Seamers Che Simmons and Michael Rae have reflected on their wicket-taking debuts for Warwickshire – but admitted defeat at Essex took the shine off their first senior stars for the Club.

Barbados-born Simmons – who’s developed in the Club’s Academy since signing as a 17-year-old in 2021 – and Kiwi quick Rae both took five wickets apiece at Chelmsford.

Simmons enjoyed an exhilarating opening spell in which he took three wickets in six overs, including two in two balls, and conceded only 10 runs.

“I’d take that debut any day,” said the 20-year-old. “But it’s also a team sport. So, walking away with the win, that would have been the perfect result for me.

“Running in for that first delivery, all I was thinking was land it on the strip. I thought if it lands on the strip, it’ll be all right for the rest of the day. It did, so I was pleased.  

“I wasn’t that nervous. I’ve been doing alright in the Second XI so I thought if I could replicate that it would be a good day. And I had a chance of a hattrick. I got carried away and bowled a nice, floaty one. I let him off!

“I’m one of the senior members of the Seconds but I’m like a puppy around these boys. But, everyone is so supportive. I got a lot leaders, a lot of thinkers, so it’s very easy to perform at your best in this kind of environment.

“You try and soak it all up because you got Michael, Rushy, OHD, lots of experience on tap to help you out. Any chance I can get to tap into their brains and pick some knowledge, I always do. I’m so thankful to them.”

Rae signed a short-term deal with Warwickshire last week to add more firepower to a Bears bowling attack that’s lost six senior seamers in recent weeks, Pakistan pace bowler Aamir Jamal (back)  and Craig Mile(ankle) were the latest to be sidelined with injury.  

The right arm quick – who’s now taken 159 wickets in 55 First Class appearances – savoured his first experience of English professional cricket.

“From a personal perspective, taking wickets is nice,” said Rae, “but like Che says, having that win would have made the debut particularly special. It just wasn’t to be.

“I’ve played a lot of First Class cricket in New Zealand. I think the biggest difference here is probably the ground and the crowds we’re playing at.

“There wouldn’t be many grounds at all in New Zealand, where you’d have this many people coming in to watch (close to 2,000 on Day One at Chelmsford) a First Class game. It adds to a completely different but really, really cool, exciting experience.

“Che dd great. I was running in breaking my back trying to bowl bouncers. The first one he’s flown through and almost blown a helmet off at the end! So maybe he needs to be teaching me how to run in and whack the wicket.

“In my career I’ve had two years taken away from me through injury. So, any opportunity I have to play, whether it’s First Class cricket or club cricket, my mantra is to enjoy it and give it your best shot.

“So yeah, keep taking each day at a time and, should things turn out well and I get the chance to play at Lancashire then that’d be great.”

Four Teams. Two Matches. Blast Off is back!

Vitality Blast Off is back and the Bears will launch their home T20 campaign with a huge men’s double-header featuring two big Midlands rivalry games.

Taking place on Saturday 1 June, Derbyshire Falcons host Leicestershire Foxes (2.30pm) before the Bears take on Notts Outlaws (6.30pm). Buy tickets in advance and save.

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