Not only was Jamie Pipe probably the longest-serving understudy in cricketing history, he turned out to be the unluckiest.
For seven years, he was Worcestershire's man-inwaiting, marking time patiently before wicketkeeper Steve Rhodes retired.
Rhodes' astonishing fitness levels meant that the former England man soldiered on until he was over 40 years old, not hanging up the gauntlets until the end of the 2004 season.
But no sooner was Pipe handed his chance at the start of last season than he was under pressure from the up-and-coming England Under-19 international Steven Davies - a young man tipped for great things.
When Pipe lost his place to Davies midway through last July, he accepted an offer from Derbyshire, a county run by two former Worcester-shire men in chief executive Tom Sears and coach Dave Houghton.
Pipe returns to New Road for the first time with in-form Derbyshire tomorrow, to face a Worcestershire team reeling from Sunday's defeat by Scotland.
He is aching to impress, despite breaking a finger in the County Championship win over Glamorgan at Cardiff but, as one would expect of this popular, easy-going Yorkshire lad, there is no bitterness at not nailing down his place at New Road, even though he knows that the issue threatened to split the dressing-room.
He is just pleased to have had his cricketing education at first hand from Rhodes, a fellow son of Bradford.
"I had eight really enjoyable years at Worcester," Pipe said. "It was frustrating at times, playing behind 'Bumpy'. It was always games scattered here and there but I certainly didn't waste those years.
"They were spent working with one of the best 'keepers of that era, who was also an excellent teacher and coach. I took the opportunity to shadow him and work with him as much as I could to learn my trade.
"Worcester had young Steve Davies coming through and he's a very talented young player, a good batter and a good wicketkeeper, but it wasn't a case of being scared of the challenge, it was more a matter of the opportunities that were at Derby.
"Everything at Derby is on the up and up and all my conversations with Tom Sears and Dave Houghton were just so positive. That is infectious and I'm sure it's a big contributory factor in why there's such a good team spirit here. I guess that's what has given us such a 'no fear' attitude to play exciting cricket."
If there was one player at New Road who showed a 'no fear' approach to his batting, it was the flamboyant Pipe. His coaches, Bill Athey, Tom Moody and Rhodes, tore their hair out at his apparent inability to pick the right moment to play his shots.
But, knowing that Davies's greater reliability as a batsman won him the nod last year, Pipe has vowed to change his ways.
"I used to take shots on that, maybe, weren't the smartest options for me or the team," he said.
"But it's something I've learned from and one of the things Dave Houghton has instilled into me, that a batsman never gives his wicket away, no matter what the state of the game. Batting is definitely an area of my game in which I want to become a lot smarter."