Charlie MacDonnell and Greg Cork make their first championship appearances of the summer for Derbyshire against Essex tomorrow.
It makes sense, as it affords an opportunity to have a look at two players who have good second team form of late. For Cork, at the end of his current deal, it is a chance to see if he can make the step up that was breezed by his father, Dominic. For MacDonnell, who started the summer in the Durham UCCE team, it is an opportunity to stake a claim for a contract in 2017.
MacDonnell's early season efforts for the university side see him currently sit with a first-class average of just under 49, though this will be a tougher level for him, of course, I just hope that the same opportunity is afforded to Tom Wood before season end, another lad - but of local origin - to have made a good fist of second team cricket this summer.
The emergence of both means that there is no place tomorrow for Hamish Rutherford, who we must now assume has played his last game for the county.
With the squad shorn of several players through injury and having already left the club, most of the rest of the side is effectively picked by them all having the requisite body parts in working order. It reads:
No idea on the final side, but all eyes will be on Wayne Madsen to see if he can become the first man to a thousand runs in the country. Sam Northeast (995) and Keaton Jennings (965) are closest rivals and I guess it will come down to which teams bat first. Whatever happens, Wayne has had another fine summer and if we had a few more at that standard we would do much better.
Essex have taken Yorkshire all rounder Will Rhodes on loan for the rest of the championship season and he makes his debut for them in a side that is also hit by injury to key bowlers, with others rested ahead of their RLODC match next week. Their squad:
Ryan ten Doeschate
I am sure Nick Browne will get up in the morning and practice acknowledging the applause of the crowd, as he normally scores big against us. There's no reason for us not to do the same, though, with a decent batting side.
I'm calling it a high-scoring draw as I can't see where the wickets will come from, to be honest.
We'll see soon enough. Meanwhile, enjoy the beer festival, a terrific initiative that deserves to do well.