When your team is having a bad season what are the things you want to happen? You want it to improve; you want to do better next season; you want to keep the players that have done well, see young players come through, see people high up your club make the right noises and you want to see new players brought in to help it turn it around.
As a Sheffield United fan, I know that this doesn’t always happen. For Derbyshire at the end of this disappointing season, however, it appears that it is happening.
Today has seen the announcement of Tony Palladino signing a new contract, which will keep him at the club until the end of the 2018 season. This will be welcome news to the fans, as Palladino has been the most consistent and successful bowler for them this season, taking 26 wickets at a touch over 31 runs per wicket.
Derbyshire will be hoping he can continue this form next season and also lead their battery of young quick bowlers. Palladino will have extra opportunity to do just this, as his new contract includes a coaching role. It’s clearly something Head Coach John Sadler is looking forward to, saying: “Tony is one of our most experienced and knowledgeable players in the dressing room and can offer a lot both on and off the field.
“He continues to take wickets and provides us with a consistent and reliable performer with the ball.
“He will now also play a key role in coaching and providing advice to the younger guys in their developments.”
This news came quickly after the announcement last week that club captain Billy Godleman and superb all-rounder Shiv Thakor have also signed new contracts, keeping them at the club for another two and three years respectively.
If you were to ask Derbyshire fans who would be top of their list to keep at the club, then it would probably be Wayne Madsen who recently committed himself to the club until the end of the 2019 season.
Four of the club’s most successful players have now signed on the line, which is a big tick on the improvement check list.
As for young players coming through at the club, two such players would be Will Davis and Rob Hemmings. These two have also committed themselves to the club until the end of the 2018 season, after making their championship debuts for the club this season.
Davis made three four-day appearances this summer claiming 14 wickets at an average of 30, including best figures of 7-146 – the best figures by a Derbyshire bowler this year and the second youngest ever to claim seven in an innings for the county.
Hemmings featured in one first-class fixture this year, making his debut versus Worcestershire in June.
Both are well thought of by the club, with Sadler saying: “Will and Rob are promising young players who have both impressed with the first team after making their debuts this summer.
“Will has bowled very well and produced some standout performances since making his way into the side in June. He’s bowled with good pace and is an exciting prospect.
“He and Rob will now both benefit greatly from another winter working full time with the first team as they continue their developments.”
If both of these players can continue their development and become first team regulars, as their potential promises the fans will be ticking off the “youngsters coming through” aspect of the poor season improvement check list.
Now for people high up at the club “making the right noises”: at Derbyshire, Chris Grant is about as high as it gets. He’s the Chairman of the club and the man who has turned the fortunes of the club off the field around, having recorded profits in the last three years.
Following the disappointing season, Grant felt he needed to make a statement to Derbyshire fans last week. The statement opened with: “I can assure you that there is no one more frustrated than myself that the excellent strides forward that we are making off the field are not being matched by improved cricket results on it.
“However, I can assure all members and supporters that there is already a huge amount of time and effort being spent behind the scenes to rectify matters for next season on the field.”
Clearly Grant wants more success on the field and, from what he has said; there are matters afoot to help produce that success.
Fans should be comforted that the club are not happy to accept poor performances and are trying to do something about it; the fact they are not burying their heads in the sand and just hoping things will improve without changing anything.
This drive to improve can only be a good thing at the top of a club and the third tick on the improvement checklist.
The final element of things fans would want to see is players coming in to improve the team. This hasn’t happened yet, but surely with everything else going on, it can only be a matter of time before it does.
Fans will be hoping for a strike bowler, a wicketkeeper batsman and a match winning overseas player. While rumours are circulating around Derby and social media as to who these players may be, until they sign on the dotted line the fans will just have to wait and see if the improvement check list will be completed.
I hope, for them, it is completed more effectively than it has been for Sheffield United in all the years I’ve been supporting them. If it is, and the check list already has many ticks on it, then Derbyshire will be hoping for much improved results on the field.