Derbyshire put in the hard yards this winter

Derbyshire County Cricket Club 2016, one day kit, back Rob Hemmings,  Greg Cork, Matthew Critchley, Tom Knight, Will Davis,
middle Tom Milnes, Harvey Hosein, Tom Taylor, Ben Slater, Ben Cotton, Alex Hughes, Scott Elstone
front Shiv Thakor, Andy Carter, Tony Palladino, Billy Gogleman, Graeme Welch, Wes Durston, Wayne Madsen, Tom Poynton and Chesney Hughes
Derbyshire County Cricket Club 2016, one day kit, back Rob Hemmings, Greg Cork, Matthew Critchley, Tom Knight, Will Davis, middle Tom Milnes, Harvey Hosein, Tom Taylor, Ben Slater, Ben Cotton, Alex Hughes, Scott Elstone front Shiv Thakor, Andy Carter, Tony Palladino, Billy Gogleman, Graeme Welch, Wes Durston, Wayne Madsen, Tom Poynton and Chesney Hughes
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Some of the hardest pre-season work he’s ever experienced has Tom Poynton ‘raring to go’ ahead of his 10th season with Derbyshire CCC.

The 26-year-old has been fueled by less than fond memories of last season, and has spent the winter working hard on his batting.

Derbyshire County Cricket Club 2016, Tom Poynton

Derbyshire County Cricket Club 2016, Tom Poynton

He believes that gruelling training, intense nets sessions and a positive trip to Abu Dhabi will stand Derbyshire in good stead for the new campaign.

Speaking before this week’s encounter with Durham, that started on Monday, he said: “Pre-season has gone very well.

“We’ve put in some real hard yards this winter, probably the hardest I’ve ever put in, perhaps coming close to 10 years.

“We didn’t perform brilliantly last year and wanted to rectify that from a skills point of view, technique point of view and an attitude point of view, really getting our mentality right to know we’ve put the yards in, and go out and enjoy the performances we can hopefully produce in all formats.

“The boys are raring to go.”

The British weather might have put paid to a friendly against Yorkshire last week, but Poynton says toiling in Middle Eastern heat this winter has filled the side with confidence as they look to reach the latter stages of T20 competition.

“Unfortunately the weather stopped us getting out there against Yorkshire, but we’re raring to go, starting against Durham on Monday and then on to Bristol,” he said.

“In Abu Dhabi, we had some incredible weather first couple of days so all the games ended up being pushed to the back end of the tour, we ended up playing four days in a row.

“Credit to the guys putting the performances in to get four wins from four, even on the last day when they’d been out there for three days in the blistering heat.

“They got over the line in the game against Leicester on the last day before we flew home.

“The guys took a lot of confidence from that, in white ball cricket. We’re hoping we can push a quarter-final this year or a finals day in the T20, that’s what we’re aiming for.”

For Poynton personally, this season will be a chance to eradicate painful memories from 2015.

And he’s been working hard with bat in hand.

“I had a few experiences towards the end last year that didn’t go brilliant, particularly one game against Northants that I wanted to rectify.

“I worked in the winter to try give myself some options and put that right.

“I’ve worked a lot on my batting, I had a poor year last year really. I’ve worked really hard to get in a good mindset and from a skills perspective.

I’m excited for the challenge that lies ahead and hope to put in some match winning performances for Derbyshire this year.”

He admits, however, that he faces a battle before the action even starts, with Harvey Hosein hot on his heels.

“Competition is great. Harvey is a young whipper snapper, I’m getting on a bit even at 26, I made my deubt at 17, I’ve been in the game nine years professionally.

“Hopefully this year I start to bear the fruits of that experience and the work I’ve put in technically to have a good year.

“I wish Harvey on the best equally, and we’re snapping at each other’s heels all the way until the name goes on that team sheet.”