It's exactly a year since I began writing this blog. After years of writing articles for magazines and journals I'd started to feel frustrated by the length of time it took for anything I'd written to appear in print and I felt that this format would give my work greater immediacy and the opportunity to write about whatever was in my head at the time, rather than what an editor wanted me to write about or what they were prepared to accept.
I'd spent some wonderful hours in the early part of last season watching Graeme Hick bat at Taunton and Worcester and wanted to write something about a cricketer whose career I'd been associated with since he was a youngster and who was nearly as old as me but was still performing with distinction. That piece, still one of the best things I've written, can be found here, and, a year on, Hick is still batting superbly; on Friday evening he made 110 from 49 balls in a Twenty20 game for Worcestershire against Northants.
It's been a crowded and intriguing year for world cricket. I've seen and commented upon the first forfeited Test match and all the controversy that went with it, Australia regaining the Ashes with dismissive excellence and then going on to dominate the World Cup in much the same way (although it's questionable how many people were still awake by the end to see them do it). I've also covered the shockingly sudden death of Bob Woolmer and the retirements of three of the greatest cricketers of this or any era, Brian Lara, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne. It's been hard work at times, but I'm still enjoying it.
To my regular readers - you know who you are, even if I don't - thanks a lot for dropping by and coming back. And special thanks to Andrew Riley, Simon Orpen, Simon Hattenstone of The Guardian, Patrick Kidd of The Times, Mark Ray for the photos, Russell Degnan, Homer, and anyone else who's been kind enough to add me to their blogrolls.
The only thing that's disappointed me slightly is that thousands of people read the blog but few comment. I've gone through spells of getting reasonable numbers of comments (usually when I've written something about the Indian team) but things usually go dead again after a while. It's one of those spells at the moment.
So, if you're reading the blog and feel that you've got something to say, leave a comment. It's not difficult and I always reply.
At the last count this site had been visited by people from 62 countries, although a large proportion of those simply wanted to know about the different shades of green. To them, and the people whose searches for 'Guildford Swingers' on Google always lead them to my appreciation of Martin Bicknell, sorry I couldn't help you.