Letâ€™s go out there and enjoy it
With just a week to go to the season I am writing this piece from a bar in Heathrow Terminal 2, what a hectic to winter it has been! At the end of last year I couldnâ€™t wait for a nice quiet winterâ€¦ I guess I have G W Bush and a few American banks for the busiest six months of my life. All I can say is roll on the cricket season.
The first couple of friendlies have been very positive from a second team point of view. Mike Palmer scoring a hundred against Sawbridgeworth, Luke Owers bowling well in both games he has played and everybody else getting a decent run out. This season should be a highly enjoyable one for the 2â€™s, with all eyes placed on the first team and how they fair in the top league, players in the 2â€™s have a great opportunity to play with freedom and a smile on their faces.
New recruits in the first team are likely to improve availability and with Paul Martin and Olly â€œThe Clawâ€ Coughlan coming out of retirement things are looking very positive. The club also has a number of decent youngsters coming through and the likes of Adam Titmus, Alex Whitehouse and Tom Rowlands should all be knocking on the door and providing great back up.
On a batting front the team looks very strong, a full season of Mike Palmer should yield some serious runs, whilst Tom Pett will benefit greatly from opening with the clubs highest run scorer. Tom Coughlan will be keen to score some decent runs and press a first team case, whilst whoever drops down from the ones with strengthen a solid looking top order. The middle order is going to be a selection headache with Mark Taylor, Dave Pett, Sir Charles of Blackheath, Luke Owers and Paul Martin providing fireworks, which may need to be stabilised by the likes of Matt Evans and Olly Coughlan. From a team point of view it will be great to have competition for places and Ben Scas must be rubbings his hands together.
Looking at the bowlers, 2009 will hopefully be the season Sir Charles takes his indoor form outdoors and offers the pace and direction the team needs. Chris Boyce has been the 2â€™s best strike bowler for years, and hopefully football tours and holidays will not restrict his availability too much. I will also be hoping for a better season, having got some good overs under my legs in pre-season and depending on the availability of Mark Taylor I may be playing a more stock bowling role this season, knowing when to bowl yourself as captain is harder than I thought, but I think I am getting the hang of it now. If Mark does play the team will greatly benefit from his control and as last years player of the year he still has a lot to offer the club. Luke Owers looks very confident, having picked up the player of the year award in 2008, he struggled a bit last year, but I have a feeling this is going to be a very good year for him and I am expecting 40 plus wickets from the off spinner.
If there is a concern it is in the fielding. Age catches up with everybody and the younger players will be required to help out some of the heavier legs in the field. Most of all this season I want everybody to play cricket with a smile on their face, there is too much to worry about during the week to get up tight on a Saturday. I hope 2009 is a season where the not only the 2â€™s but the whole club can play with freedom and enjoy the cricket and the people they are playing with.