In saying that this is a big game I'm paying Derbyshire a great compliment, as realistically they are all going to be big games from here onwards.
It is a sign of progress. With a completely united committee behind the chairman after last night's meeting, we can now return full attention to the events on the field. Its a good job too, as Essex will present us with the sternest challenge yet to our unbeaten record.
It is a game that sees Tony Palladino return to Essex and Greg Smith , assuming he is selected, facing his old team mates for the first time. The hosts are without Ryan ten Doeschate and Ravi Bopara, but still have some good players in this squad:
James Foster (c/wk), Alviro Petersen, Tom Westley, Owais Shah, Mark
Pettini, Ben Foakes, Greg Smith, Graham Napier, David Masters, Charl
Willoughby, Tymal Mills, Tom Craddock.
Owais Shah has been a regular thorn in Derbyshire sides over the years and batted well in the IPL, but for me the game is likely to be a battle between two very good seam attacks. Masters, Willoughby and Napier are all good cricketers and our batsmen will be tested, make no bones about it. There are interesting reports about the pace of Mills, but Derbyshire's attack will not be found wanting in comparison.
Groenewald, Palladino and Clare stand comparison to any out there and if there is any help in the wicket I would expect them to find it. We also have a quality spinner in David Wainwright and a team spirit that will see us through tight situations this summer. The team effectively picks itself, although Paul Borrington will hope for the good score that will cement his place in the side. Bozza is well respected for what he brings to the side, a willingness to graft and take the shine from the new ball. This makes life a lot easier for later batsmen and all he lacks is another big score that will confirm his talent.
He will be aware that Matt Lineker and Chesney Hughes will be in second team action in the coming days and that big runs for one of them may see him lose a place. Such competition is good for the players and good for the team, but Borrington will keep his place tomorrow in what I see as this side;
Guptill, Borrington, Madsen, Durston, Redfern, Whiteley, Wainwright, Clare, Poynton, Groenewald, Palladino.
The weather looks set fair for the next few days, so there should be time for a positive result. If our batting continues to fire, I can see us shading this one. Why? Because if we bowl first in helpful conditions we have an attack that can do the job. If bowl last, we now have two spinners who can do the same.
Call me Mr Optimistic if you like - and we'd not be unhappy with a draw - but we can get another win here.
Come on Derbyshire!