To quote Bruce Springsteen, it's been a long time coming, but now it's here.
The season starts tomorrow (weather permitting) and Graeme Welch has named his first twelve of the summer as follows:
Wayne Madsen (captain)
It is a young-looking squad, with six of them having graduated through the club's ranks and Welch's assertion on the club site today that there are 'still places up for grabs' against Lancashire next week suggests that not too much should be read into the selection.
I'd see seven of the squad as likely to play next week, with the other positions still to be fought for. As I have said before, however, there is little point in trying to second-guess Welch this summer, as the team has nearly as many good players outside it as in it. The club will, as the coach says, aim to bat big, then bowl them out twice. With seven bowlers in the above squad, Wayne Madsen will have plenty of options in the field, even if he ignores his own useful off-spin and that of Martin Guptill, who once took 3-37 in a Test match against Pakistan.
They will take the opposition seriously, as you would expect, but if we can't handle a team like this, I'd be a little worried. Expect a focused display and plenty of claim-staking going on. One assumes that an opener or seam bowler will drop out on the day, but time will tell.
Postscript. I was double-checking that Guptill bowling performance on Google today and, having typed in 'Martin', his name came up before 'Freeman' (of the Hobbit) and 'Luther King Jr'.
To be fair, that's impressive company to precede...