Having first been asked to write this blog a couple of weeks ago, as we trudged through muddy puddles in the monsoon-like conditions at the Nevill Ground in Tunbridge Wells, many would think I’d have completed this by now! Truth is, this year so far has proved to be without doubt, the busiest of my short professional career to date…
Kent hasn’t been my home for the duration of the offseason… Instead it saw me slaving away in Cardiff, struggling through lengthy 8am lectures, falling asleep in 9am seminars and the worse of all the uncomfortable one-on-ones with my unimpressed teacher to discuss what “exactly” I had learnt… (Never good when you’re lacking many a fact!) Having been shepherded through six months of ‘class’ by my university mates, dragged to other appointments by my tutors, it became annoyingly apparent that a ‘first’ in my chosen degree (Sports Management) wasn’t ‘exactly’ on the doorstep!
Disappointing Kent’s Welsh representative Mike Powell, who had confidently assured me of Cardiff’s sublime greatness, I still chose to leave university, it just wasn’t for me. On reflection, I had no regrets and I ended up using it solely to train hard on my cricket, polishing up areas of my game that required it at the well-known Sophia Gardens with the Cardiff MCCU. The exciting part of the summer for the students occurred very early in the calendar year.
The MCC affiliated universities are drawn two first class matches a season and this prospect was very exciting for me! The student-side in Cardiff were drawn against two counties that in honesty I really hadn’t expected… As I read whom we’d be facing my jaw dropped. WE were to face the Welsh club Glamorgan and our very own Kent in 3 day encounters! Weirdly, the only two counties my father represented in his long career… Both would be labelled first class games, and it supplied me with my First Class Debut in Wales during April this year. Three days later I had walked away with 62 in the second innings and could only hope that the form would continue as the side jetted down the M4 to face Kent in the second leg of our ‘first class’ experience. Having bowled twenty overs of the first day at my mate and the consistently brilliant Daniel Bell-Drummond, who obviously knows every tweak in my armour, the ball had admittedly taken a battering! By the end of Kent’s innings the students were all exhausted as we consistently witnessed the ball race like a tracer bullet through the infield, as he notched his maiden first class century in fine style. Now, it was our turn to bat, and the challenge of facing the new ball against the stalwarts Shreck and Davies excited me and by stumps of day 1 I had managed to survive the late onslaught, finishing 23 not out. It was a surreal 45 minutes playing against my team-mates, and I wasn’t short of a bit of stick!
That was it for Cardiff MCCU as the heavens opened proving day two and three to be wash-outs… I’d never been ‘not out’ for 48 hours before!
After re-joining the Kent boys three weeks later, I began my county season with the Second Eleven versus Hampshire down at the Ageas Bowl. The rain again intervened for most of the week, however on the last day of the Championship match we got some play. Having seen DBD reach his hundred in the one day game earlier in the week, my aim was to replicate him and trickling across the line late on Day 3 securing my own hundred was a step in the right direction and I’d believed it was the start of hopefuly a great summer!
Getting the call to do Twelth Man for the First Team for the first time of 2013 saw my season debut during the warm-up football matches! Considering these matches are taken nearly as seriously as the cricket it’s never good being the weak link in your side… Phil (Spurs) Relf had assured me I had improved over the winter as supposedly I’d learnt the “art of control,” always nice to know you can stop the ball! However in reality I’d learnt where to hide! Though, very occasionally I’d spring to life securing the finishing touches of Rob Key’s famous back flick or sliding in to stop Sam (refuse to pass) Billings in his tracks…
With so much of the season still to go, and with many fixtures left to play, it’s vitally important that as a squad, we remain optimistic at this point of the summer in order rectify our current position in the Championship. With t20 matches only days away now, no doubt this summer will prove to be not only exciting for everyone but hopefully a very positive few months for Kent CCC!
Here’s to a revealing few months!