A frustrating but fond farewell – Skipper’s column with Selco

I boarded the plane back to New Zealand yesterday with a lot of happy memories but with a tinge of frustration that the chance of another memorable Birmingham Bears Vitality Blast Finals Day appearance had passed us by.

We went into the last week of qualifying knowing we needed a lot of cards to fall in our favour and, despite an excellent win over Lancashire Lightning last Wednesday, it wasn’t to be.

Regardless of qualification, we desperately wanted to end on a high with a local derby victory over Worcestershire Rapids on Friday. It was a decent performance but we fell just short in our big chase, our cause not helped by dropping Moeen Ali twice.

You can occasionally get away with dropping a great player once but if you do it twice you are likely to get punished. That certainly happened to us with Moeen’s century on Friday.

Overall, it was a campaign on which we can look back and reflect on ‘what might have been.’

Only once have we managed to win back-to-back games all season which simply isn’t enough and, while Ian Bell has been outstanding all season, we have missed the regular big individual performances which win you T20 games.

That said, the campaign could easily have had a different ending and I think about the tied game with Northamptonshire Steelbacks, when we had Leicestershire Foxes three down and dropped Ben Raine before he made a century and failing to chase down 140-odd at Derbyshire Falcons.

If we had managed to convert three promising positions in those games, it could have been a different story – but they are the fine margins of T20 cricket.

From an individual point of view, I’m pretty sure that is me done in terms of competitive cricket.

There will, no doubt, be a few more outings in exhibition matches but I think I have played my last ‘serious’ game.

I’ve been lucky enough to have a fantastic time throughout my career and I will value the friendships I’ve created. There is no better feeling than sharing a win with your team-mates in the dressing room after a game.

I’ve really enjoyed my last two T20 seasons with Birmingham Bears and I’d like to thank all the staff and players at Edgbaston for making me feel so welcome.

It’s a brilliant club and the biggest thing for me is how engaged all the supporters are.

It’s fantastic to be greeted with good luck messages from people whenever you arrive at the ground and have regular conversations on Twitter. It’s what makes the club so special.

In playing terms, I think there is a really bright future ahead in all formats. There are lots of very talented young players with their careers ahead of them.

If they continue to work hard then I’m sure the trophy cabinet at Edgbaston will have some new additions. I will certainly be watching with interest.

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