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Sun on the horizon but not at Villa

Posted in Domestic Cricket

When I tell people that I'm going on a pre-season tour to Barbados with Warwickshire they ask if I'll be sipping cocktails on the beach. If only.

It will be hard work. I fully expect us to be put through our paces. We will be able to train outside and that is massively important. Spending the whole winter hitting balls from the machine or bowling in the nets can be quite tedious.

We have some games out there too so it will be good to get back into that competitive environment. Also, if you win those matches then it builds confidence before the new season.

The lads have trained hard for eight weeks so it was nice to get this week off. We had to earn it though - last week was pretty intense. It'll be the same next week when we are back at Edgbaston before heading to Barbados.

I'm feeling pretty good at the moment. My shins, which caused me problems last year, seem to be fine after the rest I had before Christmas. I'm looking forward to the season starting.

Having this week off meant I got the chance to do those boring jobs, like paying bills, but I did manage to get a round of golf in yesterday. I try and play as often as I can but I rarely get the time once the season starts. I play off 16 but I reckon I could get it lower.

Belly (Ian Bell) and I recently took on the London lads - Clarkey (Rikki Clarke) and Laurie Evans.

Clarkey said he had only played twice in the last year so we let him play off 24. It took two holes before he started smoking them 300 yards down the fairway. He's a bandit. Laurie is a top player and carded a four-over-par. Belly and I were hustled massively.

Rikki Clarke & Chris Woakes

Belly and I were hustled by Clarkey and Laurie Evans when we played golf recently. Clarkey convinced us he played off 24 but was soon smashing 300-yard drives

I watched the England football game on Wednesday night. I'm a massive football fan but I don't normally get interested in England matches unless it's a big tournament. I watched the Holland game though and thought we played okay. I don't know if Stuart Pearce is the right man for the job full-time though.

I don't know what it is with our players. They always look totally different to how they perform for their clubs.

I'm a big Villa fan and things are pretty bad there at the moment. It is worrying times. The football we are playing is so boring and negative. Alex McLeish is always going to get stick coming from the other side of the city but I'm not sure a different manager would be able to change it.

We are at Blackburn this week. That's a massive game. If we lose then it could be disastrous. We won't have Darren Bent either which is a stinker. He's capable of scoring the goals that might drag us out of trouble.

I've always been a Villa supporter. My dad is too and he blooded me from an early age. I had a season ticket which I had to give up once cricket became serious.

Normally I see Villa once or twice a season but this year I have been seven times. I think I have seen them win once. Perhaps I should stop going.