better luck than his fellow countryman. His early injury set him back and he rarely showed the form that has made him a star T20 performer in his own country.
Meanwhile Rory Kleinveldt has re-signed for Northamptonshire, where he has proved a popular and hard-working professional. I still wonder whether the additional seam bowler that Graeme Welch has alluded to may come from there, or perhaps another Kiwi with a UK passport. I agree that it is one area where we are light on experience and one more player might make all the difference to our prospects and the supporters perception of them.
Mark Footitt took wickets in his first appearance in England colours, though the opposition barely seemed first-class standard for the most part. I do hope that Mark gets an opportunity, especially when Dale Steyn has been declared fit for the home side in the forthcoming Test series. Mark may not now be a Derbyshire player, but it was his feats in our colours that got him this opportunity.
Finally tonight, I have thoroughly enjoyed the DCCC Advent over on the club site.
For those who don't really know him, today's feature that shows all of Andy Carter's wickets from 2015 is very impressive. His whippy action gets bounce and movement and having seen this, I am even more convinced that he will be a major force for us in the 2016 season.
I like aggressive, in your face players, as they lift a team.
Andy Carter is all that.
See you soon