What a great weekend that was. On Saturday night I went to bed like a little kid before Christmas.
I was so excited about the thought of being back on the field and playing a game after two and a half months out, that I hardly slept a wink.
Instead of presents from Santa though, I woke up on Sunday knowing that I would be playing for Durham for the first time in nearly three years and could put an end to the frustrations that came with a broken finger.
Of course there were nerves there. Playing against the Birmingham Bears was going to be a challenge. How would the finger hold up? Would I hurt it again? Could I contribute to the team and help get a result?
Thankfully the answers to all these questions ended up being positive and now I can look forward to the rest of the summer with Durham and then England with some real confidence.
To score 29, take a wicket, and even more importantly take two catches to help us beat the Bears by 22 runs was the perfect present and gave me a winning feeling back in the dressing room I had really missed.
Before the game though it had been a bit of a whirlwind few days because the truth is I was returning to the field a little earlier than I thought I would.
I had been training steadily for a few weeks, but the finger was still sore and causing me some real pain when I batted.
Bowling was fine because my left hand is not involved too much, so I could get some good loads into my legs and find some rhythm.
But my batting had been rusty and when I hit the ball with the toe end, the vibrations came through it and was really painful.
So if everything had been equal then I would probably have waited a little longer before coming back, but ahead of the Yorkshire game on Friday the club were down to the bare bones.
One of our support staff tested positive for covid which meant that a few 2nd XI players had to go into self-isolation, and then Paul Coughlin suffered an injury against Lancashire.
If we had plenty of players to pick from, I wouldn’t have played just yet, but sometimes you have to just do your job and grin and bear it.
The key was whether or not my finger was in any greater risk of more damage by me playing, and the medical advice was that it is now structurally as strong as any other finger.
So I took some painkillers, had a hit on Friday morning and after coming through that ok, I made myself available. After all it was Yorkshire and for a Cumbrian lad, you’d do anything to try and beat them, and only the rain stopped me.
Playing on Sunday was great though. My batting wasn’t at its most fluent, but that will come with more time out in the middle.
The real test for the finger was in the field. Remember I broke it in the first place by taking a catch in the deep, so taking the next catch in a game was going to be a confidence boost for me if it went in ok. Thankfully Ed Pollock gave me that chance when he skied one and it landed safely in the hands.
There is a lot more cricket to come this summer, but to have finally got it underway is a great feeling.