I’m Emily and I’m just standard student that absolutely loves cricket. When I’m not at school or revising, I’m following both England & Warwickshire around the country. My blog gives me the perfect place to write about the thing I love most and to document my cricket season, so that I have it to look back on. Em’s View From The Pavilion hopefully shows how a younger audience can still be a fan of all formats of the game, including County Championship.
The 2017 season proved to be quite disappointing in some ways for Warwickshire, although there were also some great things to shout about such as reaching the final of the T20 Blast. It’s now time to look ahead to the 2018 season with new fixtures, a new captain, and a new division.
Firstly, I’m sure that most Warwickshire fans will agree that its amazing news to hear that the wonderful Jeetan Patel has been appointed as Club Captain for County Championship team and One Day Cup team.
He is no doubt one of the county’s best players, and this is shown through the various awards he has won – including 2017’s Players Player Of The Season, which was thoroughly deserved, so this appointment is welcome news. He is going to make a great captain by setting a great example to the lads, and he has years of experience to back him up.
As well as his constant motivation to the other players on the field, you can tell that playing means so much to him and winning is always his aim. His voice is always the one heard most clearly at the back of the members’ area. He might be an overseas player, but he is certainly a true Bear.
It’s also great news to hear that Grant Elliott is returning as the T20 captain. Last season, he got the lads playing some fresher, more exciting cricket, posting bigger scores and helping with the bowling, which contributed to the Bears reaching Finals Day. He is another fantastic overseas player who always wants to do well for his side.
Another good appointment in the captaincy department is Dom Sibley, recently appointed vice captain. It’s a good attempt at getting leaders to come through and, during this transition period, to engage the younger lads in leadership so we aren’t searching for a captain in the coming years. Sibley will learn a lot from watching Patel and the other senior players, so in a few seasons he can be step up to the captaincy role.
The fixtures have been released for next season and it looks a jam-packed one, but that only makes it more exciting. The County Championship fixtures were what I quickly scrolled to first, to see what days I can get away from revision and sit freezing cold at Edgbaston.
It is slightly disappointing to see that they seem to have been pushed to the start of the season, where it’s just about out of winter or end of the season, where it’s basically autumn. But there are a few games in the height of summer, which is good news although not many at weekends, which is bad news.
The One-Day Cup fixtures have also been released. Played throughout May & June, it does make it slightly difficult to fit these in whilst I am meant to be buckling down and revising for exam season in June. But the fixtures look solid nevertheless.
There is a Warwickshire v Worcestshire game in there, which is bound to be a good derby. The final day is at the end of June, so not only is it warm but I happen to have booked that week off work, so if Warwickshire could repeat their 2016 campaign and make it all the way to Lord’s and win that would be fabulous.
I think Warwickshire can really challenge for the Second Division title this season. With new, young talent such as Ed Pollock and Aaron Thomason breaking into the T20 team, they may just do the same in the 50 over team and play alongside the senior players. Warwickshire have one very talented batsman in Sam Hain who will boss the competition once again.
The fixture list that people get most excited for is that of the the T20 Blast. My eyes always turn straight to the Bears v Pears derby, and the date is already in my diary! The games lined up look like amazing fixtures, with the Bears starting their campaign away to the champions at Trent Bridge. It’s a repeat of the final, but hopefully won’t be a repeat of the result.
The introduction of midweek games to the home fixture list will be an interesting one, and I’m sure the atmosphere will be just as good as a Friday night, with no school the next day for me! And what a way to finish the home season, with the clash with Worcestershire that last year brought in a record home crowd at Edgbaston.
With Elliott back as captain, and the signs we saw last season of talent shining through, I think our chances are right up there for the title in 2018.
In 2018 Warwickshire will be in Division two, which is obviously not where they wanted to be, but it’s something to embrace and about which we must try to see the positives. It means that we can go through the transition period and build up a solid team, with a mix of experience and young talent, and build up through the season.
It also gives the Bears new opposition, and with that comes new grounds to visit. Kent is one I look forward to, so that I get a chance to visit my best friend, but also Leicestershire & Sussex are great ones as I love those grounds. Middlesex away should also be a good spectacle.
Division two is certainly not going to be easy. There are some very good teams who have some very good players, and all are fighting for promotion, but Warwickshire will be confident they can put up a good fight and mount a challenge to get back to Division one.
The new season does boast plenty of things to look forward to all in all, although perhaps not for the lads so much as they aren’t getting an abroad pre-season trip, but are instead headed off to the car park to get the practice in a marquee.
However, the return of cricket is always an exciting time, giving a chance for Warwickshire to build a good solid squad, with a mix of young talent and experienced players. It will also be good to catch up with all the members at the beginning of the season, and at the members events to which I hope will be returning as they were a good laugh. Finally, of course we are also hoping for some sun!
Next season looks like it’s going to be a good one, can it hurry up please?