It’s not often as you drive to a ground to cover a game the game becomes secondary news to what else is happening at the club that night.
But that is exactly what happened to me this evening, as I was met with the news that Elite Performance Director Graeme Welch had offered his resignation, which the club reluctantly accepted following a disappointing start to the season which had seen Derbyshire record one victory in the Natwest T20 Blast and five draws and two losses in the County Championship.
Welch took the reigns at Derbyshire over the winter of 2014 following a successful spell as a player between 2001 and 2007, bringing with him an impressive reputation as a bowling coach from his time at Warwickshire.
Many hoped it would herald a new era at the club, bringing success to rival the club’s promotion and second division championship in 2012.
While individual players have developed and all players at Derbyshire are keen to point out what an influence Welch has had had on them as a coach whilst at the club, the team’s fortunes haven’t seen the same development the individuals have.
This was a sentiment echoed by club chairman Chris Grant who said: “Over the last two and a half years, we have seen a number of players develop under Graeme’s guidance. Whilst on-field results have been disappointing, Graeme leaves the club with stronger foundations in place.”
Who will build on those foundations is a question which will be on the lips of every Derbyshire supporter as the season progresses, for the short term elite performance coach John Sadler will be at the helm, supported by Billy Godleman and Wes Durston, four-day and one-day captains respectively.
The board are reported to be meeting shortly to discuss an appointment. One name who will be on the supporters’ minds, if not the board’s, will be that of former captain Chris Adams, currently without a job, after stints Surrey and Sri Lanka, likely to be a popular appointment with the fans as someone knowledgeable with the club and its history.
Welch will not be long without a job though, he is highly thought of in the game as a bowling coach, being involved in the England Lions tours over the winter and having a string of players who credit their upturn in bowling performance to Welch.
Welch will have learnt from his experience at Derbyshire and will take that with him wherever his future takes him.
“I have decided to resign as Elite Performance Director. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at the club and learned so much, I would particularly like to thank the chairman and board for their support over the last few years and I wish them all the best for the future.”
It will be interesting to see the club’s next move, whether they bring someone else in or if they let John Sadler and the current backroom staff continue for the remainder of the season, if Sadler wants the job, then tonight could not have gone better for him.
The Falcons recorded a convincing victory over the Leicestershire Foxes at the 3aaa County Ground in the Natwest T20 Blast.
Whoever is in charge at Derbyshire will inherit a squad packed full of potential with a healthy balance of experience thrown in who have the ability to win more games than they will lose. Whatever happens though it will be another intriguing chapter in Derbyshire CCC’s history.