Given the nature of the people involved, I have no doubt that there has been plenty of discussion between Kim Barnett and Billy Godleman after the last two matches ended in defeats of embarrassing magnitude.
The defeat at Trent Bridge was understandable to some extent, because you are playing a high quality team with plenty at stake. They are desperate to hold on to the RLODC and came out fighting. We didn't, and with a couple of exceptions played poorly. As I have said before, if we don't have eleven men playing to their capability, we won't win many matches.
I thought the demons had been banished at Chester-le-Street, when after two days we were in a position of nigh total dominance. When, in the second over of the day, the home side were effectively 50-7, we should have wrapped it up. Bowlers of experience SHOULD have known what they had to do on that wicket. Why we didn't bowl Hughes or Madsen earlier, when others were bowling rubbish is a moot point, but we now need the senior group of players to justify their roles and responsibilities.
None of them offered much at Durham, with the exception of Tony Palladino. Billy and Wayne both looked jumpy at the crease, Viljoen was dreadful in the second innings with the ball. Smit keeps wicket to a high standard, but has to start getting runs. Critics will point to the number of byes conceded, but we would have needed Wilson and Hosein alongside him with gloves to have stopped some of the stuff that was coming his way. The number of diving stops, either side of the wicket, that he had to do was ridiculous at this level of the game.
There has to be realism among supporters though, much as it hurts. We cannot bring in loan signings. because they will generally cost money we don't have. If a club wants a player to go on loan for experience, yet still cover their salary, which I believe happened last year with Conor McKerr, it is a different situation, but there is not the money in our coffers for much more playing expense.
I'm thinking ahead, but as things stand I think next summer would be the last for Gary Wilson and Hardus Viljoen, two senior players, both well-rewarded. The former because at the end of his current contract he becomes an overseas player, the latter because I am not convinced that we get value for money. He is a decent cricketer, but I would expect a seasoned professional to take us home in those situations. If struggling for line and length, a bowler might cut down his pace, or say to the skipper that he had a problem.
It left Duanne Olivier with a large workload and he was, and has been, magnificent. Someone said to me, tongue in cheek, that we could maybe swap Kolpaks, but Duanne has been a model professional. he has played every game, generally taken wickets, largely bowled well and been an asset to the team. All that while on an extended honeymoon...
With a small and generally young squad such as ours, there is an expectation and need for the senior men to set the standard and example. Yet only Ben Slater, Tony Palladino and Duanne Olivier came away from that game with genuine credit. The squad as a collective needs to talk it through, dust themselves down, grit their teeth and go again next week.
Yesterday came news that Tim Bresnan was 'considering his options' at Yorkshire for next season, having not got the contract offer he was hoping for. I would have him in like a shot, a genuine all-rounder, at 33 with a few years in him and with the nous to do the right thing. I'd give him the vice-captaincy too and be confident he would do a fine job. He is the sort of senior professional you want and would be worth breaking open piggy banks to sign.
Finally, for now, we badly missed Ravi Rampaul in the last match and his greater accuracy would have been a huge asset. He should come back at Swansea and I hope to see far greater discipline next week.
Pride and professionalism gentlemen.
It is all we, as supporters, ask for.