Derbyshire’s Billy Godleman has pointed to the team’s NatWest T20 Blast form as a sign of the progress being made on and off the field at the 3aaa County Ground.
Club captain Godleman said it was “fantastic” to be part of the campaign which saw Derbyshire finish second in the North Group behind eventual winners Notts Outlaws.
The memorable campaign included victories over Yorkshire Vikings home and away, as well as standout performances from Wayne Madsen which saw him top the PCA Most Valuable Player Rankings.
Godleman said: “It was fantastic to be a part of our T20 Blast campaign and to see the strides that the Club has made to finish second in a group which is really strong. Going from a team that can only register a handful of wins that is huge progress.
“Coming in as Specialist Twenty20 Coach, John [Wright] made a real impact not just out on the field but behind closed doors too and in the dressing room. To have his knowledge and stories in the dressing room was great, we were very fortunate to have John’s services.”
A club record eight wins powered Derbyshire to a first quarter-final in the format since 2005 and the input of new signings Imran Tahir and Gary Wilson were a big factor, according to Godleman.
“Also, another great memory was the final game of the groups when we needed to win to qualify against Worcestershire and the fans’ support and energy, I can’t tell you how much that helps me and the guys,” he said.
Godleman oversaw a first Specsavers County Championship win since 2015, one of three Derbyshire claimed in the competition this summer.
The county’s four-day campaign, which concluded with victory against Gloucestershire at Bristol, is still a work-in-progress, particularly on producing more positive results at Derby in 2018.
He said: “Although it was my second season as captain, it was my first season under the new model and we highlighted at the start of the season it was really important to get the right personnel and characters out in the field and playing for Derbyshire.
“The model is led by Kim [Barnett] with his vast experience and knowledge of the game, but the senior players have been instrumental in making the decisions. It is very much a whole team and squad effort, and the varying characters make sure they seek the right information from everyone across the squad.
“It was really good to finish strongly with a couple of wins, but I do believe how we played during the season we could have easily come away with four or five wins, as, at times, we put in really promising performances. There are areas we do need to improve on and we are very clear on them and what we need to do in the next six months to make that a reality out on the field.
“It’s been a very long time since we’ve won here at The 3aaa County Ground. To win three games away from home is a really good effort and if we can do more to cater the conditions here around our strengths as a squad, I’d like to think that we will be adding to the wins over the next two to three seasons.”