Derbyshire 165 and 213-5 (Godleman 100)
Derbyshire trail by 152 runs
Having finally managed to get my wireless dongle to work in this neck of the woods, a chance to say a few things about yesterday and reply to notoveryet, as I promised I would do.
Credit to Alex Mellor and Matt Critchley in their battling efforts in the morning, while Billy Godleman's century gave us something to hang on to, even if it is, in the grander scheme of things, not amounting to all that much. We're left with the youngsters to battle through the final day, though logic suggests that it may not take too long, based on the evidence that precedes it.
It has been depressing fare, especially for those who sat through and endured it. That it is not good enough is undeniable and, as notoveryet says in his piece below my previous comments, a captain fielding in the deep is not the way to go about it. A skipper needs to be near his bowlers and to be within reach of his wicket-keeper for ideas to make the batsmen work. That is hardly likely in such a position and needs thought through.
Going back to those comments, I won't argue with what people see at games that I haven't attended. It is well known that I live 300 miles from the club, see them as much, over the course of the season, as I can and apart from those occasions, write comment pieces, not commentary.
These are based on match reports and other sources and I don't pretend otherwise. What I do know, however, is how much work will be going on behind the scenes to put it right.
I would be surprised if anyone, inside or outside the club, felt that the elite structure of the past three years had worked unconditionally. In principle it was fine, but was dependent on our bringing on young players, introducing them to the first team and watching them grow, aided and abetted by overseas players of quality.
Having a director, batting coach, bowling coach and fielding coach was overkill. That we introduced young players to the senior side is a given, as is that some have made decent progress. Aside from Ben Slater and Shiv Thakor, none would be said to have set the world alight this year, but there is promise in the likes of Davis, Critchley, Cotton, Parkinson and Hosein. Others may come into the mix, but it takes time, which the average member or supporter is loathe to give.
There is no option though. There are ten to twenty slower developers for every Root and Stokes, some never making it at top level. We still need to find a system, or a coach, to accelerate their progress, as Durham, Lancashire, Worcestershire and Northamptonshire seem to do more frequently.
There were few dissenting voices when Graeme Welch took over and while he did a solid job in some areas, we have been let down by overseas imports of some reputation, together with poor decision-making at times. In that, I agree with notoveryet.
Where I disagree is in his assertion that 'the advisory board cannot simply be trusted to get on the field decisions right any more'. They don't make those decisions, they appoint a coach to do so. That mistakes have been made is a given, but that will always happen and the board's task now is to find someone who can take the club forward, then leave them to get on with it. With the right person in place, you shouldn't need to do anything else.
Is that man John Sadler? At one point, in the honeymoon period enjoyed by new coaches in most sports, a lot of people would have said yes, but injuries and poor performances more recently have undermined his case. I don't doubt he is an excellent coach and he is a lovely bloke, but in any sport a coach will be judged on results, often irrespective of mitigating circumstances. Doubtless a robust recruitment and interview process will take place to identify interested parties and I hope that happens soon and we can get the right man in position with a remit to take us on to the next level. If we get that role right, the successful candidate should then be left to get on with it as he sees fit.
I also disagree that 'two of our younger players will be wanting to leave'. That is just scaremongering. How do you know that? No more than I can say that X's innings was the best I have seen. I don't say that, when I haven't seen it; by the same token, people should not make assertions in such a manner when not privy to individual thought processes and plans.
Bringing in new people is always a challenge for a smaller club, but the right coach with good contacts helps, as does having people involved who are on good terms with agents and individual players. As his interview in my recent book confirms, Chris Grant is very confident that 'there is no player in the game that we could not sign at Derbyshire' as the resources are, with prudent and innovative work off the field, in place.
There's a big winter of work ahead on that front, that's for sure.