Although Derbyshire’s chances of promotion evaporated months ago, they still have plenty to play for in the final two weeks of the season.
Despite making considerable progress as a T20 team, the four day campaign has again been a disappointment and there is one more chance to end an embarrassing statistic that stretches back to September 2014.
That was the last time they won a County Championship match at home so next week’s game against Kent which starts on Tuesday at Queen’s Park, Chesterfield is a final opportunity to address that.
They will have to do it without captain Billy Godleman who misses the run-in after suffering a broken right hand in the game at Hove this week but he will want his side to finish on an upbeat note to show they are moving in the right direction.
Losing fast bowlers Hardus Viljoen, who took 7-80 against Sussex, and Will Davis for most of the season has been a mitigating factor but Kim Barnett, who has extended his role as Cricket Advisor for another year, accepts that there is still considerable room for improvement.
“I’m pleased with some of the signs, you’re never going to be entirely pleased with everything, but some things have gone better than I thought and others haven’t happened as quickly as I’d hoped,” he said.
“The four day has been a bit slow, we’ve only won one and still haven’t won at Derby and are still trying to find a way to win cricket matches at home so that template hasn’t been found yet.
“I would expect next season if things develop we want to be targeting four or five Championship wins, try and get in the quarter-finals of the 50 overs competition and reach the finals of the T20.
“That would be a progression, whether we get all those things is down to what we do, but now I think we can safely say that is what we ought to be trying to aim for.”
Although continuity and stability are vital for the progression of a club, it is certain there will be changes to the playing staff as Barnett tries to move Derbyshire forward.
“It’s a very privileged position to be a professional sportsman and we are trying to lift standards and if people can’t go with those standards, then inevitably and sadly they won’t survive.
“That’s the tough part of the job, deciding if some of these guys are going to play, are they going to get in the team and if they’re not, in some ways it’s cruel to keep them. Maybe they can get an opportunity elsewhere or do something else.
“That’s a major part of lifting standards, you want the whole staff to be available for the first team and at the moment it doesn’t seem that way.”