PLEASING END TO A TOUGH SEASON5th October, 2017
We might not have got the win we wanted against Hampshire in the final Specsavers County Championship game of the season at Edgbaston, but as a team we showed good character as we head into the winter.
We felt we were in a strong position to win the match and send the Bears members and supporters home with something to cheer about. But Hampshire showed tremendous grit and determination to hang on in there when chasing 239, and they secured the draw that they needed to secure their Division One status.
On a personal note, I was pleased to contribute 77 not out to our second innings total, which helped put us on top in the game and gave Hampshire a very challenging run chase. I obviously haven’t scored as many runs as I would have liked to this season, but I was pleased to end on a positive note.
New signing Dom Sibley, who is only 21, carried his bat through the first innings with 92 not out, and showed great signs for the future.
Next year will really be the start of a new era at the club, with Dom joined in our Championship side by fellow recruits Adam Hose and Will Rhodes.
Bears’ fans have already seen a bit of Adam in the NatWest T20 Blast, where his hard hitting and ability to regularly clear the ropes has made an immediate impact. However, his original loan agreement prevented him playing any Championship cricket this season.
Will also joins from Yorkshire when we start back for our pre-season programme in November and will strengthen us with bat and ball.
A special word for Jeetan Patel, who was shortlisted for PCA Player of the month for September after excellent performances against Yorkshire and Hants. Jeets also followed up his PCA Awards for the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the domestic game for 2014 and 2016, by finishing second this season to Notts all-rounder Samit Patel. He has proven time and again that he is one of the greatest overseas players in the club’s history, alongside the likes of Allan Donald and Brian Lara.
With the season now over, it’s the time of year when many of the playing and coaching staff take time away from the game before we return in November ready to start our 2018 preparations.
Many of the young members of our squad are going to be based in Australia and South Africa playing club cricket, which is a fantastic experience where you not only develop as a cricketer, but as a person. I had winters in the early part of my career playing grade cricket for the University of Western Australia, which I thoroughly enjoyed and I have recommended the experience to the younger lads.
Come the start of next season, I believe that we will be ready and well placed to mount a serious challenge for promotion.
It will be tough as there are some very good teams in division two, but we showed great signs by reaching the final of the NatWest T20 Blast, with some impressive performances from the new lads and young players. Hopefully we can build on the positives and take some of that form into all formats next year
Finally, thank you for reading this column this season. I hope it has given you a little glimpse in the inner sanctums of Edgbaston.
Let’s hope England can do the business in the Ashes, and good luck to Chris Woakes flying the flag for Warwickshire.