By Josh Poysden
After thankfully making a full recovery from my head injury, it was agreed with the Yorkshire medical staff that if I got through a month of training at Emerald Headingley, then I could proceed with my original plans to go to New Zealand for the winter.
I think it’s important while I have this platform to give a shout out to everyone from the club and beyond for all their support during my recovery. Thank you for all your kind messages and well wishes.
As I was keen to play as much cricket as possible after missing a big chunk of the season, I started training a couple of weeks before the lads came back in for their winter training.
This gave me a bit of a head start on my strength and conditioning program with Pete Sim, and also provided the opportunity to do some extra work, mainly with Ian Dews, on both my bowling and batting.
I’m a big believer in not messing too much with technique during game time, so it was good to have a month block where I could refine a few aspects of my game.
I’ve had a great start to my time in New Zealand.
I’m playing for Burnside West Christchurch University CC, in the Christchurch Metro competition. They’re quite a strong club, with Tom Latham having come through the system recently, and also a few other current Canterbury players, alongside some younger players on the fringe of the Canterbury set up.
Before Christmas we had a two-day game and two T20s. Unfortunately, we lost the two-dayer, and won one and lost one of the T20s.
Personally, it’s just been great to be back out on the park playing, and it’s been pleasing to have some success so far including 10 wickets in the match in my first game back.
Along with the chance to play matches and bowl outdoors, a big motivator for me to come over was the chance to experience the country.
I’ve only heard good things about New Zealand, and it hasn’t disappointed. I haven’t done many trips so far but one I have done was to Kaikoura. It was a beautiful spot, with mountains right on the coast. On the way there we even saw a pod of dolphins, which I can safely say I never saw in the sea growing up in Brighton!
Some of my teammates took me spearfishing, which again was something totally new. I didn’t manage to catch anything (well, at least nothing worth keeping), but the others got some butter fish, which were delicious when cooked up later that evening.
During my time in county cricket I’ve been lucky enough to play with a lot of Kiwis. One of these is Jeetan Patel, an ex-teammate at Warwickshire. He recently played in Christchurch for Wellington, and it was one of his last games for them before going to South Africa to join up with the England team as spin consultant. It was enjoyable catching up with him over here as he’s someone who I’ve learnt a lot from and he’s had a big influence on my career so far.
Over Christmas and the New Year I went to Sydney to see my fiancé, Caitlin. She is from Sydney, and although now based in England with me, she is currently working in Japan (as some of you might have seen during my TV appearance at the Rugby World Cup!). As we are recently engaged, we also celebrated our Aussie engagement party, and my sister surprised me by flying into Sydney the day of the party – I didn’t see it coming!
I’ve played several winters in Sydney so it was good to catch up with lots of old friends.
I also got to see Stuart MacGill. Stuey coached me during previous winters spent playing in Sydney and has had a big impact on my game, so it was nice to go to the SCG Test match and check in with him.
Despite having a great time in Australia, it was terrible to see the bushfires that are currently burning through the country, and although I was not particularly close to any, some days were very smoky which hit home how terrible they are, and allowed for some perspective.
It’s been refreshing to have a break over Christmas but it’s nice to be back into training and playing now. Since I’ve been back we’ve already had three t20s, and have won them all so fingers crossed we can kick on and qualify for the finals.