We are nearly there! Over the last few weeks I have worked hard to keep reminding our boys that we need to take one game at a time and not look too far ahead as we search for our first league title in 15 years.
Actually, I need not have worried. Our professionalism over the second half of the season has been quite phenomenal and Saturday’s win over relegation troubled Farnsfield ensured that we have now taken 215 out of the last 220 points.
A remarkable feat. We now just need to take three points out of the next 40, something we will be very keen to tie up this Saturday at Clifton.
Saturday was not only an enjoyable cricket day because of another win at Kimberley, but also because I was able to get home in time to watch Lancashire become the T20 Blast.
It was a fantastic achievement from a Lancashire side built with local young cricketers. Lancashire have been pretty smart over the last few years with their coaching appointments.
Firstly Peter Moores created an excellent environment for young players to be given a chance to thrive while supporting them with quality experience players. Then last winter’s appointment of Ashley Giles has allowed them to follow the same pathway. You only have to look at Giles’s willingness to select Gavin Griffiths and George Edwards for finals day to see that they believe in giving youth a chance to thrive.
It was also pleasing to see an old teammate of mine Steven Croft captain the side to victory.
There is little point in investing in an expensive junior academy system if you then have no confidence to select the players it produces and to give them a chance in the 1st XI.
Of course, there is always pressure for success and therefore it is easy to look to use your cheque book to bring players in for short term gain.
However, the value of being able to develop a core of your side as local cricketers with a strong connection to your club can be of incredible value as you look to build a team that can compete over the longer term. I am pleased to see Lancashire do that, and there is no doubt that at Kimberley there are similarities and we also have the opportunity to build something special.
For now, our attention is very firmly fixed on Saturday’s fixture at Clifton, and while obviously we will be conscious of acquiring the points we need, our focus will be on winning the game. As I say, “one game at a time!”