Derbyshire v Surrey, Derby, 4th day

Welch won't lift Groenewald freeze-out

Ryan Bailey at Derby

June 17, 2014

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Surrey 421 (Davies 124, Ansari 105, Footitt 4-63) and 21 for 0 beat Derbyshire 153 (Curran 5-51) and 288 (Wainwright 56, Batty 4-69, Ansari 4-96) by 10 wickets
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Tim Groenewald went wicketless on day three, Derbyshire v Durham, County Championship, Division One, Derby, 3rd day, September, 13, 2013
Derbyshire's stance remains uncompromising on Tim Groenewald © Getty Images
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Graeme Welch, Derbyshire's elite performance director, continues to insist that the county will not field their out-of-favour seam bowler Tim Groenewald at the expense of one of their academy graduates despite the club having registered just one victory all season.

Groenewald - who has been at the club for five years and was central to their brief flirtation with Division One - pronounced his desire to move on when his current contract ends in September.

Since meeting with Welch and senior club officials last week to discuss his future, Groenewald, 30, finds himself being determinedly overlooked. He is expected to join a Division One club at the end of the season, but unless he is sent out on loan could conceivably not play again this summer.

Without him, Derbyshire's frailties were once again exposed this week as another comprehensive defeat brought further dejection for Welch, who was brought into a restructured Derbyshire coaching set-up with the intention of quickly recovering their First Division status.

Surrey duly completed a 10-wicket victory on the fourth morning, knocking off the 21 they needed for victory, leaving Derbyshire staggering towards the foot of Division Two.

Welch insists the club's focus is firmly fixed on nurturing the next generation and that short-term blips should not undermine that strategy. More questions, however, are being raised with every passing game. Victory against the bottom club Leicestershire last week has only proved to be a fleeting period of respite.

There was a 90-minute dressing room appraisal at the conclusion of the third day's play here and after Surrey coasted to victory within 20 minutes on Wednesday morning, Welch wasted little time in assembling his beleaguered troops in the middle for an intense session.

The off-field issues haven't helped either. It has all resulted in a situation where one of the club's most influential players is sitting at home twiddling his thumbs because the management have rendered his services as redundant despite his team mates's failings.

"The bottom line is Tim came to me and said he's moving on. I was happy for him because he's been a great servant to the club and of course we'll miss him but my mind instantly turned to the future," Welch stated.

"We have four or five young seamers here that we believe will develop into better bowlers than Tim. He's still a Derbyshire player at this moment but it's a chance to play the young lads, give them experience and quicken their development process."

It is known that some Derbyshire members have not only voiced their concern over the team's direction but the way in which one of their most successful players has been disregarded with still four months remaining on a contract which is understood to be of the highest on the wage bill.

Derbyshire's batting defects must also take their share of the blame. Slumping to just 153 on the first morning having won the toss in bountiful conditions encapsulated their season. But the manner of defeat, in which only a handful of players exhibited any stomach for the fight, is perhaps the most disconcerting aspect of it all.

Their playing resources are threadbare at the best of times and while finances are a perennial issue for the smaller clubs on the circuit, Welch remained coy on the possibility of bolstering his squad with a loan signing or two. That depends, however, on whether Groenewald can be shipped out in the opposite direction to free up some funds.

"I've been around a long time and know quite a few people," Welch said with a wry smile. "There are a few players on the radar, Richard Jones who is now at Leicester was one, but I've got my finger on the pulse. If we need reinforcements I'll do my best to bring them in."

When asked about whether the club would allow Groenewald to join a Division Two rival for the rest of the campaign, Welch's response was far less direct. "We'll have to have a think about that one but it's a bridge we'll cross if we come to it."

As for Surrey, they have have moved within touching distance of the promotion berths on the back of their first Championship win away from the Kia Oval since September 2011. Zafar Ansari and Rory Burns required just 35 balls to knock off the runs and complete a resounding victory that highlights their purpose in chasing Hampshire and Worcestershire.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by siltbreeze on (June 19, 2014, 12:59 GMT)

Derby's decision on Groenewald seems very strange to me. Welch talks of giving the young seamers experience, then mentions he's trying to bring in a seamer (Jones) on loan. Besides, Derbyshire's record of developing their young talent lately is not good

Posted by   on (June 18, 2014, 14:46 GMT)

touching distance! 41 points behind 2nd & drop to fourth if Glamorgan get anything out of their game in hand

Posted by StoneRose on (June 18, 2014, 14:45 GMT)

It's batting that's the problem, not Groenewald's absence, although we should make sure this situation can never happen again.

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