I was delighted to read about the three-year deal signed by Dan Redfern today.
Redfern is a player of talent who has looked exactly that since he first made it into the Derbyshire first eleven. His composure at the crease has always set him apart from many of his contemporaries but until last season he has not translated that talent into weight of runs.
Last season was not spectacular, but 700-plus runs were made in the characteristic style. He has plenty of time to play his shots but seemed more still at the crease last year, maybe better balanced, and the result was a season of steady accumulation. Having said that, Redfern has shots all round the wicket and normally scores quickly. I've written before that he reminds me of Lancashire star Neil Fairbrother and I think that he will go on to score heavily for Derbyshire.
The surprise is that he hasn't played too much one-day cricket, but at 21 he has years ahead of him. That first elusive century is all it will take and he came close this year. Had he not had the hamstring injury in August it could well have arrived, but I have no worries about the future for Mr Redfern. The lad is a class act and I look forward to seeing him develop in the years ahead.
Elsewhere a living county legend retired today, after considerable discussion over a possible return to the County Ground on the Forum. Dominic Cork was an outstanding player for Derbyshire and a good one for England. His best days were at the County Ground and no one will forget the brilliant innings he played in that Lords final against Lancashire. The partnership he shared with Karl Krikken as our innings came to a close that day was as good as it has been for a Derbyshire fan.
There were "show pony" labels and there was no doubt that Cork thrived on attention in his early years, but he had the talent to back it up. His late innings partnerships with Krikken and Phil de Freitas changed the course of many games, while his aggressive bowling, especially when he was in the mood, ran through many sides. Even in his later years he retained the ability to bowl a "magic" ball, as he showed last season for Hampshire.
Of course, time waits for no man and I am glad that the Cork name at Derbyshire will be carried only by his son. Rumours of a return were out there, but why come back and risk tarnishing a reputation? Greg has a long way to go to live up to his old man, but if he has the same competitive edge he can do it and it already seems evident that the talent is there.
As for Dominic, he leaves the game with his reputation intact and as a star.
No man could ask for more.