Natwest T20 Blast Preview: Derbyshire Falcons v Leicestershire Foxes

Friday night sees the return of T20 Blast cricket to the 3aaa County Ground with the Derbyshire Falcons welcoming the Leicestershire Foxes for their first home game of the season. Both sides have played two games and have one victory a piece, the Foxes a crushing victory over The Yorkshire Vikings and The Falcons winning their opening game in an equally crushing manner over last season’s champions Lancashire Lightning.

They have both also suffered disappointing results and both to Northants, Leicestershire losing under Duckworth/Lewis and Derbyshire not being able to defend 195. Friday night will see both sides looking to bounce back from these results under these lights and get their seasons back on track and build momentum.

It may seem strange to say that both sides need to get their T20 seasons back on track, but in this format every game is vital to ensure qualification for the quarter finals and give them the best possible chance of progressing to the promised land of Finals Day, where Derbyshire have never been and from which the Foxes have been absent from since 2011, when they won the whole shahbang.

Both sides will be thinking they will not have to change much to bounce back from their losses, however, and if the pitch is a good one and the sides continue to bat as they have then the runs should flow and it should be a very entertaining game, well worth a trip to the 3aaa County Ground on Friday night to watch this game.

Key Men

The Key Man for Derbyshire this game is Chesney Hughes, the attacking batsmen, who can bat anywhere in the order will be looking to give the Falcons’ innings impetus wherever he bats. He is also as valuable with the ball in hand as with the bat, providing his spinning darts, picking up wickets and keeping the run rate down also.

Kevin O’Brien is key man for the Foxes. As a batsmen he can clear the ropes and devastate a bowling attack, making targets shrink before our eyes and bowlers figures disintegrate in front of them. Equally with his variations when bowling he can make run rates jump up and sneak handy wickets to help control the game; the type of player who, despite being unfashionable, any captain would love to have up his sleeve.

Team News

Graeme Welch has named unchanged squad to that which faced Northamptonshire last week. The side includes Hamish Rutherford, James Neesham, Wes Durston and Chesney Hughes all of whom have had a good start to the campaign.

Derbyshire squad: Wes Durston (Captain), Tom Poynton (wicket keeper), Hamish Rutherford, Neil Broom, Wayne Madsen, Jimmy Neesham, Chesney Hughes, Scott Elstone, Alex Hughes, Shiv Thakor, Matt Critchley, Ben Cotton, Andy Carter

The Foxes have named an unchanged 13-man squad for this weekend’s NatWest T20 Blast action. Rob Taylor and James Sykes are in contention alongside the eleven that appeared at Headingley.

Leicestershire squad: Mark Pettini (captain), Niall O’Brien (wicket keepers) Mark Cosgrove, Kevin O’Brien, Umar Akmal, Neil Dexter, Lewis Hill, Tom Wells, Ben Raine, Rob Taylor, Clint McKay, Jigar Naik, James Sykes


Derbyshire Falcons: LW
Leicestershire Foxes: LW

Weather and Conditions

The forecast looks set fair with no rain forecast for Derby until after the game has ended, although there should be a good covering of heavy cloud throughout. This is the first T20 game at home for Derbyshire, however the Championship pitches have been good and produced a lot of runs, we will all be hoping for the same on Friday night.

Date: Friday 3rd June 2016

Time: 7:00pm

Ground: 3aaa County Ground, Derby

Umpires: David Millns & Steve O’Shaughnessy
Odds (Sky Bet): Derbyshire Falcons 4/5, Leicestershire Foxes Evens


Chris Read: one of life’s few certainties

The saying goes there are only two certainties in life, death and taxes. I can’t help but feel this saying should be amended to include Chris Read batting and keeping wicket for Nottinghamshire and yesterday saw news that re-enforces this. Yesterday Nottinghamshire announced that Read had signed a one year contract extension, which will see him behind the stumps at Trent Bridge until the end of the 2017 season.

Read made his debut way back in 1998 and has gone on to make over 650 appearances for the club, and with over 15,000 runs and over 1000 dismissals it is clear to see why Notts were keen to tie him down for another year.

At the ripe old age of 37, Read is not slowing down either. With the 2016 season just a few weeks old Read, has already amassed 329 runs at an average of 47 and collected 18 dismissals, vital for Notts, and I’m happy to add my Fantasy Cricket team, of which Read has been a main stay for many years.

It was clearly an easy decision for Read, saying yesterday: “For me, these decisions about contracts are all about how I’m feeling fitness-wise and whether I’m performing at a high level.

“I still love the game, I love playing for Nottinghamshire and I’m not thinking about retirement,” he added, “I’m happy with where my game is, I’m focused on us having a successful season and I’m looking forward to finishing my career here at Notts.”

Although mentioning retirement Notts fans will be hoping that, whilst Read’s form continues to be as impressive as it is, that a “mention” is all it is and not solid thought.

This is a hope shared by Mick Newell, the Nottinghamshire Director of Cricket, who said the following on the news of Read’s contract extension: “Chris is a very, very important player for us, not least because his wicketkeeping is of the highest quality and he continually gets us out of trouble with the bat.

“He is also our leader; he is an inspiration to the team and I hope he continues to play for a few more years.

“You only have to look at the way our form improved after we welcomed him back from injury last season to know what an important player he is for us, across all formats of the game.”

I echo Newell’s hopes that Read will play on beyond 2017. I find checking the cricket scores and seeing Chris Read has scored runs, taken catches and made stumpings, somewhat comforting. It is a constant in my life, since I started following cricket seriously around the same time that Read made his debut back in 1998.

Many things have changed in cricket over those years: the number of divisions in The County Championship; the creation of T20 Cricket; 40, 45, 50 and 60 over cricket in the one day game but the quality and excellence of Christopher Mark Wells Read has remained constant, and I look forward to watching him for hopefully many years to come.


Duck-sized horses, horse-sized ducks and other strange happenings at Derbyshire’s Media Day

One, two, three, four, five, six; the excitement in the voices grow as numbers get higher; seven, eight nine, ten; this isn’t listening to my children learn to count but a group of young men playing “keepy uppy football”. As they manage to get over 20, the excitement mounts until one player messes up and the ball hits the floor on 27. The hilarity and exuberance displayed amongst the group of friends is a clear sign of how happy, and at ease in each other’s company, this group of people are.

I understand this story makes me sound a little odd. I don’t normally sit around watching groups of young men indulging in “keepy uppy”. What I was doing was attending Derbyshire County Cricket Club’s Media Day and the group of people playing “keepy uppy” were a number of the clubs crop of rising young stars. Between interviews, I was watching this group enjoying messing about with one another when it struck me that this is why so many young players keep committing their futures to this club: the atmosphere, the camaraderie, the enthusiasm for everything they do. It is such a positive place to be right now.

Talking to the players, it was evident that they shared this view as well:

“We’re all good friends and we all want each other to do well. We spend a lot of time with each other, best of friends on the pitch and best of friends off the pitch too.” Said Ben Cotton, when asked about his fellow bowlers.

Greg Cork added “We’ve all grown up together, same ages, come through the academy and second team together and now the guys are putting in performances in the first team.

“It’s always good to see team mates you’ve grown up with doing well, it is a really good place to be right now.”

It was clear to see that this wasn’t just trained and regurgitated media waffle for a reporter, but a true and honest assessment of the squad and the its atmosphere.

One man who must take a great deal of credit for this atmosphere is Elite Performance Director Greame Welch, a man who has overseen the development of these players since his appointment in January 2014. Every player I spoke too was keen to impress upon me Welch’s impact on him or her and on the team in general.

Tom Taylor said “Since he’s come here I can definitely see the difference as a bowler. He’s lead bowling coach I can definitely see the progression in my bowling.”

It would be hard to argue with that assertion. Taylor took 28 wickets in First Class Cricket last season, form that saw him selected for the Potential England Performance Program over the Winter.

Ben Cotton was also keen to sing Welch’s praises, saying “We’ve got one of the best bowling coaches around in Greame. He came in and in the first year he made a massive impact on my bowling.

“I’m very grateful to him for that and I think that’s one of the main reasons we have got such a big crop of young bowlers, having one of the best coaches teaching us.”

Cotton is clearly learning well from Welch. The improvement in his List A bowling last season was evident, taking 15 wickets at an average of 26, compared to 4 at 46.50 the season before.

The atmosphere around on that media day was infectious. It was fun and enjoyable and it drew you in. It made you want to be involved in the club and talk to the players, so much so that in the interviews I conducted I got drawn into the atmosphere and asked the players to answer an age old question: “Would you rather be attacked by one horse sized duck or fifteen duck sized horses?”

Some players in clubs where the atmosphere was not as good would not have been happy to answer this question. Here at Derbyshire, they all answered. Even players I didn’t interview were discussing the question with those I did, and wanted to tell me their answer.

This happiness, the positivity, camaraderie and togetherness is a major factor in why so many young players are happy to commit themselves and their futures to this club. It will stand the club in great stead in its future, a future that if the improvements shown continue will be a successful one.

If you are wondering what the players would rather be attacked by it was a 50/50 split between the two options, but they were still discussing it and laughing about it as I left.

All things rosy for Carter at new club Derbyshire

In The words of Cyndi Lauper “Girls just wanna have fun!” After speaking to Andy Carter, Derbyshire County Club’s summer signing she could release a follow up entitled “Carter just wants to play cricket!” Maybe not as catchy a title, but no less true.

Given Carter’s recent opportunities at Nottinghamshire it is clear to see why he is chomping at the bit to play cricket, in his last three seasons Carter has been limited to just 12 First Class appearances, having to go out on loan to Glamorgan for four of them.

Carter is now keen to play more regularly and stick in the Derbyshire bowling attack this season, saying “I was a bit of bit part player at Notts, now I’m looking forward to my role here and being a senior bowler with Tony Paladino and being a main stay of the bowling attack this season.”

The change in role for Carter at Derbyshire is one which he recognises has changed his outlook slightly, just maybe not completely; “it changed the outlook off the field, I have to behave a bit more and be a bit more serious, being a role model for the young lads we have here, but I will prepare the same and do the same on the pitch.”

Derbyshire fans will be happy to hear that Carter’s previous injuries are behind him now and he was clear to point out that he wants to bowl a lot of overs, “the bad back I had has been fine for a couple of years now and I’m ready to kick on and play a lot of cricket.”

They will also be hoping to see more of the Andy Carter who took 4 wickets for 53 runs for Glamorgan at the 3aaa County Ground last season, when asked if he was looking forward to bowling in similar conditions again, the enthusiasm in his voice at the prospect of playing anywhere regularly again was clear when he replied “I look forward to playing cricket in general, after the couple of years I’ve had where I didn’t play much, whatever you’re dealt, whatever pitch you’re dealt, I always look forward to having a bowl.”

This may not be a sentiment shared by opposition batsmen though, if his teammate Tom Poynton’s assessment of Carter’s bowling is anything to go by, Poynton said of Carter:

“He is a big nasty, fast, ugly bowler that you don’t particularly want to be facing in the nets. He’s a different style to Mark (Footitt) but he’s definitely got all the aggression and character of a fast bowler that you want. I personally wouldn’t want to be facing him out there, so I imagine other people have probably got the same perception of him that I’ve got.”

With seven County Championship games in the first seven weeks of the season, Carter’s contributions could be vital for Derbyshire especially on the early season pitches and despite the change in the toss regulations. Carter is not expecting it to change his approach however, he just wants to bowl and take wickets.

Having had a taste of the England set up in 2011 touring with the Lions and seeing his fellow bowlers from that tour all go on to play for their country, you could be forgiven for thinking that Carter is desperate to get back into the England fold. He appears however to be purely concentrating on playing for and taking wickets for Derbyshire saying “my main aim is to focus on playing for Derbyshire and do well for Derbyshire, that is my main ambition at the moment.”

Having seen how happy Carter appears in his new surroundings, comfortable and relaxed with his new teammates and coaches is a point not lost on him. In fact, when we spoke the first thing he said was “it’s going really well, I’m getting on with all the lads and I’m really hoping for a successful season.”

I am sure with this Carter will be a success and help Derbyshire to be the same, a place where he has found his role, that of leader of the attack, senior player and regular cricketer is somewhere I can see Andy Carter flourishing and becoming the force of county cricket which he has shown he has the ability and potential to be.

Fletcher keen to work with Welch and find his way back to Notts

If Andy Carter was feeling homesick following his Summer move from Nottinghamshire he needn’t have been worried. A familiar face will be joining him from today, with Derbyshire announcing the signing of paceman Luke Fletcher on a one-month loan deal from Nottinghamshire.

The tall paceman will be available for the county’s first five Specsavers County Championship fixtures, starting with this week’s opener versus Gloucestershire and continuing with matches against Glamorgan, Northamptonshire, Sussex and Essex.

Fletcher had success whilst on loan to Surrey last season, playing 3 first class games and taking 8 wickets at an average of just over thirty. This included match figures of 6 for 79 vs Derbyshire at the 3aaa County Ground and he will be looking forward to playing in similar conditions and adding to his first class wicket haul of 213.

Fletcher, who has a reputation for being a white ball specialist renowned for his ability to bowl the perfect Yorker on demand, will be keen to use his time at Derbyshire to enhance his reputation with the red ball, something he was keen to point out when he said:

“It’s an opportunity to play some four day games, take wickets, hopefully contribute to victories for Derbyshire and ultimately push my case to find a way back into the Nottinghamshire team.”

Fletcher has found his way to the Nottinghamshire first team in First Class cricket blocked by the emergence of Jake Ball and Brett Hutton, and the signing of Jackson Bird as Overseas Player for this season, coupled with the ECB’s decision to allow Stuart Broad to play the next three Specsavers County Championship. He will be hoping a successful spell with Derbyshire will show when he returns to Nottinghamshire, which will coincide with Broad’s return to the England fold, that he can be as potent with a red ball in his hand as with the white one.

Fletcher will no doubt have been lured to the 3aaa County ground not only with the prospect of regular first class cricket, but also the opportunity to work with Elite Performance Director Greame Welch, who is highly regarded in England as being one of the best bowling coaches in the game.

As it was with Andy Carter, who made the permanent move over the Summer. Carter said in a recent interview:

“I knew it would be a good move coming to Derbyshire and getting to work with Greame Welch who is one of the best around.”

Welch was also keen to point out that he is an admirer of Fletcher saying:

“Luke is a skilful bowler who has plenty of experience taking wickets for Notts in Division One. He will bolster our attack during this busy period and it will also be an opportunity for him to get some regular first team cricket.”

Derbyshire Chairman Chris Grant promised a loan signing of an experienced bowler earlier in the off-season. He has delivered on his promise and was clearly excited by the signing, tweeting out the news at 6 o’clock this morning.

This may prove to be a very astute piece of business, adding experience for the start of the season, to help the battery of young seam bowlers at Welch’s disposal. Hopefully getting the side off to a good start to the season, building momentum to propel Derbyshire up the table, which could be vital in a season where Derbyshire play seven Specsavers County Championship games in the first Seven weeks of the season.

Rutherford named vice-captain as Godleman pulls up hurt

Derbyshire named overseas batsman Hamish Rutherford vice-captain last week, to complete the new leadership structure on the field for the club.

Rutherford, however, would probably not have been expecting to be pushed into service as soon as he has been. The news this week that Billy Godleman has fractured his thumb, and will miss the first weeks of the season, will see Rutherford lead the side for the first time away at Gloucestershire on Sunday.

The break in Godleman’s thumb, caused by a throw down before the Durham University match, is likely to keep Godleman out for the first three Championship games, but Elite Performance Director Graeme Welch does not expect his new captain to be out for much longer:

“It’s not ideal but thankfully it’s not a bad break, so it could have been worse. It was just a freak accident that can happen at any time, but Billy is actually quite optimistic about it.

“He’s a hard man who will be wanting to get out there as soon as he can but, in the meantime, it gives someone else an opportunity.”

That opportunity to open the innings with Ben Slater may go to the stand in captain. The other option is Chesney Hughes, who will be hoping for runs in the second innings of the current game against the students from Durham to push his claim.

Whichever option the coaches choose, they will be hoping that Godleman can be back as soon as possible to lead the side and score the volume of runs he did last season.

Godleman will be aiming to lead his side for the first time at home against Sussex on the 8th of May and he will hoping to be leading a side who has had a successful start to the season, as they had in 2012 when they were promoted to Division One of the County Championship.

With seven county championship games in the first seven weeks of the season, momentum will be vital and after this period the team will have a much clearer picture of what they will need to do to be promoted. Godleman will be hoping he returns to the fold with his side riding high and full of positivity, which he can carry on for the rest of the season.

SSCC Preview: Nottinghamshire v Surrey

Sunday is the day all county cricket fans have been waiting for, as County Championship cricket returns and newly promoted Surrey will travel to last season’s third placed side Nottinghamshire, with both sides looking to make a good start to the season and gain early momentum.

Both sides have been in action against the students in pre-season. Nottinghamshire displayed excellent form in their crushing defeat of Cambridge MCCU by 517 runs last week.

Surrey also had a good run out, drawing against Loughborough MCCU where a number of their batsmen scored runs, and new signing Mark Footitt and Tom Curran sharing eight wickets between them.

Both sides have seen change off the field this winter, with Peter Moores consultant position being made permanent at Nottinghamshire and Michael di Venuto replacing the Sri Lanka bound Graham Ford. It will be interesting to see how having new men involved will bring out the best in two undoubtedly highly talented and exciting squads.

With the new regulations regarding the toss and the visiting captain having the choice of whether to bowl first, Gareth Batty as a spinning captain will be hoping to arrive at Trent Bridge to be greeted by a dry true pitch, which will benefit both himself and England hopeful Zafar Ansari.

However, as my garden will testify, the East Midlands has been on the receiving end of substantial rain fall and there may well be more than a tinge of green at Trent Bridge on Sunday.

Overall Nottinghamshire will start as favourites due to their form at the back end of last season and the early part of this season, although Surrey’s Division Two championship form will be still fresh in the minds of the away dressing room.

Key Players

Nottinghamshire’s Samit Patel will be keen to remind the England selectors that he is still an option for them in their middle order following his time spent with the side this Winter, during which he played one Test vs Pakistan. Patel is crucial to Nottinghamshire’s balance, offering consistent middle order runs and a vital spin option to the side. They will need him to perform to help them mount a title challenge.

Following his winter move from Derbyshire, Mark Footitt will be keen to press his early season England claims and push for a place in the first Test squad of the summer. He will also be striving to show he can replicate his form for Derbyshire consistently in Division One cricket.

Team News

Nottinghamshire have had bittersweet news from the ECB regarding their England players. With some absent and some available for selection, they will be without Alex Hales and Stuart Broad but will have Samit Patel and James Taylor available for selection.

James Taylor misses out through illness and Greg Smith comes into the squad. Jackson Bird, their Australian overseas signing, will be in line to make his County Championship debut.

Nottinghamshire squad: Chris Read (captain, wicketkeeper) Jake Ball, Jackson Bird, Harry Gurney, Brett Hutton, Michael Lumb, Steven Mullaney, Samit Patel, Greg Smith, Brendan Taylor, Riki Wessels, Luke Wood.

Surrey welcome back World T20 star Jason Roy, fresh from his exploits in helping England reach the final in India. Surrey could potentially include new signings Mark Footitt and Ravi Rampaul in their squad. Stuart Meaker will miss out after being injured in the nets when he was hit in groin while not wearing a box, something that required him to have surgery.

Kumar Sangakkara will also return as Surrey’s overseas signing, bringing class and more importantly runs to the side.

Surrey squad: Gareth Batty (captain), Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Steven Davies, Matthew Dunn, Ben Foakes (wicket-keeper) Mark Footitt, Arun Harinath, Ravi Rampaul, Jason Roy, Kumar Sangakkara, Gary Wilson


Nottinghamshire: LDWWW
Surrey: DDWDW


The Weather looks set fair for the first two days of the match, with rain coming in on days three and four. The East Midlands has seen a great deal of rain recently, so conditions could well be damp and green when the covers come off on Sunday.

Date: 10th – 13th April 2016
Time: 11:00am
Ground: Trent Bridge
Umpires: David Millns & Tim Robinson
Odds (SkyBet): Nottinghamshire 4/6, Surrey 11/10

Welch and Godleman look to Derbyshire’s future

Derbyshire yesterday announced a mixture of continuity and change that they hope will lead them to success on the field, mirroring their successes off the field. If you think this sounds like the ultimate oxymoron then you’re right, but the announcement of a two-year contract extension for Elite Performance Director Graeme Welch and the appointment of Billy Godleman as captain for four-day cricket is just that.

The securing of the highly regarded Welch for two more years is extremely good news for the club and its players. The opportunity to continue to work with a coach regarded as one of the best on the county circuit by many, including the ECB which saw him involved in the Lions tour to Dubai this Winter, will be a mouth watering prospect for all the players.

None more so than new four-day captain Billy Godleman, whose turn around in form following his move to Derbyshire, and since working with Welch, has been superb. He scored 1000 first class runs for the first time in his career last season, making three consecutive centuries in the process.

The transformation for a player, who has always shown great potential throughout his career but never fully realised it, was as impressive as the similar transformation of Mark Footitt under Welch’s tutelage. Godleman’s transformation last season was not only with weight of runs, but also in responsibility. He was named vice captain and lead the side on the three occasions when Madsen was injured.

For a player who was punished by his former club for disciplinary issues this shows a great turn around and one of which he should be very proud, as he should be of the three games he captained, winning one, drawing one and only losing to eventual promoted side Lancashire. Godleman and everyone at the club will be hoping that this form will continue now that he is permanently in post.

Godleman secured the permanent post following Wayne Madsen’s recent decision to step down after he signed a three-year contract extension. Madsen can step aside with his head held high, after leading the side to their first silverware since their Benson and Hedges cup triumph in 1993, (another oxymoron as the Benson and Hedges cup was Gold) and leading a side that went from also-rans to a side that demanded respect and were genuine contenders in the longer form of the game.

It is clear Madsen does not see relinquishing the captaincy as the end of his time at Derbyshire, saying: “It’s been a privilege and an honour to have led the Club for the last four years. As I approach my eighth season with Derbyshire, I am extremely excited by the Club’s vision, the continued development of our young talented cricketers on the field and the superb off-field facilities.

“I look forward to continuing to act as an ambassador for the Club both on and off the field and playing big part in bringing success to Derbyshire in the forthcoming seasons.”

Derbyshire are a club that crave success in every aspect of their business, be that off the field in the way the club is run or producing home-grown player, and on the field in winning matches. They will be hoping that the continuity and change approach of this off-season will bring all those things.

New four-day captain Godleman is clearly striving for this, saying about his appointment: “It’s a huge honour to be appointed captain. It’s an exciting time to lead the Club with the strides we are making both on and off the field.

“I look forward to the opportunity to lead the side as we take the Club forward and push for four-day success. Everyone involved in the club from players, coaches, members, board members and supporters will be hoping that Godleman and Welch can bring the desired effect to the club.”

Thakor extends stay at Derbyshire

A problem looms large on the horizon for Derbyshire County Cricket if they have another week like this one. They’ll need to order some new pens, as they will be running out of ink from all the players signing contract extensions.

Today saw another of the county’s crop of talented youngsters sign on the dotted line. Shiv Thakor extended his contract for 1 more year, joining Tom Taylor and Wayne Madsen in committing themselves to the club until at least the end of the 2017 season.

Thakor, who joined the club from Leicestershire on a two-year deal at the end of the 2014 season, made a promising start to his Derbyshire career, contributing in all formats. However, it was in white ball cricket that he made the biggest contribution, finishing the season as Derbyshire’s leading wicket taker in both the Royal London cup and Natwest T20 Blast competitions with 11 and 15 wickets respectively.

Thakor also made valuable contributions with the bat, showing great promise lower down the order. He will be looking to contribute with more weight of runs and wickets this season, and this will come as he develops as a player. It was something he recognised as, on signing his contract extension, he said: “I’m thrilled to sign a new deal at Derbyshire. Graeme and his coaching team have been great since I joined and I feel my game will only improve under them.

“I’m looking forward to what is a big year for the Club and I hope I can consistently contribute towards positive team performances in all formats.”

Elite Performance Director Greame Welch will be delighted to have another of his young stars committed to the club for the coming seasons. His excitement shone through as he commented on Thakor’s signing today: “Shiv is another exciting young talent we have at the Club, who has already shown the ability to positively impact games.

“He’s a versatile player who is constantly improving his game. He now has a big summer ahead to build on the experiences of 2015 and the hard work he has put in over the winter.”

With the likes of Thakor, Hughes, Hossein, Taylor and Madsen committing their futures to the club over the winter, it will mean Welch can build a team and allow it to grow and develop, safe in the knowledge that his players are not going anywhere; future proofing Derbyshire County Cricket Club for years to come by filling the side with exciting young cricketers and established players, to help them develop and grow into a side capable of winning silverware in all formats of the game.

Today also saw the club announce that it was running at a financial surplus for the fifth consecutive year. This, coupled with the news earlier in the winter that the Women’s world cup will be coming to Derby, shows the club is doing as well off the field as they aspire to do on it.

It would appear that running out of pens is the only problem Derbyshire have at the moment. Success off the field, both established and young players happy to commit their futures to the club and the ability to attract exciting overseas players shows the club is well run and a happy place to be. If the promise and success that has been shown away from the game over the winter months is mirrored on the field during the Summer months, it could be a very exciting season ahead for the club, its players and supporters.



Wayne Madsen commits to Derbyshire for the next four seasons

This week has been like the week following Christmas for Derbyshire fans, a week of presents and excitement that they will just not want to stop. Like moving from one family member to another getting a different present at each one, this week has seen Derbyshire fans move from day to day with a new announcement about the season ahead.

Tuesday saw the announcement of New Zealand international Jimmy Neesham as the second overseas player for the Natwest T20 Blast season; Wednesday saw the announcement of young fast bowler Tom Taylor’s contract extension and today sees the announcement of a three year contract extension for club captain Wayne Madsen.

The deal commits the 32-year-old, who joined Derbyshire in 2009 and was appointed Club Captain in 2012, to the county for the next four seasons.

Madsen has been a vital part of Derbyshire’s batting line-up, scoring over 1,500 runs across all forms in the last three campaigns – including 1,000 first-class runs in each. A return which has seen some quarters questioning his exclusion from ECB Performance and Lions squads.

Elite Performance Director Greame Welch is clearly delighted about Madsen committing his future to the club saying, “Wayne has been a consistent performer across all forms and continues to perform as a model professional both on and off the field.

Welch added, “He has made massive contributions in both the first-class and one-day formats, scoring heavily in all three competitions and leading from the front. There is still more to come from Wayne and he is committed to continuing to improve his batting and pushing on for further honours with Derbyshire.

With the crop of young players Derbyshire have at the moment, surrounding them with experienced and supportive players is vital in their development, helping them to learn and model themselves on successful professionals. Madsen is one of those experienced professionals who can help Derbyshire’s young stars develop as they push for honours and silverware, which again Welch was keen to point out with his comments “Wayne is also a role model to the younger players in the squad, passing on his knowledge and experience. We’re delighted that he will remain a pivotal member of our side for years to come.

Madsen is clearly very happy at Derbyshire and enjoys his cricket on and off the field, he remarked “I love playing for Derbyshire and I’m delighted to now commit my long-term future to the Club. We have a squad which is getting better all the time and I want to continue to play my part.

“Our young players continue to improve and with the senior group of players we now have, I’m confident that progress at Derbyshire will continue.

Madsen is a player who has many admirers throughout the county game and beyond – as pure speculation he may well have had suiters offering him improved contracts to join other counties. In committing his long term future to Derbyshire, it shows the faith and excitement he has for the future with the club.

Derbyshire fans should take great heart in their captain and most consistent batsmen of the last few years choosing to stay and be a part of the club as they build a side they hope is capable of winning silverware in the near future.

In a week of gifts that Derbyshire supporters will not want to end, some would argue that this is the best present of all; while the signing of Jimmy Neesham may be the biggest and most immediately exciting gift, the commitment of one of Derbyshire’s major stars for the long term is a gift which will last for years to come is the most exciting for Derbyshire fans.