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.
Derbyshire legend and former England Selector Geoff Miller OBE will be the guest speaker at Derbyshire County Cricket Club’s Players’ Luncheon.
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.
Derbyshire County Cricket Club will face the international quality of New Zealand as part of their first ever pre-season tour of Abu Dhabi.
The squad will fly to the United Arab Emirates on Friday 7th March and will spend nine days based at the state of the art Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium before returning on Sunday 16th March.
Following four consecutive visits to Barbados, Derbyshire were originally planning to spend their entire pre-season in the UK.
However, following the introduction of the new Elite Performance model, Elite Cricket Performance Director Graeme Welch and his team are keen to ensure they are ready to hit the ground running when the new season commences in April.
A recent review of cost management throughout the Club unlocked some additional funds to make the tour a possibility, but the support from supporters and local businesses has also helped bring the trip a little closer to reality.
Wayne Madsen says the backing of Members and supporters is vital if the Club is to achieve its ambition for sustainable on-field success.
Supporters have until this Friday, 31st January, to qualify for Early Bird Membership Prices with all categories including entry to every home match at less than £3.50 per day.
Further discounts are in place for students, senior citizens and those living more than 20 miles from the County Ground.
With the recent implementation of an Elite Cricket Performance structure – led by the appointment of Graeme Welch - Madsen says it’s an exciting time to join the Club.
He said: “We’re grateful for all the support we get from the local community, Members and supporters and we hope they can get behind us for what sets to be an exciting summer of cricket.
Purchase Junior Membership for the 2014 season and receive your Derbyshire County Cricket Club ‘County Cap’.
All Junior Members, aged 5 to 15 years, will receive a FREE Derbyshire cap and enjoy 49 days of cricket during an action-packed season for just £20, if purchased prior to Friday 31st January Early Bird deadline.
Support Wayne Madsen, who has committed himself to the Club until the end of the 2016 campaign, world number three Test batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who will be will be returning for a second season in 2014, and the team as Graeme Welch’s men push for success across all three domestic competitions this summer.
Junior Members can watch every minute of Derbyshire’s home LV= County Championship, Royal London One-Day Cup and NatWest T20 Blast campaigns and gain entry to the eagerly-anticipated three-day tour match against India as part of their Membership package.
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