It is easy to forget, after the limp ending to a difficult season, that there was a point in it when Derbyshire sat top of the RLODC at the halfway stage. We were also in contention to progress from the T20 group stage to the knockout, something that has attained a nigh-mythical status in Derbyshire circles, right up to the last match.
Indeed, in the T20's opener we came close to beating the eventual winners, Northamptonshire, in a match that set a tone for the competition - whenever there was a close finish, we were on the wrong end of it. Twice we lost to Yorkshire, another side that made finals day, by one run, one of those occasions being when they had their England men in attendance.
Our worst was reserved for local rivals. Having effectively and professionally disposed of Leicestershire at Derby, there was a wretched return game where we never showed up, while a point from a rained-off game at Trent Bridge was shown as fortuitous when we were hammered in the return.
That the side was capable of good cricket is beyond dispute. In disappointing summers, the best of Neil Broom and Hamish Rutherford was seen in the one-day game, although they flopped in the pressure matches when you really need your overseas professionals to perform. Jimmy Neesham performed better than his compatriots, producing some useful displays without crossing the line into 'brilliance' that distinguishes the standout performers from the rest.
Matt Critchley bowled spells of precocious talent and Alex Hughes was generally tidy, but the omission of Ben Cotton, so successful in the previous year, for a few matches was a puzzle. Shiv Thakor was the 'go to' bowler and generally delivered, while Wayne Madsen, unsurprisingly, was top of the batting averages with some important knocks.
The 'Wes and Ches' combo rarely came off this year, Rutherford generally preferred for opening the batting and it was a tough summer for Wes Durston. He appeared to opt for a pinch hitting role that saw only one fifty in the summer and while a side injury ruled him out of a few games, he under-bowled himself at times. This was most evident in the RLODC game at Warsop, when he bowled only five overs while others of less experience were going around the ground.
In the RLODC we started well, with a stunning win at Worcester when chasing nearly 300, followed by a professional chase of a lesser total against Durham. Points from rain-offs against Yorkshire and Warwickshire were fortuitous, but we threw away a winning position that should have been a stroll against Lancashire and were thrashed by Northamptonshire. We didn't win another match from the halfway stage and the introduction of Dominic Cork as an 'advisor' in the dressing room.
Coincidence or not, like the summer it fizzled out. Ben Slater is worthy of mention for some sparkling RLODC displays, in a summer where he looked a million dollars on occasions and formed a good opening pair with Billy Godleman, who played some good hands. The batting was generally OK, but we lacked the 'oomph' to take games away from teams, posting competitive rather than intimidating totals.
We need more. It is unrealistic, perhaps, to see Derbyshire as trophy winners in the immediate future, but if Northamptonshire can do it, why can't our side, if it produces performances where eleven men play a part?
For improvement, much will depend on winter acquisitions, further progress from young players of talent and reducing errors in the field. I'd like to see Alex Hughes, an effervescent cricketer who did well in the role as a stopgap, as one-day skipper next year, unless we can attract someone from elsewhere for who the captaincy is a deal-maker.
Much to do then, and while supporters will sit in front of their fires and think back to one or two days in the sun, further progress in one-day cricket, especially from a tough T20 group that produced all four finals day sides, is going to take some doing.
Still, we dream.