Derbyshire 280 and 261-4 (Rutherford 68, Hughes 66 not)
Played five, drawn five in the championship, ahead of the last game in this section of it, against Kent, starting on Sunday at the 3aaa County Ground.
There have been recurring themes - inadequate first innings, lack of penetrative bowling and then a more encouraging second innings. Again, the wicket proved to be the only winner and there was a brief wobble when we lost two quick wickets, but it never looked likely that we would be bowled out a second time, largely thanks to a fifty stand between Hamish Rutherford and Tom Taylor.
Taylor, like Ben Cotton and Tony Palladino, can bat and the days when our last three lasted the time needed for the openers to pad up again are gone. Rutherford did well and will be glad to get some runs under his belt, yet will be disappointed to be out before the end.
I remember years ago talking to a grizzled old professional from Lancashire and the subject went around various themes of batting, one of them the importance of 'cashing in'. I remember him saying to me that any batsman can get out early, even into the teens, but it is important then to capitalise on a start and make a big score. Nick Browne did that, as did Ed Joyce in the last game. Even if they have two or three low scores, they have the memory of that to draw on, like water reserves.
Chesney is doing that this year, his seventh on the staff. There have been times in the intervening period where it looked like he might not make it, but the same thing happened with Billy Godleman, Wes Durston, Wayne Madsen et al All needed several seasons to cement their game at top level, so don't you think we are being unrealistic expecting our seamers to do it in less experience than a season's worth of games?
I take points about Ben Cotton and Tom Taylor, but at their ages, the bad days outnumber the good and do for most young players. For every Stokes and Root there are a couple of dozen others whose progress is slow. Look at James Vince, who has looked a good player in flashes for a few years, but only now, in his eighth year as a professional, is he seen as the finished article.
In the absence of bottomless pits of money and with a relatively small talent pool to draw on, Derbyshire has to produce its own and wait for them to flourish. I was told the same thing by John Wright when I interviewed him for my forthcoming book You cannot fast track experience, match skills, mental strength and consistency. In much the same way as a girl has to kiss a lot of frogs to find her handsome prince, batsmen and bowlers alike must experience plenty of failure to enjoy and capitalise on success.
I won't join those suggesting a change of coach, as it is daft. A new coach can't fast track those things above: all he might do is perhaps capitalise on the efforts of those who preceded him. Eddie Barlow worked wonders at Derbyshire, but had the benefit of a clutch of young players, like Tony Borrington, Alan Hill, Harry Cartwright, Colin Tunnicliffe and others, who got their break under Edwin Smith.
Graeme Welch is respected in the game and I doubt we could get a better qualified coach. Yes, if we make a hash of T20 again and play poorly in the fifty-over competition, the grumbles will turn to shouts, but the young players have to learn. To suggest, as someone did the other night, that 'this is the worst Derbyshire team I have seen' only indicates the short-term support of youth. I have seen plenty worse, believe me. Some had wretched days without break, but it lessened neither my support nor my hope for something better around the corner.
The Kiwis will come good and Jimmy Neesham will be very important. We bat long and have young bowlers with good skills for T20. I won't pretend we have excelled thus summer, but we are still unbeaten. The weather has helped in that, but Welch and his staff can only pick who they have on the staff, and can only have on the staff who and what they can afford.
If it takes another couple of years or so, such is life.
Enjoy the ride, bumpy as it is at times, then savour the end product.
It will come together.