The curtain has fallen on a historic 2013 season for Derbyshire County Cricket Club.
After a 13-year absence, Wayne Madsen’s young side stepped into the unknown to do battle in the highest league in the land; LV= County Championship Division One.
Many in the media wrote off the chances of Karl Krikken’s side, and after the opening fixtures even the most dedicated of supporters couldn’t argue with the pre-season predictions.
But in the face of adversity, a Derbyshire side containing a plethora of Cricket Derbyshire University of Derby Academy graduates broke the mould and at the height of summer handed the county their first Division One victory since the two-tier structure was launched, back at the turn of the century.
During an astonishing four-week period, the Club clinched three wins – more than Surrey and East Midlands rivals Nottinghamshire claimed all season – to re-install an immense sense of pride to the people of Derbyshire, and to kick start their Division One campaign.
Former Derbyshire all-rounder Geoff Miller has stepped down as ECB National Selector and will be succeeded by former England and Leicestershire batsman James Whitaker on January 1st 2014.
Miller notified the England and Wales Cricket Board of his wish to step down from his role during the home Investec Ashes Series in 2013.
The 61-year-old - who played 254 first-class fixtures for Derbyshire between 1973 and 1986, before ending his career back in Derby in 1990 - has been in the job for the last six years during which England have won three successive Ashes series.
Miller said: “It will be sad to step down after a 14-year period as first an England Selector and then the National Selector.
“However I feel that this is the perfect time to hand over the reins and I cannot think of anyone more suitable than James Whitaker to assume control of the selection panel.
Paul Borrington is targeting a spot in all forms after impressing in both the one and four-day competitions last season.
The 25-year-old appeared in 11 List A fixture in 2013, compiling 237 runs including a career-best 72 against Surrey in August.
His one-day form earned the opener a place at the top of the order in Derbyshire's final four LV= County Championship Division One fixtures in which the Cricket Derbyshire University of Derby Academy graduate hit 209 runs at a shade fewer than 30.
Borrington is now hoping a good winter programme will help him cement his position in all formats as Karl Krikken’s men push for an immediate return to the top flight in 2014.
“I'd liked to have played more [four-day] games last season, but I think this is a good target to have for next season,” he said.
Chesney Hughes expects to be fully fit for the start of the new season after undergoing shoulder surgery last weekend.
The 22-year-old suffered the injury early in the 2013 campaign, preventing him from bowling for the remainder of the summer.
Hughes successfully underwent surgery on Saturday morning and will now begin a dedicated rehabilitation programme as he aims to be fit ahead of the new season.
“I spoke to the doctor straight after the operation and he said everything had gone well,” Hughes said. “It was successful so now it’s just about getting back fit and strong.
“I had to get the injury sorted out and straight after the end of the season was the best time. Now I can work hard over the winter to make sure I’m fully fit for the start of the new campaign.
Tim Groenewald says Derbyshire’s first year back in Division One was a valuable experience and will hold them in good stead as they push for promotion next season.
The 29-year-old led the seam attack in 2013 picking up 45 first-class wickets – including three five-wicket hauls – in a stand-out LV= County Championship campaign.
His efforts, however, were unable to keep Derbyshire in the top flight for a second year as defeat in the final fixture to Warwickshire confirmed relegation.
“It’s disappointing to go down after a long season,” Groenewald said.
“But to have that experience in Division One and letting our youngsters experience that sort of cricket was certainly valuable - and something the guys will never forget.
Local businessman and 1870 Business Club member, Peter Milner of Milner Commercial, has proudly become one of the first men to walk the entire length of Derbyshire to raise funds for Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Peter, who is one of over 70 local business people to be a member of the Club’s 1870 Business Club, along with six companions stood at the grave of Sir Nigel Gresley on Monday to mark the completion of their 95-mile trek.
The walk began at Wessenden Head on the Yorkshire-Derbyshire border on Thursday 3rd October, the fundraisers then traveled to the summit of Black Hill and continued over Bleaklow and Kinder, followed by crossing the entire length of the White Peak and finally to Derby before finishing in Netherseal.
On their arrival at Netherseal, the group became the first to travel across the length of the county without leaving its borders.
Their efforts have so far raised over £7,000 for the MS Society and to celebrate their incredible feat the society will be holding a Walk Presentation Night on Thursday 23rd October at Derby MS Activity Centre.
Captain Wayne Madsen says Derbyshire can take the positives from their first season back in the top flight – and be back even stronger in 2014.
Madsen led from the front scoring 1,221 LV= County Championship runs in 2013, compiling three centuries and guiding his side to three Division One victories.
But defeat in the final fixture to Warwickshire at the County Ground confirmed that Karl Krikken’s side will ply their trade in Division Two next season.
Madsen, however, is confident that his young side will be better off after their top flight experiences as the side aim to bounce back at the first attempt next season.
“There’s a huge determination that now we’ve had a taste of Division One we will be striving to make sure that we get back,” the 29-year-old said.
What a catch! Pick your favourite catch from the 2013 season for a chance to win a DCCC Programme signed by Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
At the conclusion of the 2013 season we are looking back at some of the highlights from an historical campaign for Wayne Madsen’s side.
We are asking supporters to pick their favourite catch – and we have three crackers to choose from:
Will it be Billy Godleman’s superb effort running backwards against Leicestershire, David Wainwright’s one-handed grab against the same opponents or Mark Turner’s ridiculous running diving catch against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge?
Former Nottinghamshire batsman Scott Elstone has signed a one-year incremental contract with Derbyshire after impressing in the Second XI in 2013.
The Falcons agreed terms with the 23-year-old but have released Alasdair Evans whose one-year contract has come to an end. Batsman Ben Slater has also not been offered a contract at the present time.
Elstone scored 872 runs at an average of 35, including four fifties and one hundred, during an extended trial period in 2013 - as well as making his Derbyshire debut in the Yorkshire Bank 40 match versus Essex.
Burton born and a product of the Nottinghamshire Academy, Elstone played 34 limited-overs matches for the Outlaws prior to departing Trent Bridge in 2012.
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