In the past, winters have been tumultuous for Derbyshire, but not this one. This winter has been one of relative calm and serenity. Yes, there have been some players come and go and some changes, but the Winter moves have left them in a stronger position both on and off the field as the county celebrates its 150th anniversary this season.
Two players who won’t be representing Derbyshire next season are Hamidullah Qadri and James Taylor. Both young England Under-19 bowlers are heading south, Qadri to Canterbury and Kent and Taylor to the Oval and Surrey. They are both excellent young bowlers, but both have struggled for game time and more opportunities may lie at their new counties.
Daryn Smit has also hung up his wicket keeping gloves to become the side’s Head of Talent Pathway. Smit is well regarded and respected within the club, and will now be responsible for identifying young talent and ensuring more home grown players will play professional cricket for the club. If Smit’s wicketkeeping is anything to go by, then the future talent of Derbyshire is in a safe pair of hands.
There have been additions to the squad, too. Young allrounder Nils Priestley has signed a one year contract with the club, after coming through the development pathway representing the second team last season. Joining him is Michael Cohen, a young left arm bowler from South Africa who joins with EU citizenship on a two-year contract.
Also signed are a brace of Australians: international seamer Sean Abbott for the first half of the season and hard-hitting wicketkeeper batsman Ben McDermott for the T20 Blast. Whether the supporters get to see either is another matter, however.
With four of Derbyshire’s first team regulars being snapped up by Hundred franchises, Derbyshire moved to supplement their resources for the RLODC by signing Tom Wood to a deal for that competition. The final squad news came as Luis Reece and Harvey Hosein, both first team regulars, extended their deals and committed their immediate futures to the club. Of all the news announced this winter, that will probably please the supporters the most.
Off the field the club has seen their ground change its name, due to a merger between their previous sponsor Pattonair and Incora. The latter now owns the naming rights to the Incora County Ground.
Another piece of great news for Derbyshire supporters this winter was matchday volunteer Chris Sheldon receiving an MBE in the New Years Honours list for services and dedication to cricket. Anyone who has interacted with Chris on a match day will agree it is thoroughly well deserved.
The club have announced that club Legend John Wright has been appointed president for the 2020 season, a season that will also see Dominic Cork return the lead the side in the Vitality Blast and hopefully guide them to finals day once again. If Derbyshire’s one completed match on their truncated pre season tour is anything to go by is anything to go by, they stand a good chance.