Following the difficult end to the County Championship season for the Men’s First XI, our Managing Director of Cricket, Darren Gough, sat down with us to give his thoughts on what happened, and the future.
Reflecting on the squad’s reaction to relegation, Darren expanded on how the players are dealing with the disappointment, while revealing his hopes for the future and insight on plans for the team in the year ahead.
Darren, how are you feeling following relegation to Division Two?
It has been tough and will take time to recover. My stomach was stirring the whole weekend after and I felt sick. It is gut-wrenching because we have some talented young players.
The outpouring of comment from disappointed supporters shows the passion for cricket in this county and it is so important that we work hard to regain our division one status at the earliest possible opportunity.
A lot of things have gone against us in the year regarding selection and England call-ups. For now, I am remaining positive and working on how we make it right for next year.
From a performance perspective, what do you think was lacking in what some might call a season of two halves?
We have to be honest about our cricketing performances: we have struggled to bowl teams out to win games. You could say that the start of the season wasn’t bad – we won the first game and we were drawing games that we weren’t far away from winning. Over the season, we haven’t had that bite in the bowling attack to bowl teams out and there was a lack of experience in our batting. Those factors probably cost us in the end.
What do you think could have been done differently to prevent relegation?
We all know that when Yorkshire’s squad is at full strength, we have one of the best teams in the country, there are no arguments on that front. When you are as successful as we have been as a county over the years, you create these groups of England players. It’s something that’s happened going back to before my own playing days.
This year, England’s fixture list has been off the scale as it has been catching up following the effects of COVID, with Test Matches and ODIs happening at the same time. The result is we’ve found we’re not just missing one or two players, but five or six at a time. When you are missing six players through England, then others through injury or illness, this becomes very hard to control. We have had to manage that throughout the season.
There are lots of positives to take from the season, but as we sit now, we are in Division Two and we have to start again.
How are you feeling given that some senior players have left the squad?
In an ideal world, players wouldn’t want to leave but I respect all the decisions of those that have gone. I understand their reasons for leaving and wish them well.
Ottis and I want players who want to be part of our story next year and that is what I have tried to concentrate on from a management point of view. I leave the coaching to Ottis and the good team that we have in place.