February: it's dark, cold and beginning to snow - which makes it an ideal time to start thinking about the season ahead. This Sunday sees the mighty Heath reconvene after a well-earned winter's rest for the first pre-season practice of 2013.
Sadly, we're not jetting off to Mumbai to acclimatise to turning pitches and boisterous crowds, but to the indoor nets of the Beacon School. There is a slight problem with pre-season net practice at the Beacon and that is that the indoor nets are so bouncy as to turn ropey long-hops into vicious bouncers and all shots apart from the cut completely unfeasible.
Unfortunately, what this means is that for the first match of the season our bowlers invariably dig it in half-way down a water-logged pitch and get dispatched to the boundary, whilst our batsman loiter on the back-foot as if it's Day 1 at the WACA, only to get comprehensively bowled by one that fails to rise above the ankles. Ah, the joys of village cricket.
It's customary a this time of year for me to set some personal targets for the year ahead, but looking back over the past few seasons, they are always the same (score a fifty, don't bowl dross, don't drop too many) and I always fail to meet them, so this year, like a public sector middle manager, I'm going to make my targets far more achievable: play the cricket sometimes, win some of it, do ok sometimes, drink at the Plough, turn up to the Beer Festival.
Oh and I'm vaguely thinking of getting my bat made lighter, in the vain belief that this will rectify my horribly creaky technique.
2013: it's going to a cracker.