DateLine: 22nd November 2005
Glenn Roberts First-class debut was a real mixed bag. On a pitch so flat that it would have shamed a steamroller, 1606 runs were scored (a new aggregate for a Derbyshire fixture), although the draw this unsurprisingly created dealt a real blow to the Peakites hopes of a first Championship title since 1936. Roberts took advantage of the wicket to score 52 on debut, although he was then required to turgidly bowl over after over outside leg stump, as Derbyshire sought to slow down Somerset’s pursuit of their fourth innings target. Roberts ability to hold a bat, and bowling which was tidy but unlethal unsurprisingly led to his pigeonholing as a one-day player. His economy of 4.59 in this form of the game could have been better, although it was offset by his ability to also score quickly. As his bowling failed to develop any real threat, and his batting always looked resolute and capable, there was talk of pushing Roberts up the order in an effort to see if he could make it as a batting, rather than a bowling all-rounder, although he himself admitted that he enjoyed facing the softer balls and tired bowlers which a no.8 or no.9 faced. The development of Ian Blackwell’s bowling prevented Roberts from appearing in the championship in 1999 (even though a massive 25 other players were called upon), although he was still needed in the first half of the season for limited-overs cricket. However, Roberts then seemed to fall out of favour, and despite injuries leading Derbyshire to field almost scratch bowling attacks on occasions in the second half of the season, he was not called upon, despite being fit. This was perhaps unsurprising, as Roberts had been one of four players on the staff who skipper Dominic Cork had said he would rather not have spent wages on. It was no surprise when he was not re-engaged for 2000, and Roberts opted for a career in education, although if Derbyshire had known that Ian Blackwell was to leave at the end of the 1999 season, they may have given Roberts further opportunities to prove himself.
(Article: Copyright © 2005 Matthew Reed)