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.
In part three, read how, despite a narrow defeat to Surrey at the Kia Oval, Karl Krikken’s men refused to back down and had one more hurrah in the crucial match versus Somerset.
Click here to read Part Three of Derbyshire County Cricket Club's Season Review>>>
Tickets, Memberships and Six Packs for the 2014 season are on sale now. Click here to find out more >>
Cricket Derbyshire University of Derby Academy graduates Ben Cotton and Tom Taylor have been awarded summer contracts for 2014.
And Head Coach Karl Krikken was quick to praise the efforts of the volunteers in the Cricket Derbyshire Book Shop whose contribution has gone a long way to funding both contracts.
The Book Shop is celebrating a record-breaking year after surpassing its £3,000 sales target for the season, thanks to the hard work of volunteers and the generosity of Members and supporters.
Sales have soared since the shop underwent a refurbishment prior to the start of the 2013 campaign and they recently recorded a record day’s sales taking £358.90 on the opening day against Warwickshire.
All proceeds support the development of young Derbyshire cricketers such as Cotton and Taylor who will now be welcomed to the senior squad as their pathway towards careers in the professional game continues.
The Derby Telegraph has been named Regional Newspaper of the Year at the ECB’s annual County Cricket Journalism Awards thanks to its dedicated coverage of Derbyshire County Cricket Club.
Sports reporter Mark Eklid, who covers Derbyshire for the Telegraph at both home and away fixtures, was presented with the award at the Lord’s Taverners.
The Telegraph provides local cricket lovers with the latest updates from the County Club as well as offering readers up-to-date results and reports from around the local Derbyshire leagues.
ECB chief executive David Collier said: "The Derby Telegraph was rewarded for finding a way to present exemplary coverage of county cricket at home and away in a harsh economic climate for provincial papers."
The judging of the awards was conducted by a four-strong panel comprising the chairman of the Cricket Writers’ Club, Pat Gibson, BBC Radio reporter Kevin Howells, Paul Bolton, who covers county cricket regularly for the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, and Collier.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Richard Johnson spoke to derbyshireccc.com about his first full season with the Club, his hopes of recapturing his role behind the stumps and Derbyshire’s one-day chances in 2014.
After a brief loan-spell, the 25-year-old signed terms with Derbyshire at the conclusion of the 2012 campaign and he went onto feature in 13 LV= County Championship fixture last season, compiling 556 runs.
Due to the form of Tom Poynton, however, Johnson found himself playing in the unfamiliar position of specialist batsman for most of the campaign. But the former-Warwickshire man insists he is just happy to play his part during an enjoyable first year with the Club.
“On the field things have been tough for us, but in terms of me settling into life here at Derby I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” he said.
“I was just delighted to be playing first-team cricket. Yes I am a keeper and I do love keeping. Of course I do want to keep wicket whenever possible, but I saw it as a massive compliment that the management felt they could select me as a batsman alone.
It may only have been three weeks since he underwent shoulder surgery, but Chesney Hughes is already looking ahead to a successful 2014 season with Derbyshire.
The powerful opening batsman is, like the rest of the squad, due back in Derby on Monday to begin his off-season rehabilitation programme ahead of the new campaign, scheduled to begin at the start of April.
The 22-year-old will spend the majority of the winter with Club Physiotherapist James Pipe and Strength and Conditioning Coach Jamie Tallent as he attempts to get back to full strength for the start of the season.
And Hughes is hoping he can have a positive impact on both the four-day and limited overs sides in 2014 as the Club push for an immediate return to Division One and their first knockout berth since 2005.
“I think we improved a lot coming towards the end of last season and we want to take that kind of momentum through to next year,” he said.
“I think we understand that we are capable of winning Division Two again so we will go out and try and do that from ball one.
All-rounder Alex Hughes is first to sit down with former Derbyshire spin bowler Jake Needham as he answers quick-fire questions about his team-mates.
This is the first of a series of quick-fire interviews with members of the playing and coaching staff as they reveal all about their fellow Derbyshire colleagues.
Cricket Derbyshire University of Derby Academy graduate Hughes was first to speak with derbyshireccc.com.
Who is the most talented member of the squad?
There’s a few, obviously, in the side. But batsman I would say Tom Knight has probably got the most array of shots and the most natural timing of a cricket ball I have ever seen.
Who is the biggest joker?
I think Boz [Paul Borrington] is the real comedian in the group. He is the loud bubbly one who will always get us up for it on a cold day. So yes, probably Boz.
Strength and Conditioning Coach Jamie Tallent spoke to derbyshireccc.com about the Club’s off-season schedule and what the players have in store this winter.
The playing staff will be back in training next Monday as they begin a vigorous pre-season programme designed to get all back fit and strong for the start of the 2014 campaign.
This winter the entire squad will remain in Derby and work closely with the Derbyshire coaching staff - and Tallent believes this will help build a real good team ethos which will bode well for the new season.
“The players report back next Monday and they will be in five days a week,” he said. “We work through to Christmas with the cricket slowly coming in as we go into the New Year.
“The lads will be in the gym in the mornings and in the afternoon they will be doing a lot of fitness work. That will change depending on how much cricket the coaches want to put in.”
The Derbyshire County Cricket Club Shop has kicked-off its annual sale – and supporters are encouraged to get their hands on official 2013 Derbyshire merchandise while stocks last.
All Derbyshire 2013 clothing from replica shirts, tracksuits, jogging bottoms and polo tops are available in a variety of sizes and priced at just £10 each, subject to availability.
The Shop has limited numbers of LV= County Championship, Friends Life t20 and Yorkshire Bank 40 shirts still available, and four-day tops are now only available in-store.
Supports can also get their hands on the Club’s official 2013 Matchday Programmes which are now half price at just £1.
Other gifts such as DVDs, Club ties, hats, caps and books are also available both online and in-store.
The Sale is available whilst stocks last, with the Club Shop open in the Gateway Centre at the County Ground from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
Please click here to view the Online Store>>>
Derbyshire County Cricket Club will not be retaining David Houghton as a dedicated specialist batting coach.
This follows last week's budget reviews by the Supervisory Board and the announcement that the Club will be conducting a structural review of the cricket management strategy.
Houghton, who has been working alongside Karl Krikken’s back-room team since mid-2011, was financed out of the specialist coaching fund, but the Club has not yet been able to commit to this again for next season.
The 56-year-old former Zimbabwe international has been the county’s batting coach for the last two-and-a-half seasons.
Head Coach Karl Krikken said: "I would personally like to thank David for his magnificent service to the Club over the past three seasons and we all wish him well in his future endeavours.
“We have been extremely lucky to have someone with David’s experience during this time, and everyone who has worked with him will have benefitted positively from it.”
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