After many Autumns of seeing it happen, there is always some sadness in seeing unfulfilled talent depart the county scene.
How many who earn the call up to second eleven and senior cricket make the grade? A very small percentage, I would reckon, so the wheat is well and truly separated from the chaff. There are and have been some very good cricketers who didn't make it, going on to be excellent players at a lower level for many years.
Others take the opportunity to use rejection as a catalyst to redouble their efforts. Our own club's history will show how Paul Taylor went on to a fine county career elsewhere, after we decided he wasn't good enough. It also shows how Colin Tunnicliffe and Tony Borrington were released, before we signed them again after their performances in league cricket warranted another look. Then there was Les Jackson, our greatest-ever bowler, who wasn't rated until asked to bowl at Eddie Gothard in the nets. A few bruises and flying stumps later, Les was on his way to the finest of county careers.
This year we say farewell to Greg Cork and Tom Wood, though I suspect, as I wrote the other night, that other names may yet be announced. Cork had the onerous task of living up to the family name, difficult if it is that of a county legend. Like his father, Dominic, he was a pugnacious batsman who could bat attractively. Having seen him a few times, I always felt it his stronger suit, yet he never quite scored the runs to make a case for inclusion as a Luis Reece-type player.
His bowling was a few yards short of pace at top level, though he will likely take plenty of wickets in the leagues in years to come. Injuries this summer didn't help his case for retention and the emergence of Reece, a similar style of bowler, negated his selection on grounds of variety.
As for Tom Wood, he hits powerfully and is a good player, but after scoring a lot of runs for the Unicorns the previous summer, they were in shorter supply this year. There were some good scores, but a fairly established top six, for all its foibles, proved tough to break into. Limited one-day opportunities were not taken and he leaves, probably without showing how good he can really be.
As for those coming in, Callum Brodrick looks a player of talent and temperament and has already fought adversity to earn a crack at the first-class game. He played two or three innings that suggested he has what it takes this summer, but has to work on his fitness and physique in the months ahead. He is a brilliant fielder and could quite easily work his way into the senior reckoning in the next two years.
At nineteen, he has time on his side and an obvious determination to succeed.
As for James Taylor, at 16 he is one for the future, but his potential is obvious after good second team displays and a maiden first-class wicket against the West Indian tourists.
Taylor, Alfie Gleadall and Sam Conners make for a trio of young seamers who have much to offer, IF we can get them to the next level. Thus far, the careers of Ben Cotton, Tom Taylor and Tom Milnes have stalled and with Cork released, the search to be in the frame with Viljoen, Davis and Palladino would appear to be outside the county - for now.
Working alongside Viljoen and Palladino can only enhance the prospects of the young trio in the long term, though short-term reinforcements look to be required if 2018 is to be any more rewarding than this year in the four-day game.
One thought in closing. Muhammad Azharullah, as someone noted the other day, has been released by Northamptonshire. He took 31 wickets at 21 this year, hardly the figures of someone who is over the hill and remains a potent one-day bowler. Yet Buck, Sanderson, Kleinveldt and Gleeson block his path to regular cricket, hence the decision to release him, I assume.
He would be 34 next summer and my preference would be for someone younger to fill the gap in that area. I'd take Conor McKerr again in a heartbeat, but suspect that Surrey have lofty ambitions for a young man who showed his credentials on loan this summer.
There would be worse options out there, that's for sure. Either would be an improvement on what we have at present.