Somerset One-Day Captain Jim Allenby has gone back to Perth for the winter but just before he returned to Australia we caught up with him to look back on the 2016 season and to discuss his plans for the next few months.
“I think that the season went pretty well,” he said. “We’re building something good here and whilst we aren’t quite the finished article just yet, we are definitely going in the right direction. It was a big year for everyone and the positivity around the Club towards the end of the year was one of the reasons why I joined. To still have something to play for towards the end of the season is what it’s all about. It was fantastic and a really big step forward to what could be a productive few years for us.”
How does Jim feel about the dramatic conclusion to the Specsavers County Championship? “The atmosphere on that last day was a bit surreal with a lot of mixed emotions,” he said. “We were celebrating the season that we had but at the same time we were all really disappointed not to have taken the title. The amount of people that were here on the last day of the season when we weren’t even playing says a lot about the kind of support that this Club gets! It also says a lot about the success of the team as well.”
The 34 year old believes that the current make-up of the squad puts the Club in a strong position ahead of the new season as he explained: “We’ve got a lot of local young lads in the side performing well alongside the overseas players and the older guys have also showed that they’ve still got it, so there’s a great balance to the squad at the moment. It doesn’t happen very often in sport where you get the perfect mix of youth and experience. The younger guys are progressing quickly and really pushing the older ones which is a great position for us to be in.”
Jim also discussed his own form in 2016: “I’m getting to where I want to be. The one-day stuff went quite well for me again and I was pleased with my Championship bowling. Statistically it wasn’t my best season with the bat in the Championship but to be able to contribute with important runs in some tough situations was pretty pleasing. It can be tough changing clubs sometimes, especially when you are a bit older. I know there was a lot of expectation when I joined and I know that next year will be a big year for me and the Club. I can’t wait to get back here after the winter and build on what we achieved this year.”
What will our one-day skipper be getting up to this winter? “Back in Perth I’ll mainly be coaching at Claremont-Nedlands where I’m the Head Coach. I’ve been involved with that club since I was about 10 but I’m definitely one of the older blokes there now. In fact some of the younger lads that I’ve worked with over there have come through in to English County Cricket. One of those is Stevie Eskinazi who unfortunately managed to get his hands on the Championship trophy before I did! I’ll be working a bit at the WACA as well and also doing a bit with some of the age group programmes over there.”
“Coaching is something that I may well want to do when I finish playing. I enjoy it as much as I enjoy playing but I’m certainly not ready to stop playing just yet. It’s great in the winter to be able to coach and I think it can help your own game too. The feeling that you get when you see guys that you have helped do well is quite fulfilling and something that I am pretty keen to keep doing.
“I’ll also be staying on top of the training programme that I’ve been set by the Club and Daz has got a schedule worked out for me. I don’t quite do the same sort of stuff as the young guys because I think I’d probably snap if I was to try some of that! Daz and I have a good understanding and as long as I’m giving it my all then he’s pretty good with me. He’s really good at adapting programmes for individual players.
“I’ll probably get the pads back on in the New Year. It’s been a long season and after 15 years of playing cricket for 12 months of the year, I don’t think that a couple of months off will do me too much harm. I’ll keep up the training to make sure that I’m physically right but it will be nice to spend a bit of quality time with the family.”