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Wondering what might have been

Posted in Domestic Cricket

Playing in the Champions League was a brilliant experience. From winning our first game a day after getting off the plane in India to losing out in the semi-finals, it was an amazing thing to be involved in.

Looking back, I have mixed emotions. We did not expect to get that far, especially after such a long summer, but it was hard to take knowing we could have beaten Mumbai Indians in that semi. If we had made the final then who knows?

At the start of the competition we thought we could get into the group stages, even without Tres, Kiesy and Jos Buttler. We went into every game as underdogs, which was a nice position for us to be in. Normally we seem to be favourites when we play in England.

We won our first three games, including beating Kolkata Knight Riders twice. It was at that point we thought we could win the competition, especially as we had Kiesy and Jos coming back.

We thought the IPL teams were beatable. Sure, they are packed with star players, but we felt we could match anyone with our team spirit.

Our final group game against the Warriors was essentially a quarter-final. They looked really strong at the start of the competition but we played really well to beat them.

That meant we had a semi-final against Mumbai Indians, which was the biggest game I have played in. They have some quality players with vast international experience but we were confident. The atmosphere was unbelievable. It is the closest thing to being an international cricketer I have experienced.

James Hildreth

I loved playing in the Champions League - the atmosphere when you played against one of the IPL franchises was just incredible

It was a totally different experience to playing in England with all the Bollywood glitz and glamour. There must have been between 20-30,000 fans there all supporting Mumbai. They would scream like nothing I have heard when Mumbai got a single but then you'd hear a pin drop if we got a wicket or hit a boundary.

They batted first and made 160, which we thought was gettable. We let them get away at the end of their innings, which would cost us later on.

When Kiesy and I got us to 100 for two I thought the game was there for the taking. The run-rate wasn't getting too high and we still had Jos to come in. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Lasith Malinga bowled brilliantly at the death and, despite being on course for 95% of our chase, we lost by 10 runs.

Looking back, we were really proud with our efforts. No-one expected us to win so to get that far was a real achievement. We felt like we were flying the flag for Somerset and England. It was our chance to show there are some good players in English domestic cricket.

We landed back in England late on Sunday night. I'm still struggling a bit with the time difference and keep waking up early but I don't have much to do at the moment so that's fine.

It's great to be home. The last year has been pretty hectic. I have played non-stop for 12 months with the England Lions and EPP tours so I'm looking forward to relaxing a bit.

Roelof van der Merwe

We struggled against Lasith Malinga in our semi-final against Mumbai Indians - he took four wickets as we fell short by 10 runs

It's wedding season for cricketers and I have a couple to go to - Neil Edwards and Mark Turner. Mark's wedding is in Cyprus so I'll go out there for a week. I can't stay out of the gym for too long, though.

Somerset have done well again this summer. We've won a lot more than we've lost and competed in all three competitions.

Having said that, we've not won a trophy again and that's something we have to address before next season. We must be doing something right to keep reaching these finals but why haven't we won one? What's going wrong in our performances when we reach a final?

From a personal point of view, I think I have done okay. I was pleased to contribute to Somerset reaching the FLt20 finals day and the CB40 final, but I would have liked to have scored some more runs. It was always going to be difficult to match last season and I'll be working hard on my game over the winter.

I'll be putting my bat away for a while, but it isn't long until we meet up for pre-season training on November 14.

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