Stubbings departure throws Bedfordshire into disarray

Bedfordshire’s plans for the season have been thrown into disarray by the appointment of Steve Stubbings as full-time Derbyshire coach.
Steve Stubbings. wk 24.Steve Stubbings. wk 24.
Steve Stubbings. wk 24.

Stubbings took over as captain of Bedfordshire at the end of last season following the resignation of Oliver Clayson, but the MCCA Trophy game against Hertfordshire at Harpenden a week on Sunday is now likely to be his last for the county.

So with the season only one match old, Bedfordshire have suddenly lost their captain, coach and leading run-getter.

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“It’s a real blow for us but, of course, a great opportunity for Steve,” said chairman of the selectors Mike Archer.

“The offer came right out of the blue and he feels really bad about letting us down, but you don’t turn down an opportunity like the one offered by Derbyshire. Who knows what it could lead to in the future.”

Stubbings had worked tirelessly throughout the winter preparing for the new season. He oversaw regular net sessions and organised a pre-season training camp for the Bedfordshire players.

Before the season’s opener against Oxfordshire last week, he was at the ground before all the players setting up practice drills and although Bedfordshire were beaten by one wicket in the last over, the all-round improvement in the side following last season’s disappointment was clear to see.

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He led by example, top scoring with 93 and taking a brilliant catch, and his skilful use of his bowlers and astute field placings so nearly brought about an unlikely victory.

Stubbings, of course, played for Derbyshire for many seasons and has helped out with the coaching at the Derbyshire academy since retiring.

Derbyshire were promoted to the Division One last season, but they have struggled early on - and this has obviously prompted them to add Stubbings to the full-time coaching staff. Initially he will take charge of the second XI.

The problem for Bedfordshire is that there is no obvious replacement for Stubbings as captain. The average age of the side which played against Oxfordshire was 21 and the committee have to decide whether to take a chance on an experienced youngster or look outside the current set-up - although at this time of the year there aren’t likely to be many suitable candidates.

The new man will have to take charge the day after the Hertfordshire game with Bedfordshire in action against Cornwall at Cople on the Bank Holiday Monday.