Coach’s Corner – 12 April

Tuesday 12th April 2011

Having waited until the 31st May for the first one last year, to get off the mark by the 11th April is a decent feeling. I have enjoyed the last four days at Chelmsford and have enjoyed the way our lads worked hard for the right result, but there would have been some concerns going into this morning, although I think we knew that we would rather be in our position that theirs overnight on Sunday night.

The most pleasing thing about the win was the fact that just about everybody made a contribution to the win, all the batters looked in good touch and each bowler had at least one very good spell. The catching was excellent, and with Martin, Tred, Blakey and Stevo all taking very good slip catches. It would be hard to pick the best one, Jarres to claim Ravi in the first innings was very impressive, Blakeys to catch Topley was special and Darrens to catch Tim Phillips was top class.

Sam Northeast scoring a hundred in the first innings was a very special innings, he showed real maturity and played with real confidence. It was a very pleasing moment for us all when he reached the hundred, and he has worked hard over the winter and it will give him so much confidence to take into the early part of the season. Darren cannot be kept out of the game, he played with a very sore ankle, and with his batting and catching is never out of the game. That’s not to mention his Mc Grath like spell on the first evening, he is a key player for us. Robbie has started so well, it must have been very tough for him over the last two years, he has spent a lot of time on his own over that period, doing all that he can to get back to playing cricket. I have always maintained that he was desperate to be back playing, and I know some members have dismissed him as a soft lad who is happy not to be playing, well that isn’t and never will be the case.

Nimmo Reid our physio has spent a lot of time with Robbie and deserves a massive thank you for his work, not only getting some of the lads on the field but also acting as the players confidant whilst treating them. The physio in any cricket team plays a huge part, he might just be seen by members and spectators when there is an injury, or refereeing the football in the morning, but I can assure you he spends hours treating players, but just as importantly he spends hours chatting to players and helping them to stay mentally strong, and that isn’t always an easy job!! I just wish he knew were the kettle was, but I suppose you can`t have everything can you!!

One thing I would like to clear up is the signing of Charlie Shreck on loan from Notts for the first month of the season. At the AGM last week I said we only had one bowler injured, well that wasn’t entirely accurate, and I wasn’t trying to pull the wool over the members eyes, I was just a little reluctant to share our bowling concerns at that stage. I met with Rob on Thursday morning, prior to the team meeting for the Essex game, and we discussed the fact that Azhar wasn’t fit, Matt was struggling to be ready, Nella not ready for a month, Ash Shaw still working back to fitness after his operation. It meant our bowling options had come down to Cookie, Stevo, Robbie and Neil Saker who we have registered just in case.

The feeling was that we would lack a little experience, and also with Stevo struggling with his ankle, we would find it a little tougher than we would have liked. I had spoken to Mick Newell during that winter about possible loan bowlers, and he said he would help if possible. I rang Mick at Trent Bridge to see what he could offer, and Charlie was the one offered. It then needed the backing of the Graham Johnson, he gave it the green light as did Jamie Clifford. I then left Jamie and his opposite number at Notts to sort out the finances. The deal was completed by about 2pm in the afternoon, all that was left was to give Shrecky the hotel details and tell him I would see him in a few hours at Chelmsford.

Ideally we would liked to have gone with our young bowlers, but with them either injured or at school, we felt we needed to add to our resources to get us over the first month. Charlie is a quality bowler and a really good lad, he fitted in well with our boys and I really think we will see him do very well for us over the next month. It wasn’t his turn for wickets in this last game, but they will come and we will benefit.

The good news from Wilco is that Colesy bowled well today in the nets at Canterbury and should be fit for Thursday at Northampton, we may need a selection meeting before the game!!

The one final is thing is to enjoy the first win, but also realize it is only one game and we have a long season in front of us and a lot of hard work to come, but it`s nice to get off to a winning start.

Best wishes,