By Matthew Fisher
I’m backing us to be there and thereabouts again in the Royal London one-day Cup, which starts this week.
We have reached the knockout stages for the last five years in 50-over cricket without making that next step. But there is no reason why it can’t be this year.
The young lads in the squad played in some big games last year – the quarter and semi-finals against Essex and Hampshire, which will be good for us, and we should have our England players available for the first few matches before the one-day internationals start.
I think Josh Poysden could be a big player for us in this competition.
Predominantly his strength is white ball cricket, and I think he’d admit that himself. He has all the variations and is quite hard to score off.
Most of the best white ball sides have two good spinners, and he could play alongside Adil Rashid when he’s available. He will be under less pressure when Rash is there, and he could fly under the radar and flourish.
I have a little tale to tell you about Poysy and myself.
Last weekend, I won the dressing room Grand National sweepstake!
And the two of us had made a pact that if either of us won the Grand National or the Masters sweepstakes, we would buy each other one of the big thick coach’s jackets. You know the ones, the Arsene Wenger style jackets.
The weather has been freezing of late, and we as players don’t get given them. It’s just the coaches. So we said that whoever wins, they have to go to the club shop and buy two of them.
So, as Tiger Roll romped away, instead of jumping around celebrating, I just played it cool and asked Pete Sim, our Strength and Conditioning coach, if I could try his jacket on for size. I got a fair bit of stick from the lads for that!
I won’t be available for the early games in the Royal London due to my back and thumb injuries, but I’m getting there.
I get the splint taken off my broken thumb on Thursday. I’ve been bowling with the splint on for the last few weeks, and we’ll be increasing my quota of overs whilst still having to be careful with my back.
I’m not setting any targets of a certain game to come back in because you just don’t know where the team is going to be up to.
It will hopefully be a settled team which is hard to break into, meaning we’re going well. That would give me a bit more time to get ready for the tough block of Championship cricket at the end of the Royal London.
There are plenty of second-team games to play in, and I should also be playing some league cricket with Sheriff Hutton Bridge, which will be fun.
It’s important I play enough to get 100 percent fit and build my confidence in my body. That maybe didn’t happen last year when I came back from my side injury. I didn’t have that long in Yorkshire’s second team and there was a bit of doubt there.
There are a lot of really good things happening at Bridge at the moment.
On the field, we think we have a good chance of winning the Premier League North this year, probably the best chance we’ll have had since the structure of club cricket in Yorkshire was changed at the end of 2015.
We have some excellent young players who are improving year on year, led by my eldest brother Adam.
Adam and my other brother Mark are also two of the best players in the league.
We also have Karl Carver, Ed Barnes and myself from Yorkshire alongside our Sri Lanka pro, Dulash Udayanga, who scored a lot of runs last year.
Off the field, we are raising money for a couple of causes, York Against Cancer and improving our junior set-up.
Last Saturday, a group from the club took on the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge, a 26-mile walk which they completed in 10 and a half hours and raised over £4,000.
We will be continuing to raise money over the next month or so to try and get to £5,000. If you want to donate, visit the club’s website, www.sherrifhuttonbridge.co.uk for more details.
I was gutted to miss the walk. I was with Yorkshire at Notts, but I’ll be doing what I can.
York Against Cancer is particularly close to my heart, as it is with all the family and many members at the club.
They were brilliant when my dad, Phil, passed on in 2012, the year before I made my Yorkshire debut.
He was always down at the club and helping out with the juniors and things like that.
He was much loved, and no one had a bad word to say about him. There’s always supporters saying, ‘We’re missing someone’ when they have a drink in the bar.
There’s one guy in particular who says, ‘My beer’s never tasted the same since Phil left us’. Those kind of things are always nice to hear.
It was never a hassle for him to come and feed the bowling machine or whatever when I wanted to practice.
Sometimes I feel bad asking other coaches for extra because they have their own lives with kids and things like that. But if he was still here, it would be easy because he’d be there straightaway.
He didn’t play that much. He played when he was at school, but he was just a massive sports fan. He knew the basics of the game; get a good stride in, get your head over the ball. Which is all you need as a young kid.
Whatever the three of us got into, he’d back us 100 percent.
Half of the money is going to them and the other half the club.
We have introduced the All Stars Cricket Programme, aimed at five-eight year-olds, at the club this year and hope it will have a big impact on boosting our juniors.
Junior cricket around the country in general needs a boost. That’s why the Hundred is being put in place, to try and get more kids interested in cricket.
They’ve promoted the All Stars with one of Karl (Carver), Ed (Barnes) or myself being down there for as many sessions as we can.
That’s something else we can give back.