Eye on the County Championship: Roses game will be 'spicy' and hopefully as intense as our last clash

 

We're off to Headingley today for the Roses match. It's the first one for three years in the Championship. You want to win every game but there is always that bit of extra bite with this match. It has a special vibe. You feel proud to be a Lancastrian playing against Yorkshire.

It's in the nature of both teams to play hard cricket, and sometimes things can boil over. We try to play within the sprit of cricket and I don't think things ever get really out of hand; occasionally it can get a bit spicy, but that just shows how much both teams want to win. There will be lads on both sides who have been playing against each other going right back to age-group games.

We beat them home and away in 2011, our title-winning year. I played in the Headingley game in July and there was a lot of tension between the players on that occasion. We had them 45 for 8 in the first innings after we'd scored 300-plus, but they ended up getting 200.

In the fourth innings they needed 280-odd to win. They were 170 for 8 but got to 260 before we bowled them out. I can't remember many games where the atmosphere has been so intense.

We need a similar performance this time. We are playing good cricket in patches but have to string those patches into more consistent performances.

There have been stories about Freddie Flintoff making a playing comeback in Twenty20. I don't know when, but as far as I know there is a plan for him to play if he can. He's been around the set-up for the Twenty20 this season, coming into the dressing room. He is a great person to have around.

He has bowled a bit in the nets and he still has pace, he can still put it around your earhole. If he plays it will be a bonus but if he doesn't I think we have a competitive squad anyway.

I've been impressed with Jordan Clark, a young lad with a big future ahead of him. He smacked 40 off 20 balls against Notts and had a match-winning spell with the ball against Worcestershire. He is a genuine all-round cricketer. He bowls with good pace and control and last year he hit six sixes in a Second XI Roses match at Scarborough, so he can strike a cricket ball as well.

Tom Smith plays for Lancashire

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