Paceman Charlie Morris has had a year to remember with Worcestershire CCC at Blackfinch New Road.
The Hereford-born Morris first of all re-established himself in the side after successfully remodelling his action.
He then achieved career-best first class figures of 7-45 against Leicestershire and ended 2019 as joint leading wicket-taker with 44 wickets in addition to breaking into the T20 side including for finals day.
Morris then picked up two prestigious awards at the County’s Awards Night and was then rewarded for his efforts with a contract extension which was announced on Friday.
Here he looks back on 2019 and reveals his aspirations for next summer in a Question And Answer Session with the Worcestershire CCC website.
Question: Presumably you took a lot of satisfaction from the way you performed last season?
Charlie Morris: “Really happy. I would have snapped someone’s hand off if they had said it would have gone as it has. You obviously hope to have a good season at the start and to be sat here now in November and having had a pretty solid year, I’m delighted.”
Question: Were you targeting this year because you had a good pre-season as well?
Charlie Morris: “You try and target year if you can. Everyone tries to do as well as they can all of the time. I felt at times last year (2018) that I had managed to put some good performances together at times.
“I played all the 50 over games and we got through to the semi-finals and I played five or six Championship games and certainly put in some good performances in a couple of those.
“I felt confidence was building even from the previous season although I did get injured a bit last year at times and had to take some time off.
“But I still felt I was building up to hopefully being able to push on and get some more success.
“It’s really credit to the support I had last winter from Dewsy (Ross Dewar) and Richo (Alan Richardson) and the plan we put in place and the fact I worked really hard last winter, really diligently and specifically on some skills and I guess that just rolled though into pre-season.
“You obviously feel confident if pre-season goes well. I look back at a couple of the other seasons where I’ve managed to have some success and it’s all been on the back of having a good pre-season.
“I didn’t necessarily envisage it going like it has but, sitting here now, I’m really, really happy.”
Question: It couldn’t have started any better with a career best 7-45 at Leicester?
Charlie Morris: “Absolutely. Games like that and personal achievements are really set up by the team. You look back to that game but we got 500 runs in the first innings so instantly we were on the front foot there.
“We bowled them out for about 300 and just gave ourselves the chance to make them follow on. When you achieve personal milestones, it’s certainly not just down to yourself.
“It’s certainly down to the way the team plays and the position we, as a team, managed to get ourselves into because that dictated how we could attack and go about winning the game.
“There is always a bigger picture when you achieve personal milestones.”
Question: You followed it up with 6-53 in the next game against Durham?
Charlie Morris: “We started the season really well. Everyone has said how disappointed we are at how the red ball season has gone as a whole.
“But we couldn’t have got off to a better start and we certainly didn’t take our foot off the gas or anything like that.
“Looking back, we then played Lancashire and Jimmy Anderson had a good game and then, with Middlesex at home, we were in that game for most of the time and then we had Lancashire again with Anderson performing well.
“When you have one of the greats of all time bowling against you, and in bowler friendly conditions, that was tough in a couple of those games.
“We started off so well. Maybe our confidence took a bit of a hit and the fact we had been bowled out for some low scores in those couple of games through no fault of anyone’s specifically. Winning is a habit and losing is a habit.
“It is hard to say exactly but maybe we lost a bit of confidence from those games but we were up against a very good side and one of the best bowling attacks in the country in both divisions, I would say with what Lancashire have at the minute.
“Some tough games there but, at the same time, that is the level we need to be competing at and winning because that’s where we want to go as a club. We want to be up in Division One like we have done so many times over the last few years and we want to stay there.
“We understand that’s where we need to get better and that’s going to be a real focus this winter. Our white ball cricket has been excellent for a sustained period and that’s not something we are going to take our eye off the ball with.
“We want to win more trophies and be the white ball side we know we are but equally we understand our red ball cricket really needs to improve.”
Question: The bowling attack did well as unit apart from odd sessions in games where it didn’t quite click?
Charlie Morris: “I think we’ve been very good for large parts but when we’ve let it slip we’ve really let it slip. We’ve de-briefed and discussed it in our end of season meetings and what we need to do.
“Good bowling attacks don’t let that happen. They keep the pressure on for 95 per cent of the time all through the game.
“There is no doubt we’ve done it at times this year and coming into next season we are aiming to be more consistent as a bowling unit in terms of applying that pressure for a longer period of time because that’s what you have to do in red ball cricket.
“There is no middle ground really. That’s why you end up losing sessions and ultimately games of cricket.
“But, having said that, we’ve got some really exciting bowlers coming through. Finchy, Dillon and obviously Tonguey when he has played has done exceptionally well this year.
“The likes of Leachy and Barny took 40 odd wickets themselves.
“We’ve put in some great bowling performances and we will build confidence on that.”
Question: No-one goes out to bowl loose spells?
Charlie Morris: “No-one wants to go out there and go at five runs an over for a session in the same way as the batting unit don’t want to be 50-5.
“It’s not down to a lack of efforts in the nets.
“We’ve certainly come up against some tough and challenging conditions at times and everyone wants to do their best, take five-for everytime they bowl or hit a hundred everytime they bat.
“Clearly we haven’t managed to do that consistently enough this last season but certainly from the bowling side of things, we’ve discussed how we are going to go about our winter and put some really good ideas on what direction we need to go in.”
Question: In T20, you broke into the Rapids side for the first time in three years and played in the quarter-final, semi-final and final?
Charlie Morris: “I’ll be honest. I was nervous in the quarter-final mainly because I was aware I hadn’t played a game since 2016 and to come in a crucial game like that…the main thing is I didn’t want to let the guys down by having a bad performance.
“I’d like to think my white ball cricket has come on a lot over the last couple of years since I dedicated some more specific practice to developing my white ball skills.
“It was amazing to be involved in the quarter-final and then finals day, I’ll never forget it. It was an incredible experience.
“Obviously not the result we wanted but it’s a win-win when you experience days like that as a professional cricketer. It’s awesome, it really is, just incredible, and memories that will live with you forever.”
Question: You want to push on in T20?
Charlie Morris: “Absolutely. I’d love to play some more T20 cricket for the club. The 50 over comp went well this year and I bowled well upfront.
“I’m happy with that and I’d love to crack on with my T20 cricket and just keep working at it.
“We’ve got a very good white ball squad. Parny is a world class bowler, Browny has been picked for England and is a world class player and Barny has been consistent over the past few years playing T20 cricket for the club.
“We’ve got some very good bowlers and I’ll just keep working and hopefully I’ll get a chance to play some more next year if I keep developing my skills and put my name in the hat.