It’s been a busy few weeks since I last blogged and one that has seen some real highs and lows.
I first of all have to thank both Karen and Ian Leach for having helped rattle the Benefit buckets for me and some of you may have seen them around the ground.
They deserve special mention for the work they have done helping collect money for my Benefit Year, of which I am extremely proud to be the Beneficiary in 2012 and I’d also like to thank those of you that have been kind enough to put some money in the buckets when they’ve come around.
I’d also like to thank the Academy lads that have done the same and thanks to Simon Willis for arranging for them to do it. But I must say, I was disheartened to hear that one of these young cricketers, who want to come and play for Kent, was abused by someone for asking if they wanted to donate money.
These guys are the future of Kent County Cricket Club and I wouldn’t want their judgements of our great club to be clouded by one person who felt the need to be abusive.
As for the cricket, we’re all disappointed to have been knocked out of the Twenty 20 Cup. If we look back to the away fixture at Essex, the way that came finished off, we feel we should have won there and then the Hampshire game at Canterbury was another where we could have won. Maxwell came in and whacked it, so it was another game we managed to lose.
It was one of those campaigns where we were almost there. We could have gone through, but put in poor performances at the wrong time.
There were some positives to take though and the two Sam’s (Billings and Northeast) played well and that bodes well for the future of the club.
Ultimately, we wanted to get a home Quarter Final, but you have to get through the group to start with and that was a real shame.
We ended the campaign with a good win at Uxbridge and that showed what could have been, playing the way we did. To finish on a win was good for us leading into the rest of the season.
Last week saw Treddy get his chance and play for England. He’s been carted around the world without getting too much opportunity, so it was good for him to be able to show what he is capable of as that’s how they make decisions on you.
He proved that he can perform at that level and I know he was really happy with his performance. It was good for him and he has done himself if Swanny gets injured during the Test matches and they’re confident he would come in and do well.
The T20 World Cup is also coming up, so he’s done his chances no harm at all.
I took this last game against South Africa off to have a rest, but I have spent some good time in the gym and done some good training in the nets in preparation for the rest of the season.
We’re doing well in the Championship and a big thing for Kent would be to get into that top Division.
Having a break has also given me the chance to catch up on family life. My dad was over from Australia for his choir visit, so it was nice to catch up with him and I’ve also had another birthday, so it was good to be around the family then.
Jen and I took the kids to the Kent Show too, which was unbelievably wet and we took it in turns to push the pushchair around in about a foot of mud, so that turned out to be a great training session!
Rhys and Tom liked looking at all the cows and the rest of the animals as they love that sort of thing. It was just a shame there wasn’t as many people there as the weather played such a role in proceedings.
As for the South Africa game, it was good for some of the younger guys to get a chance against international opposition. I remember my time as a younger player, you want to be tested against some of these guys and it shows whether you have the belief to play at that level.
It was a bit of a dead wicket from what I understand with Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel’s pace and bounce taken out of the equation and it didn’t really give the guys a realistic taste of what you’re likely to face in Test match cricket.
Last week saw two significant retirements from the game. The first was the shocking news about Mark Boucher who was forced to retire after getting a bail flick up into his eye. It was a desperate shame for it to finish that way for him. He’s been around for so long and he’ll go down as one of the keeping greats.
I am just hoping his eye will be ok and that he gets his full vision back. I was lucky enough to play against him, he was a tough character and I think that always came across on TV.
They will need to find someone to fill his shoes and de Villiers will probably keep for the Test series, but they will need to decide whether it will affect his batting too much in the long run.
We also heard the news that Brett Lee will be retiring. I have played against Brett since I was about eighteen or nineteen. He was always marked for stardom and was the leading fast bowler around the world for a number of years.
He’ll probably still play domestic Twenty 20 and in the IPL, but he will be missed in the international arena as he was a nice guy both on and off the field.
Coming up, the series between England and South Africa could be mouth watering. The contest between ball and bat could be crucial with about seven of the top fourteen bowlers in the world on show.
Hopefully, the wickets will have a bit of pace in them as both sides will enjoy that and it generally leads to plenty of runs too. It’s a shame it is only three Tests and not four of five though.
For us, we have a trip to Arundel on Monday for a CB40 game against Sussex Sharks, although the forecast doesn’t look so great.
Coming off Twenty 20, it should be quite easy to switch on to 40 over cricket, but once that game is out of the way, we need to switch our attention back to the visit of Glamorgan to Canterbury on Thursday for the County Championship game.
It’s always a bit odd having played so much Twenty 20 cricket to have to stand out there for ninety overs and it’s always a shock to the system.
I’m looking forward to it though as I’ve had a good break and I’m recharged to have a great end to the season. I’ve had a good start to the season and I want to finish it well.
Geraint Jones writes a regular blog for Kent Sports News