By Matthew Fisher
I’ve absolutely loved being part of the North v South series out here in Barbados over the last couple of weeks, especially having got the win.
It has given me a lot of confidence heading into this week’s four-day MCC game against Essex and the start of the season back home with Yorkshire.
It hurt not being selected for the first game, but to come in and be part of a winning team was brilliant. And I did my bit with the ball, taking a wicket in each of the two games.
At the Kensington Oval, where the first two were played, everyone felt that the power play overs were the toughest to bowl.
The power plays were averaging 80 or 90 for none or one. To go at lower than that rate with the new ball was alright.
I felt like I came back well through the middle in the second game and bowled my cutters and things like that. That seemed to work.
We took some vital wickets in the middle through Richard Gleeson and Matt Parkinson. That made it easier at the death, but I was still pleased to nail it and finish with 1-58 from eight.
The last game was played at the Three W’s ground. That was a bit slower than the other pitch. We kept them to 55 or 60 in the power play, which was a pretty good effort when they’re chasing 300 (I finished with 1-27 from 5.2 overs).
That meant the spinners could come on and dry it up, which is what they did after Joe Clarke had scored his superb hundred.
A couple of things really struck and impressed me about our group. Firstly, the quality of players we had and secondly, the quality of blokes.
There’s such a small space of time to get to know everyone and build team morale, but we seemed to get that quite quickly. That no doubt helped us come back from a defeat early on in a three-match series.
A lot of the lads had been away for quite a while with the Lions and had lost quite a few games, so it was the job of those of us who just come out here to pick them up and keep them fresh.
I think we did that and enjoyed the win at the end of the series.
It was really impressive how lads helped you out even though you’re not from their county. It was really good that lads could do that when you will be competing against each other in three or four weeks time.
To me, the four Lancashire lads, there’s massive rivalry between the two counties, but every single one of them was spot on with me. I couldn’t thank them enough for helping me, and I hope I helped them in some way.
There was a photo taken early doors with me not looking too happy about being with them, but that was just a bit of banter.
They are all great lads, and I’m looking forward to having a few battles with them this season. I’m sure we’ll all enjoy it.
We always say at Yorkshire that if we do our stuff well, we’ll be fine and not have to worry about what other teams do. But it really struck me just how good some of these lads are. They are future England players in my opinion.
From the get go, I felt like I had rhythm in my bowling, which usually takes a bit longer when I first get outside following a winter. That was really pleasing.
To be able to get a lot of overs in and know that I’ve bowled well in all my spells, that really shows me I’m in a good place ahead of the season.
Away from the cricket, my mum and my brother Mark were here for a week, so I spent a bit of time with them on days off.
Paul Collingwood also took us to a big mansion – I think he knew someone there – and we had the afternoon there, which was good.
We’ve also had a couple of functions to attend.
Apart from that, it’s just been chilling and playing a bit of Fifa with my room-mates. I’m rooming with Delray Rawlins for this week’s MCC game, and it was Keaton Jennings for the North v South.
I will be back with Yorkshire next week after arriving back in England on Monday.
Fingers crossed, if I do well in this champion county game, get five or six wickets, get through a decent amount overs and pull up well, that should put me in a good place to be selected for the opening Championship game against Essex.
I’d then be pretty disappointed if I wasn’t on the team sheet.
If I haven’t done that, then I understand it’s not my place to be disappointed because I won’t have delivered.
I’d just like to finish by offering some thoughts on the late Dave Callaghan, who died just as I arrived in the Caribbean.
A lot of the lads knew him much better than me, but in the short time I’ve been playing for Yorkshire he made a massive impression on me.
It was the worst news possible and a massive shock.
You only have to read through all the tweets about him to get an idea of his quality as a human being. From what I know, it’s exactly right.
My brother Adam and his fiancee always listened to him on the radio, and he messaged me to say ‘I can’t believe it’. Cally was always so complimentary about our home club, Sheriff Hutton Bridge.
I was upset I couldn’t make it for the funeral on Friday, but I’m sure we will be doing something as a squad to mark his passing, not least trying to win the Championship for him.