A winning start

Posted in Domestic Cricket

Beating Northamptonshire in our first match was a perfect start to the season for us and Matthew Hoggard, our new captain.

After being put into bat on a sporting wicket we wanted to get off to a good start but it didn't go to plan and I came in at 25 for two.

We were in a tricky position so I had to get my head down and survive. Last season I tried to bat for long periods of time and I had to do the same this time. I knew I had to get through the next ten or 15 overs to take us through to lunch. After that it would be easier to bat.

I ended up getting 88 but didn't feel at my best. It was a wicket where you never felt in. It was disappointing to get so close to a hundred but I played a rash shot and played on trying to drive a ball that wasn't there. The important thing though was to help the side get a competitive total.

We ended up with 395 which we knew was a good score. It was then a case of putting the ball in the right place and we got two early wickets.

Claude Henderson took 6-21 from 20 overs as we made them follow on. Claude was quality. He just did what he always does, bowling straight, building up pressure and forcing the batsmen into mistakes. The ball didn't really spin either.

We bowled them out again and were set 60-odd to win. That's always a nasty little total to chase and we lost four wickets before Josh Cobb and Tom New saw us home.

What is really encouraging for us is that we won comfortably without playing our best cricket. There were some good individual performances but we know we can play better.

It was good that Hoggy started his captaincy with a win. He has brought a lot of energy since arriving. He's always buzzing and keeping you on your toes with his banter. It's good being able to tap into his experience from his time as an international cricketer. Our young seamers, Nathan Buck and Wayne White, will learn a lot from him.

James Taylor

An innings of 88 helped Leicestershire recover from losing two early wickets to beat Northamptonshire

Our aim is to get promotion this season. We have a really good balance to the side with some youngers players mixed in with some more experienced players, like Will Jefferson who joined this season and Paul Nixon who batted at three against Northampton.

Our overseas player, Andrew McDonald, joins in a couple of weeks once the IPL has finished. That will be a massive boost for us. He's a genuine all-rounder and will be with us the whole season. We also have Brad Hodge for the Friends Provident t20.

From a personal point of view I am looking at my efforts last season as a benchmark. If I can better that then great and I will be working hard in the nets to do that.

We have our second championship match of the season at Derby on Thursday. They had a good win against Surrey but we are confident of beating them.

We are supposed to be on deck at 9.30am tomorrow so I will probably get up at 7.15am, have some breakfast then head off at 8am. Most of the lads share lifts but I don't live that close to anyone so I will drive there on my own.

Being so close to home we won't stay over. It means my mum will do my washing every night which is handy.

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