The casual observer may have noted that Derbyshire's second eleven were soundly thrashed by Warwickshire yesterday, by an innings and 217 runs.
Yet the detail confirms why. The Derbyshire side contained only five non-Academy players, James Kettleborough, Harvey Hosein, Callum Brodrick, Will Davis and Tom Wood. Their opponents had an attack of Oliver Stone, Oliver Hannon-Dalby, Keith Barker, Sunny Singh and Josh Poysden, while Dominic Sibley hit an unbeaten 278 for them.
Exposure of the academy players to a higher level was a reason for the release of Tom Taylor, Ben Cotton and others over the winter, and at the very least it will let them know what they need to do to step up.
One player showed he may well have what it takes and that was Callum Brodrick. He made 24 and 63 from the match and, just turned 20, looks a player with a future. That attack was county standard and Callum now knows he can score runs at that level, psychologically no bad thing.
Scoring runs at that level, regularly, is key for all young players intent on a first team place. Should one arise, the man scoring those runs will edge ahead in the selection discussions. Irrespective of wicket-keeping, Harvey Hosein will be in those discussions too, as you never know when a broken finger or pulled hamstring presents opportunity.
With four in each innings, Harvey didn't take an opportunity, but will doubtless score runs and press his claims over the summer. Meanwhile, Will Davis took two wickets in his 21 overs but went for 128 runs, so his first-team chance may need to wait a while. Indeed, Alfie Gleadall, with 2-66 in seventeen overs did better and will be a quick bowler to watch.
I'll be back tomorrow, as the squad for the Durham game is announced. It is the last one before attention switches to the RLODC for a month, so a good performance is imperative.