Well things have been tough so far this season for Northants Cricket. From the time the dreadful pre-season injury to Alex Wakely up to the present day, where our latest overseas player Ian Butler has had to go home early because of injury and now we understand he has had to retire from First Class cricket.
We have had a terrible run of injuries and with a small squad short on confidence, this has certainly taken its toll on the county. Even poor old Rob Keogh has broken his finger for a second time this season!
Of course you cannot blame bad luck during a season purely on injuries. Unfortunately in both the LV= County Championship and NatWest T20 Blast we just haven't been good enough in all parts of the game. Players have struggled for runs in the LV=CC with hardly any batsmen making a hundred in any of the two current competitions.
With no top overseas bowler as mentioned above and the early season absence of David Willey through injury, we have really struggled to bowl Division One sides out. Consequently it means our players are spending far too long in the field and not enough time batting.
The lads are really trying hard but with confidence low and energy being zapped on hot days in the field, chasing big totals I am afraid we have taken some heavy defeats and have been totally outclassed.
Watching Division One cricket, each team has at least one if not two or three top international cricketers who play the game very hard. Of course you wouldn't expect anything different from the top division of cricket, you really have to be on your game from the word go in this league.
Once a team gets you on the ropes they go for the kill and we have been found wanting on this front. But the lads have not given up the fight and at least we have a better chance of bowling sides out now that David Willey has returned and our latest overseas signing, New Zealand’s Neil Wagner will join later in the month. Hopefully with these two firing on all fronts, we will just need the batsmen to come to the party.
On the NatWest T20 Blast front of course we have missed our skipper from last year Alex Wakely but also I think we have missed Cameron White. These two players knew how to finish a match, especially Cameron White, which is something that we have lacked this season in the NatWest T20 Blast.
As I write this column it looks as though we are sadly now out of this competition and at least for this season there will be no repeat of that great Finals Day at Edgbaston. Trying to finish this season and column on a positive note at least we now have the start of the Royal London One-Day Cup.
Hopefully with a fit overseas bowler and a few more of our injured players making a comeback, at least we can give this competition a right good go and try and end the season on a high. We nearly qualified for the semi-finals last season in this competition, just missing out on run rate.
It has been a really tough season, obviously the dead opposite to last year and I have heard a lot of supporters say they would like the season to finish now! But like any supporter, supporting your team you have the good times and the bad, but you must always support your team through thick and thin. Let’s hope we have a better second half to the season. Up the Steelbacks!