The move from promising and exciting second team cricketer into fully-fledged first team regular can be a road that is tricky to traverse.
But for young wicketkeeper Tom Poynton it is one that he has negotiated admirably and ably in this, his first year as the county’s number one glove man.
‘Luke Sutton retiring at the end of last season came as a bit of a shock to me and the lads, because we all saw him as our leader going forward; but it did end up being a great opportunity for me personally.’ The academy graduate said.
‘Krikk spoke to me once the news of Luke’s retirement broke and said that he believed in me, and that he had faith in me to do a job in the first team.
‘That obviously means so much coming from a guy who is a wicket keeping legend at the club, as well as someone who the young lads that have come through the Derbyshire system have known for years.’
Poynton’s season as the premier glove man at the club has been characterized by a series of impeccable wicket keeping performances, with his big blue mitts gleefully accepting numerous edges stood back to the likes of Groenewald and Palladino, or whipping the bails off when Wainwright and Durston entice another victim out of his crease.
While the quality of Poynton’s keeping was never in question, his ability to offer meaningful contributions to the batting order from number 9 was something that even the player himself was unsure of.
‘With it being my first full season in the first team, it was a bit of an unknown prospect.'
However any lingering doubts that the player may have had over his ability to score runs at first class level were thoroughly dispelled down at Wantage Road last week when he shared in a partnership of 261 (the third highest for a ninth wicket stand in first class history) with his captain Wayne Madsen.
The knock also saw Poynton register his maiden First-Class century in the process.
‘That was an incredible day.’ Poynton began.
‘To have made a First-Class hundred was an absolute dream come true, but what I was most proud of is the fact I was able to share in that stand when we needed it the most.
‘We all have the collective goal of finishing top of the division this year, and if that happens it won’t just have been because of two or three players, it’ll be an entire squad effort.
‘That has been the most pleasing thing about this season, at some stage everyone has made significant contributions, and we will need more of them over the last three weeks.’
While Poynton’s efforts last week almost made him a world record holder, the pugnacious keeper batsman was keen to stress that it was the prospect of promotion into Division One of the LV=County Championship that is the driving force for the members of the dressing room.
‘We have done so well to get to this stage and be in the position we are. But it will count for nothing if we let it drop away now. Getting promoted would be an amazing achievement for us, and we’re going to be throwing everything into these last three matches to try and win the division.’
With a few more of those significant contributions that Poynton talks of, the Derbyshire’s squad’s collective ambition of challenging for County Cricket’s most sought after trophy in 2013, could soon become a reality.
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