Another cricket season draws to a close but what a season it has been! I joined Notts with my primary roles being that of assistant physiotherapist and spin bowling coach to the pro’s and the academy lads. I am also registered as a player, in case when we traveled away the pitch looked like it was going to spin.
Some teams often prepare spinning wickets against us, as we are predominantly a team bowling attack, which suits Trent Bridge. I traveled to the usual suspects, Taunton, Liverpool, Edgbaston and Northampton, but didn’t feature in any of them! I would generally stay for the first day, then get in my car and resume my normal duties with the second team and academy. I had almost resigned myself to the thought of never playing first class cricket when at the end of August I received a text from the director of cricket stating that I would be in a 14 man squad to face Durham at Chester-le-Street.
This came as a pleasant shock as the ground is historically known to be a fast bowler friendly pitch with not much spin. I certainly didn’t expect to play! Regardless of what I thought, the pitch was dry, we thought it would spin, so I played. I ended up with 4 wickets in the second innings, although unfortunately we lost the match.
The eventual champions Yorkshire were up next at Trent Bridge on yet another dry pitch to be televised live on Sky. I have always enjoyed the cameras and all the fuss that comes with the TV games. I wouldn’t say it makes you play any harder, but it certainly adds something to the game. I bowled 50 overs and managed to return a 5 wicket haul. Again, we lost the game and Yorkshire were crowned champions. For me, there was a great feeling of satisfaction with my performance and the pleasure that comes from proving to myself that I could still perform well at this level, even after so many months out of first class cricket. I’m sure my training practice, the well drilled routines I’ve developed over the years and the trust I’ve got in my bowling action had a great deal to do with how I performed on the day.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with the young spinners at Notts this season and it gives me great pleasure watching them develop.
Adam Tillcock, a slow left arm spinner like myself, was bowling medium pace a year ago. The progress he has made with his bowling action and his understanding of the game is exciting for him moving forward. His wicket count in the second team is testimony to his hard work.
Sam wood, an off spinner on the professional staff, has made great strides forward with his development and has secured a regular place in the first team in one day cricket. A little bit of hard work will see him challenging for a place in the red ball stuff next season.
There are numerous young spinners coming through the development teams and academy who I’m very much looking forward to working with.
The close season now sees me having some family time at home for a while before going out to work to build on my physiotherapy skills and gain some valuable experience ready for next season.
Oh, I’ll be doing lots of spin bowling coaching as well! My own preseason training will start after Christmas. Watch this space for news on how that is going!
Photo: County Championship, Division One, Nottinghamshire v Yorkshire, Day Two, Trent Bridge
Copyright: Simon Cooper/PA Wire
Picture Date: 10/09/2014