Second XI Coach Stephen Stubbings believes a number of his players are close to breaking into the senior side.
The Seconds secured another convincing three-day victory last week - maintaining their spot at the top of the Second XI Championship North table.
Their latest three-day win came over MCC Young Cricketer's at Belper which concluded last Friday, strengthening their position at the summit of the Championship North table with just one fixture remaining - away at Durham on Tuesday, 20th August (11am start).
Stubbings - who took over as Second XI Coach in May - has been delighted with his side's performances this season.
He has highlighted their grit and determination to grind out results in a number of tight fixtures - exemplified by a well-disciplined display against a strong Warwickshire outfit in July.
“We are on top at the moment which is brilliant for us,” he said. “We haven’t been beaten this season in three-day cricket which is important and every player has played their part. Obviously there has been a bit of rotation with players going up and coming down at any given time, but the boys are playing really well. They are performing their roles well and installing the methods we want to install.
“There has been some satisfying results. The one that stands out was against Warwickshire. For us to stay in the game against a strong side was a magnificent effort. The way the guys worked for each other, stuck to the simple plan all three days and it pulled through for us on the final day - it was the most rewarding match we have had.
“And it was another excellent win over MCC Young Cricketer’s last week in the three-day game that maintained our position at the top. We are playing some excellent Championship cricket and now we go into the game against Durham with high-hopes of a fifth straight win.
“Admittedly, it is going to be tough to win the Championship as Lancashire, who sit in second place, have two games in hand. But you never know in cricket and we are just concentrating on getting the victory against Durham.”
The ex-Derbyshire opener believes the players competing in the Second XI are reaping the rewards of all their hard work, demonstrated by Matt Higginbottom (pictured above) and Alex Hughes' inclusions in the LV= County Championship side that beat Sussex at Hove last week.
“Realistically, anyone of them could have gone,” Stubbings added. “It was Higginbottom and Hughes, who both thoroughly deserved their chance last week, who went down and did very well.
“I don’t think they realise just how close they are from the first team. Many of them are close to the side so it is very enjoyable.
“It’s been great to see players like Higginbottom, Slater, Hughes and Burgoyne breakthrough into the first team. Other players like Paul Borrington, who has captained the side really well, is now getting the reward runs-wise for all the hard work he has put in too.
“Ben Slater has made that step up and got a bit of a breakthrough at Hove, while Burgoyne is another who has worked hard and one or two things in his game have clicked.
“We have also had young players like Callum Broderick and Harry Killoran who have come into the Second XI, done well, put their hands up and took the initiative which has been pleasing.
“Harvey Hosein, who is 16, has been a regular in the side. He is a little dynamo who bats very well and we just need to look after him as he is going to be very good. Seamers Jonathan Marsden, Tommy Taylor, Alasdair Evans and Ben Cotton, meanwhile, have all consistently performed at a high level and any of them could have been part of the squad at Sussex.
“As a unit we have done really well, but now we concentrate on Durham away as we know it will be a tough game. They are a good side and were convincing against us in the Twenty20. It will be a stiff challenge but something we are looking forward to.”
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