It’s been a busy winter so far for all-rounder Jim Allenby.
Jim, who captained Somerset in white ball cricket in 2016, has been getting involved on both sides of the white line back in Australia as he explained when we caught up with him this week.
“I’ve been coaching over here in Perth,” he said. “I’ve expanded it a bit so that I’m not only working with First Grade players at Claremont-Nedlands but coaching some juniors as well. It’s good to be able to help some of the younger lads get started on their careers, like people did for me when I was starting out. As well as the coaching I’ve been playing too and getting in to my winter training programme in the gym and on the field. I’ve not played every game, I’ve just tried to fill in the gaps when needed.
“The team I play for is also the team I’m coaching and we’ve won our games pretty convincingly. Some of the players I’ve been coaching have also managed to get in to the second team for Western Australia which is great for them and has meant that I’ve been able to step in so they can go away and do that. I’ve got a couple of wickets and a few runs so it’s going okay at the moment.”
How is the winter regime going? “Winter training is going well and the weather and the beach certainly help with that,” said Jim. “I’m feeling good and the ankle that I had surgery on a while ago is feeling as good as it has in about five years. It’s going well and I’m getting everything done that I need to. I haven’t felt this good physically in December for a few years. It’s been interesting trying to balance playing, coaching, training and family time but it seems to be going okay at the moment. The sun is out until about seven o’clock here so there’s plenty of hours in the day to get everything done.
“I’m looking forward to Christmas and getting a little bit more time with the family, then there will be another big push before I head back to Taunton in March. There’s lots of planning to do before the start of the new season and we’ll go through what worked and what didn’t last time. It’s not always great turning up at training in the cold and the snow but at this stage of my career March and April go quite quickly. Before you know it we’re in the middle of the summer and the cricket is in full flow.”
Expectations will be high following the teams performance last season but Jim is confident that the team can do well again in 2017. “There’s no reason why we can’t build on what we achieved this year,” he said. “It’s great that we’ve kept the majority of the squad together and added to it. I see that Tregs has signed a contract extension which is great and most of the players are contracted long term so there really is something to build on. We made a big push last season and everyone connected with the Club will want to see that maintained.”
“It’s not about having one good year, it’s about keeping up that momentum and upward trajectory. We saw that in the Royal London One-Day Cup. This years success was built on that team having been together for two years. Hopefully we will see that again in all forms next year. That stability is a big part of the success that we saw on the field. There’s a lot of positivity around at the moment and everyone loves seeing the young local lads doing so well. That’s fantastic and is an important part of the Club. The talent is there and we’ve given young guys leading roles in the team which they have reacted well to. Seeing their energy and enthusiasm is absolutely fantastic and it’s great to see them doing so well.”
What will constitute success in 2017? “For the team it has to be a trophy,” he said. “Obviously we got very close in the Specsavers County Championship this year and only just missed out on a Lord’s final. Since I started playing I’ve always believed that if you have a better season than the one before, then you’ve had a good season. For us that means getting to a final and winning the Championship! We have to have high expectations and we’ve got a good squad, so it’s all there for us.”
Jim also had a Christmas message for the Members and supporters: “Enjoy the quiet time! It’s going to be a hectic summer again and we need all the support that we can get. The support we got made a huge difference last season , especially at the back end. The players are all desperate for the season to start and I’m sure the supporters are just the same. Have a great Christmas and I’ll see you all in 2017!”