Falcon with one eye on Unicorns
Posted in Domestic Cricket
County teams up and down the country are now back into full swing with the 2011 season.
There have been plenty of exciting results in the LV= County Championship and some surprising ones already too. But this weekend provides the first glimpse of the teams' coloured kits as the domestic one-day season commences.
With so much talk of Twenty20 globally, it would be easy to discard the importance of the longer one-day format. But the recent World Cup has shown that this form is far from dead; it's thriving.
Clydesdale Bank and the ECB will be hoping for that to be the case too with continued good weather, good crowds, high levels of excitement but above all else high-quality cricket.
After three rounds of championship matches coaches, counties and players will no doubt be welcoming the start of the CB40.
It'll provide some with a rest yet others an opportunity to play and perform. The one-day specialists will be desperate to parade their new tricks, deliveries and shots to entertain one and all. And every supporter will be dreaming of that final at Lord’s in September.
It's also a chance to welcome into the season three teams that played in last year's competition: the Netherlands, Scotland and the Unicorns.
Derbyshire are hosting the Netherlands today as we hope to get our one-day season off to a positive start. But I will be keeping an eye out on the Unicorns scores again this season as a year ago I was part of the Unicorns team when things personally were very different.
After losing my contract with Somerset I sought the Unicorns as a way of getting back into the county game. I trialled and trained with them like many others hoping to be in the final side that played in the CB40. I was desperate to play and do well as I knew I still had lots to offer and some points to prove.
The inclusion of the Unicorns is a much debated topic and, though the critics believe as professionals we don't deserve a second chance, it has provided the platform for university students, club cricketers and Minor Counties players to showcase their skills too.
They were a new side made up of players without a full county contract and the competition for places was tough, but also the expectation of the side was limited as opposing teams saw us as the whipping boys in the competition.
Our aim was to be competitive and to cause as many upsets as we could against the full-time counties. Winning three games against Glamorgan, Sussex and Worcestershire - but importantly not finishing bottom of our group - represented a good first season.
Knowing the set-up and the people involved, they'll be more ambitious this summer and will be hoping to improve on that this year. I wish them all the best and hope that other players can benefit as I have from the Unicorns.