Off the Mark: Media Day, arrivals and more…

Get off the mark this week with six quick-fire stories to keep you up to date with the latest news from Derbyshire.

The new Specsavers County Championship season begins this Friday as Derbyshire welcome Middlesex to The 3aaa County Ground; 11am start.

It’s been a busy last seven days at the Club. We take a look at the latest news.

1. Derbyshire hold annual Media Day season launch

The local media assembled on The 3aaa County Ground for the annual Media Day and photocall, as the entire squad gathered to kick-off the new season.

Print, radio and TV media took the opportunity to chat to the Derbyshire players about the season ahead. It was also a first opportunity to see new signing Duanne Olivier at the ground ahead of his stint as overseas player for the first half of the season.

We take you behind the scenes and provide a little insight on what happens on Media Day.

2. Openers in the runs at Edgbaston (before the rain)

Openers Ben Slater and Luis Reece put on an unbeaten stand of 147 in the first innings of the Second XI friendly versus Warwickshire, before rain at Edgbaston halted play.

After being put in to bat, Slater (89 not out) hit the first half-century for the Club this summer, reaching the landmark off 58 balls, with nine fours. Reece (43 not out) also took to the challenging conditions, and the pair were unbeaten when heavy rain brought an end to the day shortly after lunch.

No play was possible on the remaining two days following heavy rain in midlands, but a useful first outing for the openers ahead of the new season.

3. Hardus Viljoen returns to Derbyshire

Fit and firing after a busy winter, fast bowler Hardus Viljoen says he is ready to hit the ground running with Derbyshire this summer.

The formidable quick, who claimed the Club’s fifth best ever bowling figures with a blistering 15-170 versus Sussex last summer, is targeting a fast start to the campaign and contributions in all forms.

He said: “I’m looking forward to the season. It’s nice to be back, so we’ll see if we can hit the ground running.”

4. Match abandoned at Weetwood

Following heavy rain, the University fixture against Leeds/Bradford MCCU was abandoned a day early due to a wet outfield.

Persistent bad weather in the days leading up to the match left areas of the outfield unfit and no play was possible on the opening day, when more rain fell at Weetwood.

An inspection took place at 9am on Day Two and despite better weather overhead, the outfield was too wet and areas were deemed unfit for play. The umpires took a view that conditions would not improve sufficiently enough to get any play and the match was abandoned without a ball bowled.

5. Derbyshire to host Aboriginal tour match

Aboriginal XI squads representing Cricket Australia will return to Derbyshire 150 years after their pioneering counterparts became the first sporting team from Australia to tour internationally in 1868.

Two Twenty20 matches, seeing men’s and women’s Aboriginal squads take on Derbyshire representatives, will come to The 3aaa County Ground on Sunday 10 June.

The touring Aboriginals played a South Derbyshire XI in fixture in Derby, as part of the original tour which took place between May and October in 1868.

Ashleigh Gardner and Dan Christian will lead the respective sides during this historic tour.

6. Barnett excited by bowling attack

Ahead of the new season Cricket Advisor, Kim Barnett, praised a strong Derbyshire bowling attack which includes three international seamers.

For the first three months of this season, Billy Godleman will have a strong bowling unit to pick from with the South Africa pair Hardus Viljoen and Duanne Olivier supported by the experience of Tony Palladino and Ravi Rampaul, plus the emerging Will Davis.

Barnett said: “Much as I was a batsman mainly by trade, you know bowlers win you matches, certainly in the longer format.

“I think we are where we want to be now. I can understand people saying we’ve bought skills in but we want to compete and we want Members and supporters to have a competitive side, so that’s why we’ve done this while Mal Loye develops the Academy.

“We have a number of promising young bowlers at the Club and it’s important we also continue to maximise their development.”

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