It has taken a while since they first came out, but I have at last managed to finalise my holidays, work commitments, family stuff and book requirements in time to get some cricket matches in the annual schedule. Let's declare today a national holiday to celebrate...
I don't know how it is for you, but this year's fixture list isn't Peakfan-friendly. There's no home cricket in June and our family holiday is in August, so that's two months gone from the schedule immediately. Early April is usually only recommended if you enjoy extreme cold, while I have so many work and other commitments in May that it is largely out of the equation too.
But I have got there and my cricket commitments - also known as 'seeing how the folks are and what they need done' are now in three neat mini tours. There's a lot of mid-week games this year, the problem being that I then need to use three days leave for one day of cricket, which isn't particularly handy.
Funnily enough, my first game will be at Durham, weather permitting, on April 27, when we play them in an RLODC fixture. I have always fancied a trip to the Riverside, so this is it. After the game, I will drive south and pull in the home game in the same competition against Northamptonshire on Sunday the 30th, before driving back home on the Monday.
My next trip will then be at the start of July, when I will pull in at least the first two days of the Chesterfield Festival (memo to self: take wellingtons...) which has been in my plans for some while and marks the 50th anniversary of my first trip there quite nicely. I hope to meet up with old friends there and it would be wonderful to see my favourite ground bathed in sunshine for the duration (but without a monsoon preceding it, like last year).
Then I have the full match set aside in September for the last home game against Kent, which could - who knows - be quite an important one.
I have a couple of other 'windows' where I might manage something and, if we do well in the T20, I would aim to overlook my dislike of T20 to go along should we make the nigh-mythical Finals Day. I'd actually take group qualification as progress, but one lives in hope.
Of course I would love to see more, but as I have previously written, it is getting the balance right between life's many commitments, something I think I have done quite well. If the ECB another year would start more four-day cricket on a Saturday, my viewing prospects will improve dramatically.
In the past I have had quite a few emails from people who have said that they'd have come along for a chat and a drink had they known when I was coming down, so there it is, well in advance and I am always happy to have a natter as I wander around the ground!
Enjoy your weekends...