When the Derbyshire squad set off on their pre-season tour a few days ago, the coaching team will have wanted a tour where competitive cricket was played and batsmen and bowlers alike got some sun on their backs and some time in the middle.
What they got was four straight wins and players who face a season of challenge making the biggest early impact.
Neither Tom Poynton nor Shiv Thakor enjoyed vintage form in 2015, though there were mitigating factors for both. Neither had played much cricket the previous year and that kind of period on the sidelines has a detrimental effect on anyone's game. Runs proved elusive, yet the tour form of each suggested that we may well see them at their best this summer.
Thakor looks the real deal when he bats and bowls and needs only convert an air of composure at the crease back in to weight of runs. His bowling has improved immeasurably under Graeme Welch and there is a genuine all-rounder in this affable young man.
As for Poynton, he has shown in the past that he can bat and even last summer, his late innings flurry in a televised debacle against Northamptonshire was one of few highlights that evening. He used the depth of the crease to get under decent deliveries and lever them to and over the ropes, something he seems to have done again today. Sixteen from four balls in the last over is some doing at any level of the game and TP has laid down the gauntlet(s) to Harvey Hosein at an early stage.
We are lucky to have two wicket-keepers of such talent on the staff.
Alex Hughes was another to stake a claim for a place with steady knocks and key wickets, while Tom Milnes also caught the eye with important lower order runs and wickets. With one-day skipper Wes Durston scoring good runs and Chesney showing early form, the tour has given Graeme Welch a very pleasant early season headache.
In a Kiwi-less side, Welch has plenty of options to consider, with even Academy graduate Rob Hemmings doing himself no harm with runs today.
It is all very encouraging and they should return home in good heart, having shown the type of team spirit today, in pulling the game out of the fire, that will stand them in good stead when the serious stuff starts.
Safe home lads.