This is the first of my regular blogs following the ups and ups (hopefully) of Worcestershire CCC.


In my first offering I give my purely personal view of the season ahead and what it holds for us.


My first reason to think there are bright times ahead is our overseas signing Thilan Samaraweera in my opinion the best overseas signing we have made since Zaheer Khan, in the retired Sri Lankan test player we have middle order batsman that at our level should compile runs for fun and will fill his boots against some of the poorer teams in Division Two combine this with the fact that he is available all summer and is the sort of character who will be happy to support and pass on his vast knowledge and experience to our younger players, and I think he is one of Bumpys more shrewd signings.


Having had two seasons in Division One (not all as gloomy as many choose to remember – there were numerous games where we were in with a shout, lost one vital session and ended up paying the price, last seasons opening fixture at Trent Bridge one of many that I can name) I am sure that captain Daryl Mitchell, Moeen Ali and Alexie Kervezee will all clear the 1000 First Class runs barrier this season having all shown glimpses of what they are really capable of over the last two campaigns.


The younger batsmen Matt Pardoe and Neil Pinner, all-rounders Aneesh Kapil and Joe Leach all have the right temperament and talent to make themselves future mainstays of the side and will flourish and grow at the lower level.


On the bowling front all of our younger bowlers have show tremendous potential in spells and matches and I am sure they will have learnt from playing against some good batsmen over the last two seasons and will start putting consistent good spells of bowling together to support the ever youthful Alan Richardson who has been the stand out cricketer in the four day game over the last three years, there is no doubt that the likes of Richard Jones, Chris Russell and Nick Harrison have plenty of pace to embarrass our opponents and I think they will step up to the mark this year.  “Biggles” as us supporters have unoriginally nick named him is an unknown quantity who Steve Rhodes says will shock a few teams, Jack Shantrys line and length will always pose problems for batsmen especially in the limited overs games whilst on the spin front Brett D’Oliveira showed class and composure in his first season not being afraid to give the ball air and tempt batsmen forward and will be better placed to push on this year, he will be supported by fans favourite Shaaiq “Colin” Choudhry “King of Spin” who has undoubted talent and needs to transfer it to results more often.


Wicketkeepers there is no doubt that Ben Cox became a victim of his own success with a fifty on debut and Marcus Trescothick as his first victim and people thought that that was that and he would do that every game – very unfair on a young man, this year he has bulked up and is hitting the ball with a lot more power, I always thought the secret to Ben is that if he was scoring runs the confidence will flow and that would carry through to his keeping  and now with competition from Michael Johnson for the starting berth I expect a big season for BC.


All of this gives me confidence (you may think misguided) that we will have a good season and the addition of Jacob Oram four the T20 campaign is a huge positive so sticking my neck out and I am doing this in a very rare sober state I am plumping for us to finish as follows:


LVC Division Two:                   Runner-up

YB40:                                      4th in group

T20:                                         Quarter finals                             


Kidderminster today for three days of friendlies versus Gloucester before the real action starts next Wednesday at Old Trafford.