Jimmy Cook writes for the Hampshire Web Site
A month at Southampton seems to have flown past as we prepare for our first Benson and Hedges match against Middlesex. Having been greeted with a week of reasonable sunny weather and thinking we would all be outdoors playing soon, the typical English late March/early April weather has struck.
The early part of my stay has been most enjoyable as I got to know the players through the fitness sessions - extremely well organised and conducted by Bob Beatie - and the numerous indoor nets which we had. The players have worked very hard and are looking fit going into what should be a very big year for the club.
We managed to have a few outdoor sessions at the start of April and it was immediately clear that a lot of work will be needed on our fielding and running between the wickets. Through a combination of new drills and game situations we have been working very hard at these aspects and there has already been an improvement but nowhere near the standard which we need to achieve yet.
An early season friendly 50 over match gave us the opportunity to see the players performing in competition and it was pleasing to successfully chase a target of 220 and win by 4 wickets.
Our 3 day friendly against Oxford Universities was brought to a very abrupt end when heavy rain aand snow forced the abandonment of the game without a ball being bowled. We returned to Southampton and despite a hailstorm on our arrival we managed to play an interval 45 over match the following day.
The Benson and Hedges Competition will give all the public of Southampton the opportunity to see the new signings Alan Mullally and Shane Warne for the first time in Hampshire colours and hopefully the optimism around will not be misplaced.
Here's to a great year with a great bunch of guys.
Jimmy Cook, April 15th