Derbyshire County Cricket Club has announced its Second XI fixtures for the 2014 season – including two matches at the County Ground.
Derbyshire will begin the season by hosting Leicestershire in a four-day friendly on Monday 7th April, before entertaining Worcestershire in their first competitive fixture on Tuesday 29th April.
The County Ground, Derby, will host two Second XI fixtures - a one-day game on Monday 11th August and a Championship fixture starting on Tuesday 12th August both against Warwickshire.
Elite Performance Coach John Sadler will take over the Second XI coaching duties this summer after joining the Club earlier this month as part of the new elite coaching team.
All Second XI venues and start times will be confirmed in the coming months.
Graeme Welch says the current crop of Derbyshire Academy graduates are amongst the best he’s worked with.
The new Elite Performance Director has now been in the job four weeks and he has noticed exceptional potential in those produced by the Cricket Derbyshire Academy in partnership with the University of Derby.
Welch worked with England internationals Chris Woakes and Boyd Rankin at Warwickshire. But he believes the talent at the County Ground has the potential to surpass his former county.
“We’ve got some talented young players in the squad and I’ve been very impressed with the Academy graduates on the staff,” Welch said.
“There’s probably more talent here than what I had to work with at Warwickshire.
ECB coaching boss Gordon Lord says the new Elite Cricket Performance structure could lead to significant improvements in Derbyshire’s on-field performances.
The governing body’s Head of Elite Coach Development, who spearheaded their own similar elite coaching model, believes the county will also realise its ambition to produce England cricketers.
He said: “The way Derbyshire have put together a team of elite coaches to work across the pathway is extremely exciting,” Lord said.
“It’s also very encouraging in terms the way Derbyshire County Cricket Club and the Derbyshire Cricket Board will develop talent in the future. This is the most systematic way I’ve seen that will give young players the best possible opportunity to break into the first-class game.
All-rounder Wes Durston discusses Derbyshire's new intense - but rewarding - training regime and looks ahead to the Club’s pre-season tour of Abu Dhabi in his latest Player Blog.
So January has gone and we are now only two months away from the first competitive game of the season at the County Ground.
January has quickly flown by thanks to the intense training regime. It’s been hard but certainly awarding for all. It's hard to think that we were introduced to Graham Welch, our new Elite Cricket Performance Director, only four weeks ago.
The atmosphere around the ground has been very positive, mainly due to the fact that everybody is training very hard both in fitness and their technical game, and we're all looking forward to the fast approaching 2014 season.
We've also started our high-intensity fielding practices, with the help of new Fielding Coach Cookie Patel. We began with a very intense week of 7am starts. Each day we focused on a different aspect of fielding and over the week we managed to cover short, medium and longer catches, diving catches, pick-ups and throwing techniques - and some specialist work for the wicketkeepers too – so overall it was a very beneficial five-day block.
Chairman Chris Grant says the new elite cricket coaching team will help Derbyshire become a force in domestic cricket.
The Club added John Sadler, Ant Botha, Simon Guy and Cookie Patel to its backroom team this week to support Elite Cricket Performance Director Graeme Welch.
Stephen Stubbings and AJ Harris, meanwhile, have both also been retained as part of the new structure.
Grant says this unprecedented investment in coaching will give Derbyshire the best chance of fulfilling its ambition for sustainable success across all three domestic competitions.
He said: “I’m confident that the elite coaching team we have assembled to support Graeme will, for the first time, give Derbyshire a genuine chance of becoming a force in domestic cricket.
Graeme Welch has thanked Members for their support after Derbyshire saw Membership soar by over 36% during the last seven days.
Supporters responded in impressive numbers to recent rallying calls with over 230 Adult Members joining during the last week alone – 24 of which were new Members. In total, 54 new Members have joined for 2014.
This means the current Membership revenue is up 84% compared to the same date in 2012. The Club has now also attained almost 80% of its overall 2014 Membership budget, ahead of the 2013 budget on the corresponding date last year.
An additional 16 members, meanwhile, on top of the 88 from last year have become Ambassadors and received £50 cash back by recruiting new Members on behalf of the Club.
The surge in Membership numbers follows a recent rallying call to make a pre-season tour of Abu Dhabi possible and the buzz created by the appointment Welch and the subsequent implementation of an Elite Cricket Performance culture.
Graeme Welch says Derbyshire’s new coaching setup signals the Club’s long-term ambition.
The Club has added John Sadler, Simon Guy, Cookie Patel and Ant Botha to its backroom team as investment in coaching increases to unprecedented levels.
Existing coaches Stephen Stubbings and AJ Harris are also retained having successfully emerged from a rigorous recruitment process.
The new structure ensures an elite performance coaching resource in each of the key disciplines; batting, seam bowling, spin bowling, fielding and wicket-keeping.
All the coaching team will play a major part in professional squad coaching as well as lending their expertise to home-grown cricketers aiming to breakthrough into the first-class game from the Academy and County Age Groups.
Graeme Welch, the Elite Cricket Performance Director, will lead on seam bowling and will be supported by Harris, who will also have a special focus on Academy development.
The players are committed to finding funds for their pre-season tour of Abu Dhabi that they have arranged their own fundraising event, Players' Luncheon, on Wednesday 5th March in the County Ground Marquee; 12 noon arrival for 12.30pm start.
Chesterfield-born Miller, who is one of the best after dinner speakers around, will provide the lunch time entertainment. The former England international played 254 first-class matches for Derbyshire between 1973 and 1990 and was an integral member of the 1981 NatWest Trophy winning side.
Following his retirement, Miller has gone on to enjoy great success as a member of the ECB national selection panel. He oversaw England’s rise to number one in both the Test and 50-over formats, as well as becoming World T20 champions in the Caribbean in 2010, before leaving his post earlier this year.
Graeme Welch says the tour to Abu Dhabi will provide the perfect backdrop for Derbyshire’s final pre-season preparations.
The squad will fly to the United Arab Emirates on Friday 7th March and will spend nine days based at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium before returning on Sunday 16th March.
But doing the trip has highlighted the importance for Members and Business Partners to renew for 2014.
The Club is closing in on 150 Members joining the Club this week alone - one supporter has even made an anonymous donation of £100 towards the pre-season tour.
Welch said: “There seems to be a bit of a buzz around the Club. The lads are working hard and it’s good to hear supporters are getting on board.
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