Now that the cricket season is over, I’m as busy as ever with plenty of things going on in my life.
However, since I last blogged, the season finished with the disappointment of the game down in Cardiff. It wasn’t a great finish at all and looking back I think the game against Derbyshire had taken a lot out of our bowlers and I don’t think they had an awful lot left in the tank.
It was just a bad time not to put in one of our better performances, but on the whole the season was a positive one. If we turn back the clock twelve months, this season has been a massive success.
Everyone is in a good frame of mind ahead of next season and we have to look back at this season as being one where we went so close to doing some really good things.
The positivity around the place comes from bringing in the experienced bowlers and keeping them fit all year. That made an incredible difference and it showed with Mark Davies being named Player of the Year. The impact he had with Charlie Shreck was incredible and what they did with the new ball was great too.
To add to that, Jimmy Adams’ philosophy on coaching and playing the game was great. The way he wanted us to play the game rubbed off on us and I think with the addition of the likes of Mike Powell and Brendan Nash has made us a better side.
We’ve now got a settled side going into next year and hopefully we have learnt some things which will help us improve.
It’s never nice to see guys go and this winter we have said goodbye to Azhar Mahmood, Simon Cook and Chris Piesley.
Cookie is a top man and has been a great friend to a lot of us. If we look back, we could have used him a lot better this summer to give guys a rest at vital times and he could have possibly played more of a role in One Day cricket like he has in previous years.
With him and Azhar gone, I feel we need to build our stocks in the bowling department. I think batting wise, we have got some young guys who we can bring in. The good news, like a lot of the other guys, I have committed by future to the club for another two years. There are still a few things to sort out for the second year, but it’s good to have it all resolved and for me to be playing with the club for years to come.
I’ve always said I want to see out my career with Kent and I’d love to keep playing way beyond the next few years as long as my body allows it!
I know there is pressure from Sam Billings as he is a young guy having success coming through, but the way I have played this year I have shown what I am capable of. Fitness hasn’t been an issue in my career so far, and that’s not something I intend to let slip this winter either.
It’s been a really pleasing year for me on the field, although I was disappointed that I didn’t convert one of my chances into a hundred.
That was probably a bit circumstantial batting at number seven and batting with the tail, but my form in One Day cricket was good and I put in some good knocks there.
When I look back, the partnerships I had were some really crucial ones. The one at Northampton earlier in the year with Mike Powell and then with Stevo against Essex when we were in a load of trouble spring to mind.
It was also pleasing to be with Sam Billings when he got his One Day hundred and with Nashy when he scored his ton against Northamptonshire.
This year also saw me bring up the milestone of my 100th consecutive County Championship game, so I guess I have been doing something right over the past however many years!
Being my Benefit Year has seen me being pretty busy too, although I made sure we scheduled most things away from the season itself so I could concentrate on my game.
We have had my golf day in the last few weeks, which went really well and although the weather got the better of us at Gravesend, it was good to see so many people turn out for a really nice meal.
The people in the marquee had a great time and showed some great support for both myself and Gravesend Cricket Club. From previous days like that they have been able to redo their nets and buy rollers, so it was good to be part of an event that not only benefits me, but the club as well.
On Friday I had my latest Benefit dinner, this one being at the House of Commons and special thanks has to go to Roger Easterby, Claude Duval and Richard Caborn for putting on such a great evening.
It’s so nice to be able to be part of these evenings, although missing the last train back to Canterbury proved to be a slight problem!
Being away from playing cricket for Kent, I thought I’d keep my hand in and turned out for Ash the other week and scored my one century of the year. It was really enjoyable playing with the Ash boys – especially Gary Laslett and his boys Ed and George.
The first five wickets were taken by a 14, 12 and an eleven year old, whilst Danny Laslett chipped in with a couple of wickets, even though he missed out on getting a bat.
I’ve also had the call up to play hockey again and at the weekend I played for Canterbury Griffin, scoring the late equaliser with a reverse stick slap from about five yards out that nearly broke the net with so much power!!!!
Next weekend I am up to watch Michael Vaughan in Strictly Come Dancing as Jen got us some tickets, so we are going to go and support my old skipper.
There’s not much chance of me being on the dancefloor, but I’m more than happy to cheer him on.
Until my next blog – keep dancing!
Geraint Jones write a regular blog for KSN
Photo: Sarah Ansell