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Cross in as Poynton and Johnson face spell on sidelines

Steve Dolman
1.70K   //    10 May 2014, 03:04 IST

The news that Tom Poynton is out for the season came as a blow, not just to the player himself and his family but to the club and its supporters.

He will return, and I have no doubt that the player will re-emerge next season as the wicket-keeping talent that we know he is. We’re missing him right now. Not just for the excellence of his glove work or his pugnacious batting but also for his presence on the field.

You know Poynton is there, because you hear him between every ball: shouting, encouraging, energising. Teams need that sort of player, but we will now need to do without him until 2015.

We will also need to do without Richard Johnson. A victim of sports performance anxiety issues, his absence could also be lengthy, and the club will doubtless afford him the time he needs, just as they have with Peter Burgoyne.

When Johnson’s absence was first mentioned, but no illness specified, I had an idea that it may be a similar condition. It is again cruel luck for the player and the club and illustrative again of the pressures of the modern game. None of us on the outside can imagine those pressures and the need to perform on a regular basis.

I wish both Tom and Richard the best of luck as they begin their treatment and recuperation and hope that we see them back in training sooner rather than later.

I mentioned the need for luck as paramount in Derbyshire’s quest for success this summer and it is fair to say that Graeme Welch hasn’t had a great deal of that so far. As well as losing several players to injury and ill-health, he has seen senior players start the campaign in poor form, ironically after impressing pre-season.

Yet one learns a great deal about someone in adversity, and Welch has moved with commendable speed to sign Lancashire wicket-keeper Gareth Cross (pictured). It doesn’t come as a great surprise, the player having made several second team performances in the past couple of weeks, but it is undoubtedly good news.

Cross is a fine player; he is a very good wicket-keeper, equally competent standing up as back, as well as being an able batsman who can score quickly or dig in as required. His signing allows Dan Hodgson to return to Yorkshire after the most brief of loan spells, where two innings produced but one run.

Perhaps this will mark a turning point in our fortunes, and Welch has also moved quickly to change the team around for the Kent game on Sunday – but that’s for another piece.

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Steve Dolman
I work in retail and have been published in the Derbyshire Cricket Yearbook, as well as having a book in print on a different subject.
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