Back in the day, when my reflexes were good and my eyesight more acute, I opened the batting for Manchester Polytechnic, as it was then (now Metropolitan University).
We had a pretty good team, drawn from all over the country of course and we won three rounds of the national colleges and polytechnics cup, or whatever it was called. My opening partner, Nigel, was like our Virender Sehwag, while I played a more controlled, common sense role in the vein of Alan Hill. I scored less quickly and prolifically, but it worked and I had the nous to work him onto strike when the chance was there and keep the scoreboard moving.
Then came the day when we were drawn against Crewe and Alsager College, away from home. We left in good spirits, which were dampened a little when we realised our opponents had some good players, specifically four who played county second eleven cricket and a couple who played Minor Counties.
They put us into bat and Nigel's class shone through with a typically breezy fifty, peppered with cover drives and pulls. At the other end, I was finding it more of a challenge, managing to hang on in there but struggling to get better quality bowling away, though my rib cage and thigh pad served me well.
Nigel finally went for one big shot too many and from 60-0, our innings subsided to around 130 all out. I made twenty-odd and was, I think, eighth man out, the batting developing a somewhat binary look thereafter.
The point being, of course, that we all reach our limit in the game. I had reached mine, but was pleased I at least battled it out. Our opponents won by eight wickets and, on the way back in the minibus, Nigel told us he was chucking cricket. His rationale was that he had got to a standard he wanted, and was going to take up something else that interested him more.
I'd have loved Nigel's talent, but that lengthy preamble leads nicely on to the thoughts of the Leeds/Bradford batsmen as they head to be tonight. They haven't had any cricket yet, because of the weather, yet tomorrow walk out to face an attack that may well include three international bowlers.
They will all be much better players, of course, but some will find that a challenge, even against bowlers who at this stage are looking for rhythm, rather than outright pace. Others? Well, they may have one or two Nigels, as one might expect from a source that was represented by Luis Reece and Ben Slater
A strong Derbyshire side has been announced, largely because it is a much smaller squad and only so many can be omitted.
There's a good look to that squad, whichever eleven take the field, a nice look of youth and experience - and doubtless a degree of trepidation and excitement for those about to face what should be a testing attack.
I wish them well, but hope that Derbyshire start as they mean to go on, playing purposeful and aggressive cricket from start to finish.
Then next week, the real stuff starts, just as the weather improves (allegedly) and I make my first summer trip to Derbados.
Bring it on.