Saturday, 4 June 2016

A player to keep an eye on...

Thank you to all of you for the thougthful and tactful comments on both yesterday's game and the departure of Graeme Welch. While I don't always agree with every comment (and say so, when that is the case) I respect individual opinion and well-made points, which these were.

It looks like Wes Durston is going to be out for around a month, with a strained inter-costal muscle. It is a major blow to the side, but presents opportunity to Alex Hughes as the newly-crowned one-day skipper. I like the decision to give it to an able and intelligent lad and if he comes up with such gems as Wayne Madsen to bowl the first over and take a wicket on a regular basis, he'll do me. He will be aware, of course, that sometimes things come off and sometimes they don't, but I will never fault someone for trying something different. One of my pet peeves in cricket is captaincy by numbers, something which for many years we were guilty of in T20, but thankfully no longer.

So who replaces Wes? Well, Gary reckons Scott Elstone a good shout from an all-round perspective, but so too could be Greg Cork or Tom Knight. In T20 any of those would be my preference ahead of Billy Godleman, who isn't a short format player, or we could go with Ben Cotton and have another bowling option. We bat deep anyway and if six were needed off the last two balls either Cotton or Andy Carter would be as likely to succeed in reaching or clearing the fence as anyone.

There is, however, a potential T20 Derbyshire star of the future on our own doorstep. I'm not talking about Jon Tattersall, who is doing well enough on his trial with us to merit consideration for another summer, but Tom Wood.

Outside of followers of the Derbyshire Premier League and the Unicorns, the name may not mean a lot at this stage, but Wood has already, in the few opportunities he has had, shown he has the talent for a first-class career.

At 22 he has been scoring runs for fun for Ticknall, an aggressive batsman with all the shots and, increasingly, an appreciation of when best to play them. Last winter he was one of the leading scorer's in Melbourne first grade cricket, scoring almost seven hundred runs at an average over fifty and taking wickets with his useful medium pace. He was in contention for the league's Most Valuable Player award and had an outstanding season, this on the back of almost 1300 runs for Ticknall.

Earlier this summer, Wood made an unbeaten 163 for Ticknall in a club match against Sutton Coldfield that saw him catch the eye of the Unicorns selectors. Since then he has made good and steady runs for them in T20 against attacks of varying quality, a fifty against a strong Lancashire side being a standout. 88 against a handy Warwickshire attack, featuring  Javid, Wright and Hannon-Dalby suggested he could handle the fifty-over game too.

Yesterday he played for the Unicorns against Nottinghamshire, who fielded close to their strongest eleven for a run out. They won the game, as you would expect, but Wood blazed 67 from 35 balls against an attack featuring Fletcher, Gurney, Christian, Mullaney and Ball, who all played against Lancashire today.

I hope that there are plans to give a lad of obvious talent an extended trial. He's played a few second team games before, but his record suggests that he is now ready for a chance with a discerning county.

We didn't do too badly in taking a chance on Wes Durston and it could just be that the latest gem from the Unicorns, rather than plying his trade in the west country, is on our own doorstep simply seeking opportunity.

I'll be disappointed if it doesn't happen, to be honest. We're not that awash with local batting talent that we can let one slip through the net and our loss could well be someone else's gain.


Knacker Knack said...

Been there, been that. When you are young a negative comment from an influential person can follow you around like a bad fart. Dean Headley and Paul Taylor were both rejected and both went on to represent England. Some people grow when challenged, so challenge them.

Roy of the Falcons said...

When I hear or read about a young man who comes through outside the academy system I am always reminded of a comment over heard many years ago "Would you give up a good job at Royces' to play for this lot?" Whilst I do not agree entirely with the speaker it does bring a touch of realism. I wish the young man well and if his dream is to play first class cricket then let's have a good look at him.