To be honest I have lost track on where we are with the season, but if you has asked me at any time over the last three years if I would be played, survived and contributed to three games in four days I would have offered you very long odds! But that is what has just happened so it seems a good time to reflect on the season so far.
Performance wise I have been really pleased with both my bowling and batting, although my batting needs more patience and once in I need to build an innings and I have regularly made significant contributions to the teams victories. Fielding is so much better than before and I am relaxed as to where I field. The body is holding up well with the main issue being the soreness in my knees during and after a game. This is a result of other parts of the body being used more and the strain this is putting on my knees, but the physio is confident the knees are fine and in time (maybe not this season) my body will get stronger and adapt!
Whilst I have not really established myself in the 60s I have played twice for the 1s and twice for the 2s and feel at home in both so that is a tick!
Tick also, in fact a big one, for the coaching and playing with the Unicorns which was not in the plan but is helping both my game and fitness whilst developing my coaching experience.
Have only played the one No Boundaries game but have some scheduled for August and September and have managed just a couple of guest appearances, but again have several more planned over the summer.
Factor in that I have found a club that means I can play on a Saturday at a proper ground and the season is going well, even though it had a slow start. Am really looking forward to the second half.
Church Eaton v Hem Heath
Another debut! Much earlier than I had anticipated as was planning on July 8th for first game, but they sorted my loan/registration (nobody seems to know which) so I was eligible to play for the 2nd team, and welcomed because they only had 10 players including me! No huge surprise that we lost, but we put up a good fight (initially) before a somewhat dramatic collapse which included a 12 ball 0 for me as batting at 7 with no batters to come it was boundary or nothing (we still needed 50 off runs) and I must have found a fielder with every shot before giving long off catching practice. I bowled a tidy 8 overs and no dramas in the field, but proved once again I need more patience with my batting.
Birmingham Unicorns v Lapworth
Local Derby this one in so much as the Unicorns use the Lapworth ground for their home games. Was a fundraising fun day so food stalls, games for the kids, and very irritating music playing all day which made it both hard to concentrate and hear what was being said.
We bowled and fielded well over all, but again let it slip during our middle overs. Was 30 over game so bowled my allowance of 6 overs at the end for not many runs, but 200 was always going to be a tough ask, especially as batters were retiring at 50.
Again, batted 7 and went in with plenty still needed. The only way we could win was for the last two recognised batters (myself and the batter already in) to get 50’s and hope that the rest could muster 20 odd. And I needed to get 50 quickly! Set about the task well and was 20 0dd off 12 or so balls before I pulled one off the bottom of my bat into the ground, sun back onto my pad and then onto the stumps.
Once again, got a start, found the boundaries but failed to kick on.
Birmingham Unicorns Coaching
Another really good session: am slowly adding to fielding drills to include previous weeks drills and to try and simulate match day experiences as this is a huge area of inexperience for many of the players.
I am really enjoying it, not least the fact that at the end the more experienced bowlers want to bowl at me, but most importantly the platers are enjoying it and getting better.
Staffordshire v Warwickshire
Promoted to the 1s – well OK they were a little short and the 59 year old ahead of me in the pecking order was unavailable but meant I got to play at Wedgwood which I enjoy, against table toppers Warwickshire who have a few players I know well from the Edgbaston Nets.
Best game of the season for me! Fielded well, mainly in the deep on the boundary where I ran and threw more than I had all season. Bowled a couple of not bad overs towards the end against two well established bowlers and a very short boundary and felt I contributed well to keeping them to 199.
Batted 6 and when I went in we still needed 50 and Dutts (ex England 50s) was batting. My role was clear: support him! Started well with 3 relatively quick boundaries which forced the field out and then (finally) played a patient knock with a LOT of 1s and 2s. Dutts got out and I managed to see us through to needing 9 off 3 overs before a very dodgy LBW saw me back in the pavillion.
We won and I was extremely satisfied with my efforts and welcomed the compliments from both my own side and the opposition. 25 off 33 balls with 3 4s at just the right tempo took pressure off Dutts and got us to the finishing line.
Main thing is I felt I belonged and that my batting showed patience and maturity. Given the age restrictions I don’t think I will play for the 1s again, but I feel I am good enough to do wo when required, and suspect that my focus over the winter will be getting fit enough and good enough to play for them as a middle order batter who can bowl when required.
Nets and Training
Took a break from nets and training this week as taking the weekend off (Woman’s T20 at Edgbaston on Saturday and with being away most of next week wanted a couple of quiet family days at home Sunday and Monday).
Have a coaching one2one booked for tonight with one of the players at Church Eaton who wants me to look at their bowling.