Last night, without the use of a crystal ball, I suggested that an 'impressive-looking' Derbyshire middle order might be worth keeping an eye on in the game at Belper, against Glamorgan's second team.
Indeed they were. Although Josh Clarke fell for just four, Ticknall's Tom Wood came in at four and played a lovely innings of 134 in just under four-and-a-half hours, with fourteen fours and four sixes. If Wood is not offered a deal for next summer, I will start to question the logic of our club's recruitment policy, plain and simple.
Here we have a lad from our own doorstep, who has scored heavily in local cricket for a number of summers, gone out to Australia and done the same in top grade cricket there, then come home and hit good runs against some quality attacks for the Unicorns. When given what appeared to be a belated opportunity in the second team, he responded with a double century, several other good scores and today's ton.
At 22, he is gold dust for a county not awash with exciting young batting talent and I hope that he gets a deal to show what he can do after a winter's work, when I would expect to see him push into the senior side. There is nothing to lose in playing the lad for the season's last two games, giving him a taster of the top level and seeing how easily he might make the transition. I would, were I picking the side.
Tom was joined in a stand of 158 by South African Daryn Smit, who batted to the end of the day in making an unbeaten 110 in four and a quarter hours of batting, nursing the side through to a healthy 364-6 at the close, after the quick dismissals of Greg Cork and Matt Critchley.
Ryan Bramwell earlier made a gritty 51, while Rob Hemmings shared an unbroken stand of 69 with Smit, who seems very much a player that we need for 2017. Neat and reliable behind the stumps, capable of playing the innings that the game demands anywhere between five and seven in the order, able to bowl challenging leggies - what's not to like?
Last night I got a lovely email from someone at his club, saying that he was a 'superhuman run machine' and 'the ultimate professional' who thoroughly deserved a crack at the county game. It is hard to disagree, looking at his statistics. If a player with Smit's track record isn't the answer to our wicket-keeping question, I'm unsure what that question is. He's also got an ancestral visa, I understand, which would allow him to play here in the same way that Wayne Madsen first did.
For me, an experienced nucleus of Madsen, Godleman, Broom, Smit and a bowling overseas, augmented by the youngsters as their form and fitness permits, would give Derbyshire a better-looking side for next year, one with a strong, experienced underbelly. Another seamer of experience and we'd be alright, allowing for continued development of those young players and the building of a strong 'Derbyshire' spirit.
Let's see what the days ahead bring, but it would be criminal to lose two players of unquestionable talent to other counties through a failure to act quickly.
Anyone got a pen?