ED POLLOCK struck immediate form with a blistering half-century on Sunday as Birmingham Bears stepped up preparations for the Vitality Blast campaign.
The planned T20 double-header against Staffordshire at Portland Road was restricted to one innings by rain which arrived after the Bears batted in the first game.
However, that was at least enough time for the batters to show good form, led by Pollock.
He struck 51 off 23 balls (seven fours, two sixes) and lively contributions from Liam Banks (33, 24 balls), Adam Hose (32, 17), Alex Oxley (37 not out, 22) and Vikai Kelley (28 not out) lifted the Bears to 211-5 from their 20 overs.
“It was great to get some runs first time out,” said Pollock. “It was a typically good Portland Road wicket and nice to feel the ball coming off the middle of the bat.
“It’s been a long wait and we have all hit so many balls in the nets – it was just fantastic to be playing a match again.
“Like everybody, I just can’t wait for the Vitality Blast campaign to arrive. It will be really interesting this season to play in the Central Group against some teams we haven’t played against much recently.
“There are some very strong teams in there so it will be a really exciting competition.”
The Bears will start their Blast campaign against one of the strongest teams, Somerset, at Edgbaston on Friday (6.30pm).
Rain at least allowed the batters a hit on Sunday, although it then closed in before a bowling attack including Jeetan Patel, Henry Brookes and George Garrett could get a white-ball workout.
Pollock, at least, showed he has emerged from this challenging summer in good form with the bat.
“It has been very strange,” he said. “I approached this season with a plan to score enough 2nd XI runs to batter down the first team door, so it has been frustrating, but you always have to remember what a lot of people have gone through this year. It’s just good to be playing cricket again.”