Ian Bell and Adam Hose star in final Vitality Blast preparations
Birmingham Bears preparations are now complete after splitting a Second XI T20 double header against Northants at Wantage Road.
With just two days until the Bears opener against Notts Outlaws, Grant Elliott’s side, which included a strong squad of 15 players, took on a recognisable Steelback’s team in a match that wouldn’t look out of place when the campaign begins.
It’s definitely good to get a little bit of rust out of the system and try to continue from where we were last year.Grant Elliott
Adam Hose was the bright spot in the opening match as he fired 80 off 53 (10 4s, 3 6s) with wickets falling the other end.
Captained by Elliott, the visitors made 146/5 in the allotted 20 overs, but the hosts knocked off the 147 total in 16.3 overs courtesy of a 58 contribution by Josh Cobb.
Changes were made for the second fixture with some rotation and others forced. Second XI rules stipulate that only one oversees players can play, so Jeetan Patel dropped out for Colin de Grandhomme leaving Dom Sibley as captain.
Ian Bell, Ryan Sidebottom and Calvin Dickinson (wk) also came in Elliott, Boyd Rankin and Tim Ambrose.
Northants started brightly with the bat and set a strong target of 185 to win, but Ian Bell led the Bears superbly.
Bell, who came in at 33/1, struck a superb 98 not out off 49 balls (15 4s, 3 6s) with honourable assistance from Sibley (21) and Will Rhodes (31*).
“It’s definitely good to get a little bit of rust out of the system and try to continue from where we were last year,” said Elliott.
“It was good to just look at the different players in different combinations. We’ve got a lot of guys that can bowl and it’s looking at those partnerships, because I think our batting probably looks quite settled.
“It was obviously an exciting year, everyone seemed to enjoy the comp and we want to build on that.
“We’ve got a really nice team with a mix of youth and experience so it’s nice to watch those youthful players come through and have that no fear cricket.”
Match One: Pollock, Sibley, Hose, Elliott (C), Rhodes, Thomson, Ambrose (wk), Patel, Rankin, Poysden, Hannon-Dalby
Match Two: Pollock, Sibley (C), Bell, Rhodes, Hose, Thomson, Dickinson (wk), de Grandhomme, Sidebottom, Poysden, Hannon-Dalby