Lord of the manor
Posted in Domestic Cricket
Beating Middlesex at Lord's was just what we needed after two defeats in the LV= County Championship. It was a fantastic victory.
I love the whole experience of playing at Lord's - the food is awesome, the dressing rooms are amazing and the practice facilities are different class. Walking down the steps in the pavilion and out onto the field gives you goose bumps. The grass is always cut immaculately. Whether it is empty or full it has a unique feeling that you can't explain.
If you can't get excited about playing there then you might as well give up. It's just the most amazing place to play cricket and fortunately for us we played well.
Hamish Marshall batted really well as we scored 268 in our first innings. I love watching him bat when he is really positive. We probably let them off the hook though and having been 170 for three should have scored 300 to 350.
I was really impressed with Denty too. He has a really good technique - his defence is as tight as his mouth. Hopefully he will turn the volume up and say something soon.
We finished the first day really well with ending on Middlesex 70 for four. This really set us up well for day two. Seeing the back of Andrew Strauss and Owais Shah was really pleasing as they are two of the best players in the country. As a player you want to put yourself up against top players like that and see who can get the better of that challenge.
On a personal note I took four wickets in the innings and seven in the game. I can feel my rhythm is coming back slowly and I'm just pleased to be doing a job for the team.
The bowling unit is performing well. We have bowled out our three opponents in the championship out twice so far and have some excellent bowlers, like Anthony Ireland, waiting in the wings which is putting some great healthy competition for places, hence there is no time for complacency.
Everyone has contributed but Gemaal Hussain has been the best bowler so far. I have been so impressed with him. He is about 6ft 5ins and swings the ball late - that's a dangerous combination. He works really hard on his action and is a great listener. He has taken 22 wickets in three championship games and deserves his success. He has a great future ahead of him. Keep an eye out for him.
Off the field he's a gentle giant. He's a great lad with some seriously big feet - feet which can only be described as hulk feet. He gets some stick for them but he gives it back too.
Lewy bowled really well at Lord's. He was picking up his knees and sprinting in like a 22 year old spring chicken. If he keeps bowling like he is I'm sure he will get his rewards soon.
He also shared a very significant batting partnership with Chris Taylor in the second innings, which proved to be arguably a real turning point in the game. Lewy scored a very belligerent 42 and dare I say it he is turning into a cheeky all-rounder. No, I didn't say that.
Getting our first win was important as we have found it difficult in the championship. The Tiflex balls have swung considerably in our first two matches at Bristol and we have been caught with our pants down, losing both games.
Having been bowled out for low scores against Northamptonshire and Sussex, we were always going to find it difficult however well we bowled or fielded.
Our technique against the swinging ball has been all wrong and that includes me. I have learnt something and that's to put the hook shot away. Capability and ambition's have been getting somewhat mixed up.
The new ruling that you can't use the heavy roller once the match has started has made it harder for batting. It means that any indentations won't get rolled out, so this means the pitches at Bristol are now getting harder and harder to bat on in the third and fourth innings. That is not how traditionally our wickets have played, they have got better as the game as gone on in the past.
We have some quality batsmen though and it won't be long until they fire, as James Franklin did in our Clydesdale Bank 40 win last Sunday over Derbyshire, and as Marshy and Chris Taylor showed in our last match at Lord's.
We had a fantastic win over Derbyshire. It was just what we needed to give everyone a boost. Frankie scored a match-winning hundred and all our batsmen will feed off that. He paced his innings brilliantly, especially after we lost some early wickets.
He's an excellent batsman who seems to have lots of time. With his bowling he brings a great balance to our side. It's just a pity about his taste in music when he's in charge of the team iPod, but we are working on him there.
We don't have another game until Tuesday when we are back in London to play Surrey at the Oval. That's another big game for us and a different wicket to bowl on. It always has good carry but you have to be disciplined. Our batsmen will enjoy batting there though.
Until then I am going to have a rest and spend some time with my kids which will no doubt involve sky high jumping on the trampoline and playing cricket in the back garden. Bring it on kids.