Well here we go again the start of the new 2013 cricket season, maybe it's not quite the weather for cricket at the moment but the season is upon us once again.
As in most sporting teams, players come and go before the start of a new season. For Northants, out go Niall O'Brien who I’m sure we will miss his runs in all forms of the game.
Also, our opening bowlers from last season - the experience Chaminda Vaas and of course Jack Brooks. Both bowlers were missing for most of last season through injury and I think this is one of the reasons why we struggled in our four day cricket.
For me the biggest miss out of the two would be a fit and firing Jack Brooks. Finally we say good bye to Rob White, Ben Howgego and Dave Burton.
For this coming season in come Matt Spriegel, Trent Copeland , Muhammad Azharullah and the returning Steven Crook, welcome aboard lads.
Looking at our squad this season we seem to have plenty of depth especially in the bowling department, new overseas player Trent Copeland looks as though he could surprise a few people. A tall bowler by all accounts he is not super express fast but in our conditions (weather permitting !!) he is likely to bowl a good line and swing the ball ,probably similar to Vaas’ style, and could be a handy addition to our squad.
With Steven Crook and the un-tried Azharullah added to the team these three players will give some much needed pace to our bowling attack. Adding to these players Daggett, Evans , Hall, Sweeney, Willey and the England under 19s captain Olly Stone.
I think both our captains will at least have depth in our bowling attack when needed throughout a long season. This season could be a big season for Luke Evans if he can stay fit. With his pace and height he is always likely to have opposition batsman in trouble.
In the spin department there seems to be good competition with Middlebrook and de Lange from last season we have now added Matt Spriegel from Surrey who by all accounts look a shrewd signing.
In preseason as well as picking up a few wickets he has contributed very well with the bat and in some cases has been opening at the top of the innings. Could this be a taste of things to come for the season Peters and Spriegel at one and two?
Good competition for the wicket keeping gloves is needed at any cricket club and although the experienced Niall O' Brien will be missed with bat and gloves, it is left to Scotland's David Murphy to step up to the plate where there will be strong competition from the talented England under 19s Ben Duckett - things are looking good in that department.
Although looking at our squad you could say we have a few all rounders our main two will probably be Andrew Hall and David Willey.
Onto our batting and with our new captain (congratulations skip!) Stephen Peters leading the way we have healthy competition for places, again that will come from Kyle Coetzer, Rob Newton, David Sales, Alex Wakely and young James Kettleborough. It will just be interesting to see who David Ripley chooses to play alongside Stephen Peters as his opening partner.
Our side has plenty of youth and experience and looks well balanced to do well in all competitions. On a team front the main favourites in the county championship seems to be the big guns which are Essex, Hampshire ,Kent and Lancashire but as wel,l all know from two seasons ago if we can get off to a good start and stay injury free then anything is possible.
It is always getting the early momentum going in any sport that counts.
Congratulations also to Alex Wakely on becoming the one day captain for our club. For me I think the players to watch out for will be Spriegel , Evans and Duckett when he plays ,but the squad looks good and we can be quietly optimistic that we could certainly surprise a few people this season.
I’m especially looking forward to seeing our overseas player Trent Copeland who by all accounts can bat a bit as well ,he scored a hundred in this season’s Aussie domestic season.
With new captains, new coaches and a new one day kit ! Let’s all get behind the team and cheer the county on. Finally I would just like to wish Pedro all the very best for his benefit year , top bloke.
Come on the county! Best of luck for 2013.
Blog by member Ian Harris, who also sponsors Andrew Hall.