We’ve all been in relationships. You start out thinking it’s going to be forever, that you’ve found the perfect match, the perfect partner who is just right for you, the one who envisage spending the rest of your life with. And then she runs away with a fireman and you don’t know where it went wrong.
As you look back, though, you realise that it hadn’t been right for a while. This happened for Derbyshire County Cricket Club on Saturday, as they broke the news that three players had left the club by mutual consent. I don’t think any of Tom Knight, Scott Elstone or Andy Carter have run away with a fireman, but they have all ended their relationship with Derbyshire.
The break up of the relationship between Derbyshire and Elstone and Knight came as no real surprise. It was clear they were on the rocks; we hadn’t seen them together much at all and they seemed distant when they we did. In fact their friends, or supporters as they like to be known, had been chatting behind their back for a while now about how they were expecting them to break up soon; when you look at the two of them it is understandable why.
Scott Elstone signed for the club in 2014 following his release from Nottinghamshire, where he was probably most famous for his duties as twelfth man for England, taking two catches to dismiss Suresh Raina and Harbajan Singh and help England to victory over India in the second test in 2011. Elstone went on to make 49 appearances for Derbyshire, mainly in white ball cricket. His one century for the club came in First class cricket where he made 103 versus Glamorgan in one of his 14 appearances for Derbyshire in a white shirt.
Knight came through the academy at Derbyshire. At one point he represented England under 19s and was regarded as one of the most promising spinners in England, making 43 appearances for the county since his debut in 2011. His career, however, has stalled and since his action was remodelled he has struggled to find the same consistent line and length which served him so well previously. He has been a prolific batsman in second XI cricket, but like Elstone he has never looked like forcing his way into the first XI this season.
Even with this, it’s never nice to see people break up, especially when they are young, but it appears to be an amicable split. Head Coach John Sadler said “Tom and Scott are both hard working individuals who always gave their all, with bat, ball and in the field, when representing the Club, we wish them both all the best for the future.”
The Break up of Carter and Derbyshire, on the other hand, was unexpected. Friends didn’t see it coming and the relationship still seemed so fresh and new. Yet when you look back, the warning signs were clearly there.
Carter, who signed for the club last Winter from Nottinghamshire, was ready and raring to go at the start of the season and when I interviewed him then was keen to point this out saying “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.”
Sadly that hasn’t been the case for Carter, who has struggled for form since his switch to the 3aaa County Ground this season, featuring in just four first class matches taking just six wickets at an average of 73. Carter faired better with the white ball in hand, but not enough to become the spearhead of the bowling attack he longed to be.
The potential in Carter was clear for all to see, especially head Coach John Sadler who said “Andy is a very talented cricketer and been a constant performer across all forms this summer. He has, however, made the decision to pursue other opportunities and we are sad to see him leave.
“We would like to thank Andy for his contribution to the Club, both on and off the field, and wish him all the best for the future.”
Sadly, that potential was not realised on the pitch and this is why Carter has not been seen on the field as much as he would have liked. It has been reported that this lack of game time lead to a disagreement between Sadler and Carter. If this is true, the break up announced today was inevitable.
Carter, when I spoke to him earlier in the season, was clearly happy at the club saying “It’s going really well, I’m getting on with all the lads and I’m really hoping for a successful season.”
Today, as the news broke, he said “It is with regret that I have made the decision to leave. However, I do feel that the time is right for me to move on in my life and have a fresh start in another environment.
“I wish the Club every success and thank them for the faith that they have shown in me.”
Clearly Carter feels the relationship between him and Derbyshire cannot be reconciled and leaving is the only option. It’s a shame when this happens but, alas, it has happened and all we can do now is look on, and watch as they come through the break up and see them emerge out of the other side.
It is not very often with a break up that you hope to see your ex with a new partner. I flinch a little every time I see a fire engine, but I am sure Derbyshire fans will hope to see the three players with whom they have broken up today find a new club soon. They are three talented cricketers who hopefully still have a future in the game.
They will, however, be hoping that if they do find themselves a new fireman, he isn’t putting out Derbyshire’s fire anytime soon.