Broken hearts at the Rose Bowl

Posted in Domestic Cricket

Finishing second in the LV= County Championship on the final day of the season was a heartbreaking way to end the summer. We were so close to winning the championship but we could not get over the line.

At the start of the fourth day we were quietly confident of beating Hampshire but knew it wouldn't be easy. We'd taken 13 wickets the previous day so we were optimistic we could take the remaining seven before tea and chase down whatever target they had set us.

We were worried about the Rose Bowl wicket, which was probably the flattest we played on all season, so if we didn't get Michael Carberry and Neil McKenzie early then we could be in trouble.

Unfortunately, that's just as it panned out. They both scored hundreds and we took just four wickets all day.

We thought we had a chance when I got Carbs out lbw after lunch. The Hampshire tail is pretty long so if we could have got them five or six down then we might be able to bowl them out. It was a long shot, though.

We knew after tea that our fate had been sealed so we kept an eye on Taunton to see if Lancashire could beat Somerset. Fair play to them - they knocked off a challenging total to take the title.

We were gutted as we sat in the dressing room afterwards but that feeling wore off after a while. We sat around with a few beers, chatting and reminiscing about what had happened over the summer. We put some music on too. It didn't seem like the dressing room of the team that had just lost the championship. It was nice to spend some time with the lads.

Looking back, if you had offered me second at the start of the season I would have taken that. We won nine games - enough to have run away with the title in other years. Everyone did their best, especially on that final day when we gave everything.

Chris Woakes, Rikki Clarke & Michael Carberry

I thought we had a chance of winning on the fourth day when I got Carbs out lbw after lunch but we couldn't shift Neil McKenzie

We've always thought we were a good four-day side, we just hadn't ever put it all together. We can be confident next season, though. With a bit of tweaking we will look to go one step further.

I am really pleased with my own performances this season. I took 56 wickets at 21.78 and scored 579 runs at an average of 48. I think I have improved all aspects of my game so it's good to see those stats backing up the hard work I have put in. I also know my own body a bit better too. When I am bowling I know when to step it up a few gears and attack the batsmen.

I'm quite glad the season is over. It has been a long summer and I'm looking forward to putting my feet up. I am due to have a scan on my shins soon. They are as sore as they were in May so it looks like I will have a couple of months rest.

I'm not sure what the winter has in store. Hopefully I will be on a tour somewhere after Christmas, whether that's with England or the Lions, but before then I'm looking forward to a long rest.

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