Winning is one thing but to win in a fashion that reflects the individuals and ethos of a team is quite another. At Somerset this pre-season, we have worked tirelessly to alter and shift some old behaviours. There has been a true collective effort to improve the culture, and it was brilliant to see the results of our work in our victory against Sussex this week. Beating Sussex by the sea is no mean feat, I've certainly left their county borders feeling downbeat over the years, but winning by an innings was one of the sweetest victories I have had in my career. The return to form of Marcus, our captain, was nothing short of inspirational.
Batting on the first evening, when most of the day had been washed out, offered some of the toughest first class conditions both Marcus and I have ever faced. The new ball duo of Magoffin and Jordan bowled with good pace, swing and accuracy. It was a pleasure to experience that sort of intensity, and to experience it while watching one of England's best batsmen on the other end provided twice the rush.
Marcus left the ball with such watchful ease and defended like his life depended on it. Magoffin, their spearhead, attacked the stumps regularly, with the odd ball going on straight - making the art of choosing which ball to play, and which one to leave, a difficult job.
Marcus has always been one of the best watchers of a cricket ball. Between the overs he will often point out to me on what side of the ball the bowler is holding it, and exactly what he is trying to do with it. Whereas most of us watch the ball and react, Marcus can often tell which way it is going to swing.
At Sussex, he watched the ball onto the bat like a hawk. His judgment was impeccable. It was truly motivating for me to watch, and it felt good to build a solid partnership.
Lewis Gregory has so far been the real find of the season. While it's early days, his skill with the ball and his ability to score 50s while coming in as far down as 11 is so vital. He had this amazing ability to produce wicket-taking deliveries from nowhere, and I was, and am, really chuffed for him.
Ed Joyce, who is a good mate from my playing days at Middlesex, fought valiantly. He really is a joy to play. Classy and tough as nails it was hard to keep him down, and when he played onto Gregory I knew the game was ours.
We move on to the next game in high spirits, with a beer on the bus and some of Alfonso's dj-ing in the background, these are truly moments to savour - a real team effort.