RELIEF BRINGS BELIEF
I must admit I slept a bit better on Tuesday night than I have for a while after we secured our first Specsavers County Championship victory of the season.
There was no better place to do it than against Middlesex, the defending champions, at the Home of Cricket and there was a small celebration – as well as plenty of relief – in the dressing room afterwards.
But it was only a small celebration. Yes, you have to enjoy these moments but we are also aware that we have a huge amount of work to do to preserve our division one status.
It was great to see academy graduate Matt Lamb play a crucial innings and he was well supported down the order by the likes of Chris Woakes and Keith Barker, who were then brilliant with the ball in wrapping up victory.Ian Bell
We are still in the bottom two and with a decent gap to make up but the win has given us hope with five games remaining.
I’m told while I was doing my media commitments the music from the Great Escape was being played in the dressing room and we still believe it’s possible.
For me, it was our best performance of the season by some distance. While we only got 126 on the board in the first innings, the wicket was doing enough to suggest if we bowled well, we would still be in the game and that’s exactly what we did.
We always knew the third innings of the match would be decisive and to get over 350 on what still wasn’t a great wicket laid the platform for victory.
It was great to see academy graduate Matt Lamb play a crucial innings and he was well supported down the order by the likes of Chris Woakes and Keith Barker, who were then brilliant with the ball in wrapping up victory.
We knew, with the forecast, it was going to be a bit of a race against the rain and we are delighted we managed to get the job done before the heavens opened.
Since my last column, we have brought another two new players to the club. Dominic Sibley has arrived from Surrey and is an extremely talented young player across all three formats with plenty of time to develop.
Ryan Sidebottom has come a slightly different route, playing in Victoria in his native Australia before impressing for Berkswell in the Birmingham & District League and then our second XI. I have good friends at Victoria who speak very highly of Ryan and it’s fantastic that he has been identified within our local recreational game.
To watch someone take his chance at Lord’s on his First Class debut with six wickets in the match was a great boost for everyone in the dressing room.
We said at the start of the season that it would be something of a transitional period for the club and we feel the signings we have made are helping to create a bright long-term future for the club.
In the short-term, our focus is on a return to NatWest T20 Blast cricket tomorrow and a trip to Notts Outlaws before heading to Durham Jets on Sunday.
We have three games left to secure a top four finish in what is a very tight North Division but we are just taking it one game at a time.
It was disappointing to lose last week’s local derby with Worcestershire Rapids and we didn’t quite play our best cricket on the night.
But I must say a huge thanks to all the Birmingham Bears supporters who created a terrific atmosphere at Edgbaston.
Despite that defeat, we still feel we have good momentum behind us at the moment and hopefully that will continue this weekend.