THE rain meant we only managed a frustrating eight overs in the first two days of our game at Hampshire.
When we managed to get out there on the first day, we made inroads with Chris Russell and Charlie Morris taking three quick wickets.
It was a good toss to win but, as a young bowler and when the pitch is a bit green and conditions are in your favour as they were at the Ageas Bowl, it can put more pressure on to take wickets.
But our two youngsters did well. Hampshire’s Dale Benkenstein and Jimmy Adams told me how well Charlie bowled on his debut, while Chris gave us a great start and has been doing well.
It won’t always go right for them and we have Saeed Ajmal coming in so one will probably miss out, but they have made positive starts.
We can’t replace Alan Richardson like-for-like, but Charlie and Chris chipped in to share the workload, which is what our bowlers must do.
Hampshire managed 20 or 30 runs more than we would have liked, but Sean Ervine played well for his 93.
Our bowlers mostly hit good areas but Jack Shantry was again ‘Mr Consistency’ with his line and length rewarded with four wickets.
It was great for me to start with 172 not out, which was my second highest first-class score. It is always nice to get runs on the board early on.
I was in good touch in pre-season, but that is not the same as the pressure of a first-class fixture.
It was hard work at times and Matt Coles bowled well, but I kept working hard and reaped the rewards.
We start our first County Championship Division Two home game of the season tomorrow against Kent.
We must give respect to Tim Packwood and his ground staff for getting New Road ready to host cricket considering the state it was in after the floods not too long ago.
Kent are experienced with the likes of Rob Key, Darren Stevens and Geraint Jones, but this will be their first league game after playing students last week.
There are good sides in Division Two and it is arguably stronger this season given the teams who came down, but we will just focus on ourselves and hopefully we can be up there challenging.
We have signed Colin Munro as our second overseas player for the NatWest T20 Blast and Mitchell McClenaghan for when Saeed is away.
They are great signings – I played against Colin in club cricket for Cornwall in Auckland. He is powerful and can take games away from sides quickly.
We found that out first-hand against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi in pre-season so I’m looking forward to having him on our side.