Billy Godleman relishing Derbyshire's tough Championship challenge next season

Billy Godleman says Derbyshire’s tough County Championship group represents the kind of challenge the squad will relish next season.

Billy Godleman fancies Derbyshire's chances in the four-day game next season. (Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images)
Billy Godleman fancies Derbyshire's chances in the four-day game next season. (Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images)

The opener will captain the side against the likes of reigning Bob Willis Trophy holders, Essex, as well as Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Durham and Nottinghamshire.

First-class cricket will take on a new structure next season, with counties set to play 14 County Championship matches each across Group and Division Stages.

Having performed well in the Bob Willis Trophy with a number of young players in 2020, Godleman is confident that Derbyshire will pose a challenge for any side they face, and believe such a test will aid the development of all players.

“I’m really excited about the prospect of playing a full schedule of first-class games,” he said.

“It’ll be really intriguing to travel and play against some sides that we haven’t faced for a while, particularly in four-day cricket. I think it’s fair to say we have a reasonably tough group on paper.

“There’s some really good teams in there and they are sides who play well on their own patch, so it’ll be a great challenge for all of the guys, not just the younger ones who are making their way up and did so well this year, but even the guys who have played for a number of years. It’ll be a great competition.

“Whenever we play a game of county cricket, the desire is to play against the very best and we get that quite often in the North Groups of the T20 and 50-over competitions. We’ve competed against some of the bigger counties and won home and away, but the opportunity to do that in the four-day competition, against the best side over the last two or three years (Essex) and the other tough teams in our group will be really exciting.”

Having managed a club-record run-chase to claim victory at Trent Bridge this year, Derbyshire will once again face Nottinghamshire in red-ball action next season.

Godleman says the squad are excited to play against their rivals in 2021, and believes such clashes are good for the county game.

“The Nottinghamshire games, being a local derby, are the ones that we look for first when the fixtures come out,” he added.

“It’s great to play them full-stop, but to face them in four-day cricket again next year is brilliant for both counties.”