Houghton delighted with McKiernan extension

Sunday 10th February 2019
& News
Written by Danny Painter

Head of Cricket Dave Houghton believes Mattie McKiernan has a bright future at Derbyshire after the all-rounder signed a one-year contract extension with the Club.

The move, which comes as recognition for hard work in pre-season training, will keep the 24-year-old at Derbyshire until the end of the 2020 season.

He impressed in all formats for the Second XI last summer, while he was also called up to the first team in July for the Vitality Blast fixture away to Lancashire Lightning, where he went for just 27 in his four overs.

He hit two half-centuries in his only Second XI Championship match, notching 143 runs in total and a top score of 85, whilst he also took 16 wickets at an average of 12.31 in twenty-over cricket, with best figures of 3-15.

Houghton was delighted with the news and said it was an easy decision to offer the 24 year-old an extended contract.

“Originally we only had Mattie on a white ball contract, and a lot of that was because of John Wright’s recommendation as I hadn’t seen a lot of him,” said Houghton.

“One of the things John [Wright] said when he left was that he’s got a good future as an all-rounder in one-day cricket, but to keep an eye on his batting because he may be good enough for all forms, and that’s exactly what we’ve seen during pre-season.

“Mattie has been very committed and worked hard with the guys even though he was only initially on a white ball contract, so it was very easy for us to convert that into a full-time contract.

“If you look at our small squad, while we have a lot of good options in the bowling department, we don’t really have a lot of specialist batsmen, so I think Mattie has a role to play.

“I think he can come into the side in four-day cricket as a batsman alone, but he bowls leg breaks as well and he’s one of the top fielders in the side so he offers skill in all three departments.”

The former Zimbabwe international notes there will be opportunities for McKiernan and other young squad members to impress and secure a place in the first-team throughout the season.

“I’ve spoken to our whole squad about that we’re different to other counties who have a first and second team squad whereas we only have a first team squad of 17, which means that everybody will get a game at some stage in the season,” added Houghton.

“For me, a county like Derbyshire has to produce its own players, so we have to have a pathway that works from 12-year-olds up to the first-team.

“Every now and then there will be an opportunity to find players from outside the county to enhance that process, but for us it’s about seeing our own come through the system and ending up on the field for the first-team.

“I think every county coach is very keen on winning every game they play at this time of the year, and we’re no different.

“We have a small squad, but I think we have a core in the team that has been improving season by season.

“We’ve got a squad that I think can win matches and if you play well consistently, you can compete for trophies and I expect us to keep developing and compete this year.

“And I also expect to see some of our young players in the first-team so for me it’s a win-win situation.”

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