'Do you think that Luis Reece is the sort of player that we'll see coming in this winter, Peakfan? Good a prospect as he is, there's no real experience there'.
So ran an email I got last night and it made me double check a few things.
Since the start of the season we have released Rutherford, Hughes, Durston, Poynton, Carter, Elstone, and Knight. Harry White is still on the club site but was, I understand, trialing elsewhere, while we also had Luke Fletcher on loan. Tony Palladino will split his time between playing and coaching, while Callum Parkinson came and went faster than you can say 'got him with the arm ball'.
That's eleven players, twelve if you add in Jimmy Neesham. What is left makes interesting reading.
It leaves eighteen on the staff, according to the club site, which includes Harry White. Of those eighteen, only Madsen, Broom, Godleman, Wilson and Palladino could be considered experienced. Others have been around for a few seasons, but university and injury have limited their involvement.
No, I suspect that while we might see one or two young players engaged on deals for next summer (and I hope that Tom Wood is one, as second team player of the year) the rest of our signings will likely be men of experience.
They have to be. To win matches we need to take wickets and it is unrealistic to expect to do that with young players learning the game. There will be occasions where they provide shock value, play above themselves or the opposition go after them, but we cry out for the strike bowler and spinner I have mentioned before.
Harold Rhodes told me that when he started he got wickets because people took liberties against him, when they could take none off Cliff Gladwin and Les Jackson. Rhodes then played a similar role for Alan Ward, while Michael Holding took as many wickets at the other end as he did himself.
If we could find, somewhere, a seam bowler and spinner of quality, it would make the lives of the young bowlers much easier. They would still have to work, but batsmen would take chances, aware that X was bowling at the other end, while Y was limbering up. On good tracks, Billy Godleman could ideally then rely on someone to put the ball in the right areas and make batsmen work for runs. Tony Palladino did that admirably last year, but cannot be expected to bowl 25 overs an innings in every match.
Fingers crossed the next news will be of the signing of one such player, which would whet the appetite of supporters for a season that has to be better than the one just finished.
Enjoy your weekend!