I don't always agree with 'Anon' in his (or her) many guises, but I did to today, when such a post commented on Mark being 'really bored' with this season. How can you be, mate, ahead of a week where we have a chance to qualify for the RLODC quarter-finals?
I've not been bored by the season at all. Frustrated at the number of opportunities to win games that we have let slip, for sure, but correct decision-making in the heat of battle against a decent team is generally given to the experienced, rather than novice cricketer. At this stage of our development, we have too many of the latter in the side and, while they have performed very well on occasion, the naivety shows through on occasion.
Wes is fit, which we will all be thrilled about and the squad is pretty much what we would all have hoped for. If ever there was a time for Dilshan to show his best form, this is it. The squad:
It is hard to call the final line-up, though Graeme Welch may be inclined to go with depth of batting on a wicket that could help the seamers, as it so often does at The Riverside.
Their captain Mark Stoneman calls us a 'very good side', which I think we are at this format. They have pretty much a full squad to choose from, aside from their Ashes heroes, so we will need to be at our best to win on Monday. A win would put one foot into the quarter-finals and, depending on Northamptonshire's games this week, could take us through. They have a much inferior run rate than us and would need to win both of their games to pip us, assuming we lost to Worcestershire after beating Durham.
Lots of hypotheticals and no point worrying about them. We need to head up north and do the business, simple as that. If we do, the pressure is on someone else and that is a nice situation to be in.
In closing tonight, warm congratulations to the second eleven, who are in the Trophy semi-final against Surrey at Chesterfield, this week after winning all their games in the competition this season. It is the success of this side, as well as the excellent under-17s, that gives me belief that we are on the right path. It would be lovely to fast track experience, but it simply doesn't happen and we need to continue to nurture some strong talent in the younger age groups and await their time.
This was how the currently dominant Yorkshire side came through, with a strong academy system and a second team playing fearless, hard cricket. Their success should be celebrated and should give anyone who purports to be a supporter real grounds for optimism.
More on all this week's cricket, at all levels, in due course.
Enjoy your weekend!