John Morris’s time as Derbyshire head of cricket has come to a sudden and shocking end.
After just under four years in charge of the club, Morris and his assistant Andy Brown were called into a meeting with chairman Chris Grant shortly before close of play on the opening day of Derbyshire’s County Championship match against Essex and told their contracts, which expire after the end of this season, were not going to be renewed. They have left the club with immediate effect.
The news was a huge surprise, not least to both men, who had been under the impression that new deals were about to be offered. The timing of it is also bizarre, coming as it does midway through a home match and after a decent start to the season, including wins in their last three Clydesdale Bank 40 fixtures.
The reason for the timing was because there was a scheduled monthly general committee meeting, but no official explanation has yet been offered to say how or why the decision was taken. It is, however, also just the latest incident at a county which has been no stranger to controversy in modern times.
When he was elected chairman after the club’s AGM at the end of March, Grant said that sorting out a contract extension for Morris was at the top of his priority list.
The club issued an immediate statement confirming that captain Luke Sutton, academy director Karl Krikken, bowling coach Steffan Jones and committee member Tony Borrington are to look after the running of the first team for the rest of the season.
For Morris and Brown, the statement revealed only that their time was up. “After careful consideration, it has been decided not to renew their contracts and both will be released from performing their duties immediately,” said Grant in the statement.
“The positions of lead physiotherapist James Pipe, strength and conditioning coach Luke Storey and second XI coach AJ Harris are unaffected.
“I would like to thank both John and Andy for their efforts while they have been employed by Derbyshire and wish them the very best in their future endeavours.”
The statement also confirmed that nothing else would be said as the legal process of sorting out severance payments for both men has begun. For the same reason, neither Morris nor Brown would make an official comment immediately following the revelation.