Dominic Cork says Derbyshire can win first Finals Day if they continue to punch above their weight

It means a lot to the club and everyone around Derbyshire to finally qualify for Finals Day and now we have we’re determined to put down a marker.

Success has been sparse for us at times but with more than a little determination, planning and strategy we’ve made it to Edgbaston and will give it our best shot.

Operating on a tight, shoestring budget makes things difficult but the togetherness and camaraderie at the club have clicked and things have worked out well.

Our progress is a little nudge to the ECB, so that it remembers the smaller counties who have got a lot to offer.

Audiences at non-Test grounds and non-Hundred venues are up 15 percent, so don’t tell me that out-grounds and smaller counties don’t have a role to play.

Our goal at the start of the season was to qualify for Finals Day but I lowered my expectations a little after Kane Richardson and then Billy Stanlake pulled out.

From that point on it was about putting in some good performances and seeing where we were.

It turns out that we are punching well above our weight and ultimately we are a side that, if we play to our maximum, has a good chance of beating anyone; that’s what we’ve done and we’ll see if we can do it again tomorrow.

I’m a big believer in the idea that every game of cricket is just a game of cricket; it’s not life or death. The sun goes down and comes up the next day.

That philosophy helped after our defeat to Leicestershire in August.

I can’t over-emphasise the fact that players don’t come into work and say ‘today we’re going to be 24-6’. They don’t practice as hard as they do, believing that.

We just pushed it to one side and said ‘let’s get back to what we do well and stop worrying about pitches and conditions’. It was such an important game in our season.

Now it’s important that the players go out and enjoy Finals Day; that’s what I’ll be telling the lads.

I know it can be difficult to play with a smile on your face on a big stage in front of a big crowd but everybody gets nerves but it’s how you react to those nerves that counts.

This will be one of the biggest – if not the biggest – days of some of these players’ careers and two wins would cap a brilliant campaign.

Our top four – Luis Reece (306 runs), Billy Godleman (444), Wayne Madsen (447) and Leus du Ploy (303) – have done really well and Ravi Rampaul (22 wickets) has led by example.

When you sign someone as senior as he is, you hope his experience sets the tone and he has performed with the new ball and inspired a young bowling unit.

On the back of that Matt Critchley (17 wickets) has been given the responsibility as the sole spinner and taken that and worked on it to bowl beautifully.

Alex Hughes has a very good economy rate without getting as many wickets as he’s deserved and the same is true of Reece, who has done exactly the same, and Finn Hudson-Prentice who also deserve more plaudits.

This is a bowling unit who have really produced and bowled consistently well. If they can do the same on Finals Day we’ve got a good chance of winning.

You might remember me saying on air that my godson Harry – one of cricket’s newest fans – watched our quarter-final win over Gloucestershire.

Well, he’ll be watching on TV again on Saturday and my hope is that occasions like Finals Day really do help bring more youngsters like him to the game.

We all want more young kids to develop an affiliation to a club or a player and hopefully that will then spur them on to get involved.

It has been such an incredible year so far with the World Cup and the Ashes. From a Derbyshire point of view, I know what would cap it off very nicely!

Watch Vitality Blast Finals Day from 10.30am on Saturday on Sky Sports Cricket.

2019-09-21T10:36:09+01:00By |

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