Graeme Welch is the model county pros model county pro. Tireless, selfless, self effacing and sociable, he downplays his role in Warwickshires ultra successful team of the mid 90s, despite having played many matches in their march to glory on all fronts. Although his time with Derbyshire has been in a largely struggling team, Welchs ability to deliver around 500 overs, 500 runs and 50 wickets per First Class cricket a season has stopped an at times very poor team going into complete meltdown. One benefit of his move to Derbyshire has been a blossoming of his batting, with 2 centuries under his belt and an average now closer to 30 than 15. The ultimate example of his team ethic came at Taunton in the last match of the 2005 campaign. Skipper Luke Sutton was dismissed, leaving Welch 99* with Derbyshire already 448 ahead. He ignored his captains pleas for him to stay out there and score 1 more, saying that the team had enough already and were just now wasting bowling time. Predictably, despite his frenetic innings, Welch took the new ball, and took 5 wickets on a still unreceptive pitch as Derbyshire recorded their first county championship win of the season in the nick of time. Both Derbyshire, and the game itself, would be immeasurably poorer for his absence.
(Article: Copyright © 2005 Matthew Reed)