Surrey may be stepping up in class this summer, but all-rounder Matt Spriegel has no intention of losing that winning feeling.
Spriegel hit the winning runs as the Lions lifted the Clydesdale Bank 40 trophy at Lord’s in September, but was largely a bystander in the four-day game last summer as Surrey, under cricket manager Chris Adams, secured a return to the Division One of the LV= County Championship – which started yesterday with the visit of Sussex.
It is in stark contrast to when Spriegel started his Surrey career in a team that could barely buy a win in any form of the game.
And the 25-year-old, not included in the team to play Sussex, is not about to let that winning feeling slip away.
“There is a risk of it being second season syndrome for us, but we’ve got a different challenge this year,” he said.
“First Division cricket is something we are excited about and defending our trophy is going to be tough.
“Although the last two or three years haven’t been pretty to look at in terms of results, the work we have put in in that time culminated in that last month of the season. “People cannot forget that, because that is what got us to where we are.
“Personally, I had a really good year in the 40-over competition and to score the winning runs at Lord’s is a feeling I will never forget.
“The challenge is now to get into the four-day side and cement a spot in that as well.”
And it is that hard work he hopes pays off when it comes to getting known as a cricketer for all seasons and not just limited over cricket.
“I did myself more good in the last month than I had done in the previous four years,” he added.
“It makes a difference when you win games and win trophies on television.
“When you are putting performances in, in a winning side, people start to sit up and take notice.
“I’ve put those sort of performances in for the past four years, but they haven’t been noticed.
“And the fact you are playing in a winning team makes it more rewarding.”
Chris Tremlett, Jade Dernbach, Steven Davies, Stuart Meaker and Kevin Pietersen have all been involved in either the England or England Lions set-ups in the past two years but Spriegel is confident call-ups will not derail his side’s attempts to stay up.
“When we get call-ups we’ve got people who can not just fill-in, but make match winning contributions when they do come in,” he said.
“Everyone hates losing and it makes it easier to get out of bed when you are going to games expecting to win.”