Realising a boyhood dream
Posted in Domestic Cricket
It hasn't sunk in that I have won the LV= County Championship.
As a local lad and a Warwickshire supporter it means a great deal to me. I remember seeing pictures of the championship-winning team of 2004 and hoping that would be me some day. It is amazing to think I've managed to do it.
We've had a fantastic season, even if it ended on something of a sour note by losing the Clydesdale Bank 40 final at Lord's on Saturday.
To win the County Championship after losing it on the final day of last season showed a lot of character.
We did a huddle on the pitch after that game in Hampshire last year and I remember Jim Troughton telling us to remember how we felt coming second and that we'd come back stronger next year.
Well, we certainly did. We always backed ourselves to win it, even before the season started. At halfway we were sitting top and I felt it was ours to lose, although none of us said that in the press.
We knew we had two tough games with Notts towards the end of the season as they'd be up there. Sussex then suddenly made a challenge out of nowhere but we managed to win with a game to spare which was a brilliant effort.
There was one round of games in August when Sussex were denied by the rain at Taunton and we beat Worcestershire - at that point the title was ours.
It's hard to single out any of the guys out as everyone has contributed at some point.
Wrighty and Barks took 62 and 56 wickets - they ran through brick walls for the captain at times during the season.
Chops scored 1,000 runs for the second season in succession while Jeets has been a fantastic overseas player for us with 51 wickets. Even when he wasn't taking wickets he was holding up an end.
Jim got through a tough patch and scored two crucial hundreds while Tim Ambrose and Clarkey at six and seven got important runs too.
So much for not singling anyone out! I think Wrighty is my player of the season though. After being let go by Essex he has realised his potential since moving to Warwickshire.
I still think we can improve as a side. We were great in four-day cricket, our one-day stuff has come on as we showed by getting to the CB40 final, but we need to improve our Twenty20.
It's the 'one percenters' we can improve on. The little things that will make us a better side next year when we try and defend the title.
We want to dominate in all formats. You look at the Warwickshire team of the mid-90s that did the treble - can anyone do that again? I think this team is capable of challenging in all three competitions.
Even though the season has finished I was back at Edgbaston on Wednesday for some fitness testing and our end of season reception. It was nice to share the evening with the members, especially after winning the County Championship.
We have about six weeks off before we'll be back at Edgbaston preparing for next season.
Before I even think about getting back in the gym or bowling in the nets I'm going to have some time off which will include a well-deserved holiday.