Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year to you all!

Thank you to each and every one of you for your comments and support in 2015. Your interest has, as always, been appreciated.

Thanks also to Office Care Commercial Cleaning for their support again this year. It has enabled the blog to be Google-ad free and has enhanced the viewing experience for everyone.

So what to look forward to in 2016?

Without doubt it will be a big summer for Derbyshire and for Graeme Welch. The last two summers have seen the 'weeding out' of the playing staff, with several senior players leaving for different reasons. At the same time, the careers of a number of talented young players have been fast-tracked and we have enjoyed their sporadic, at this stage, contributions.

It is always so, with young players. An occasional one may rise faster, blessed with talent that is given to few, but the path to being an established first-class cricketer is generally a slow one.

In the coming season, one or two of these players need to kick on, after several seasons on the staff. The failings of genuine youth are less tolerable if repeated in the mid-twenties, but there are signs that some of our young players could kick on.

As I have written before, the coming season is not necessarily about one player stepping up to replace Mark Footitt's wickets, nice though that would be. It is about a collective improvement. Were every player on the staff to improve their game by ten per cent this winter, the chances are that we will be nearer the top than bottom end of tables in the different competitions.

The winter recruitment hasn't been completed yet and we must all wait to see if one of Graeme Welch's seam bowling 'irons in the fire' gets hot. If it does, the talent and experience of that player may make the difference to any assessment. So too will the announcement of a T20 specialist. The right man may make all the difference to our prospects, though I will be wary of getting too excited after the Amla/Dilshan experience of last year.

It is the last year of Welch's current deal, though I hope we see him at Derby for a long time. The players can help towards that goal by doing their bit on the field, just as we supporters can do ours by encouraging as far as possible.

The year has turned and we can now say 'This cricket season' rather than 'Next'. A lovely thought.

Finally, the last signed copy that I had of my Edwin Smith biography has now been sold. By all means let me know if you are still looking for a copy, but the publishers are almost sold out of their unsigned stock.

For one of the latter, call 01323 460174 - while stocks last.

Enjoy your day!

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