Frustration grows after such a good start to our campaign
I HAVE to say, the past week has been one of the most frustrating I can remember since becoming a professional cricketer more than a decade ago. I recall a couple of County Championship matches in which we only managed one day's play during my time with Gloucestershire, but never one which was completely wiped out by the weather.
Yet that is what happened to our first home game of the season against Glamorgan. To not have an opportunity to get a result was bad enough, but having the game abandoned without a single ball being bowled was disappointing to say the least.
No disrespect to the Glamorgan players, but they had lost their first three matches and were propping up the Second Division.
Coming off the back of a magnificent win at Hampshire and a creditable draw against Kent at Canterbury, we fancied our chances of continuing our recent improvement and collecting some more points to help establish ourselves in the top part of the table.
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But the volume of rainfall, combined with the fact Bristol had hosted a second XI fixture the week before, ensured we were unable to even leave the dressing room.
Although the outfield was in pretty good condition owing to our state-of-the-art drainage system, the area around the square had become a bit wet during the second XI game and did not have an opportunity to dry properly.
I know it was frustrating for spectators, who waited patiently, but there was little that could be done in hindsight.
At least it was the same for our rivals and no-one else was able to complete a game.
Perhaps the only winners were Derbyshire, who did not play the last round of matches and consolidated their position near the top of the table.
Because of the continued wet weather, conditions are going to remain challenging for batsmen up and down the country for a few weeks yet.
With the notable exception of Somerset's Nick Compton, batsmen have struggled to post big scores and make runs consistently as bowlers have held the whip hand.
At Gloucestershire, we tend to focus on batting as a team rather than upon individual performances at this stage of the season.
When scoring runs is this difficult, the onus has to be on occupying the crease for as long as possible and building partnerships. I believe we have a good balance at Gloucestershire between lads who can defend and hang around for a long period of time and those who play their shots and look to score more quickly.
The more adventurous among us will have to play with circumspection for a while yet until conditions make for a more even contest between bat and ball.
Certainly, our top-order batting will be bolstered by the arrival of Kane Williamson, pictured, from New Zealand. I was delighted when Kane agreed to come back as our overseas player for the first few months of the campaign. He had a reasonable season with us last year and will have benefited from playing a lot of Test cricket for the Black Caps in the intervening months.
He scored a very good century against South Africa not so long ago and returns to us a more experienced cricketer. Although Kane is still young in terms of years, he is learning fast and his experience of international cricket will be extremely useful in our dressing room.
We have a lot of youngsters here and they enjoy listening to what Kane has to say about the game.
He is a very deep thinker with a good cricket brain and that is why we made him captain in some of the one-day games last summer.
As expected, our bowling resources are already being stretched to the limit by a schedule that requires us to play half our Championship fixtures in the first six weeks of the season.
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing us this year is to keep a seam bowling unit that is short on numbers fit and firing for as long as possible. But the very nature of the game means you are going to lose players to injury from time to time and the side strain that forced David Payne onto the sidelines the other week was unfortunate to say the least.
Fortunately, we have excellent staff at the County Ground and our medical and conditioning team have a good record when it comes to getting players through the season.
It is no coincidence that most of our bowlers have managed to get through relatively unscathed over the past couple of summers.