Last week was one of the most frustrated I have felt on a cricket pitch. In their second innings, we had Worcester 34 ahead of us 7 wickets down when Jack Shantry strolled to the crease. In the first innings he had hung around well for a battling 20.

In that innings he hadn't played the short ball particularly well at all. Stuart Meaker had bowled with real pace and aggression at him and in the end he was caught under the helmet at silly mid off. I don't think anyone in the whole ground therefore expected what was to follow.

He adopted a whole new technique to facing Meaks, probably through a combination of realising the first one hadn't worked and also a little bit of fear. This time he was jumping to the leg side and swatting at every ball.

The biggest problem was that he was hitting it both sides of the wicket, it was just so unorthodox. I think if Meaks was able to bowl at him again he would want to execute better and after he had faced 35 balls he had raced to 50 and was now 'in'.

He was now playing properly whilst still being aggressive and when Mitchell Mclenaghan came in and paddle swept Jade Dernbach it seemed like we could be out there even longer!

Jack was eventually left not out on 101 his maiden first class hundred. Credit to him, he realised his team were 'without paddle' and bought a ticket. All this having got 5 wickets in the first innings.

Nonetheless we went out to bat needing 217 to win and stay in the hunt (just about) for promotion. We were 124-2 at lunch and seemingly cruising to the win. Cue that man Jack Shantry, he came back on to take a further 5 wickets to make it 10 in the game. We were beaten by 28 runs.

We should never have lost that game at New Road. We dominated the game, won every session bar two and came out on the losing side. Just before Shantry came back on the umpires changed the ball because it was out of shape.

We had worked so hard to get that first ball soft at the top of our innings and now had to start again with a newer harder one. It definitely contributed to our downfall and is something the ECB need to look at.

The quality of the balls this year have been terrible, at least two balls a match have been changed and until Dukes have some serious competition for the market then they are under no pressure to provide the best they can.

Having said that, even with the change of ball and Worcester finding their new IT Botham, we still should have won the game, of that there is no doubt. Losing it meant we also lost our slim hope of promotion and suddenly what looked like a month ago could be a very good season has now all but finished with no silverware.

Getting to finals day was an achievement, yes and there has been definite progression in our four day game and the way we go about our cricket. The emergence of Jason Roy into international cricket is another positive.

The way Rory Burns and Zafar Ansari have played at the top of the order has also been pleasing. We have the most batting bonus points in the country. One thing that sticks out as an area of improvement needed is our ability to control the game with the ball, I'm not talking about cleaning sides up for nothing but if you look at the best bowling attacks in the country they make the opposition work so hard for their runs.

We have the talent, no doubt. In Matt Dunn, Tom Curran and Chris Tremlett we had attack mid season that had begun to hit their straps before the latter two picked up season ending injuries. Our batting needs work too though, if we want to be competing for the highest honour in years to come then we must be dominating attacks in this division every week and while this year it's been good, next must be even better.

The Ireland 18 man touring squad was announced yesterday and there were few surprises. It was great to see Peter Chase in the 18, I've said before how we crave bowlers that can but batsmen on the back foot and selecting him is a recognition of that.

I think this is a hugely important tour for everyone, we are going to be playing at same grounds as Feb/march next year and it should be against good opposition. It's a pretty hectic winter we have coming up but Cricket Ireland are always searching for more fixtures and going in to this World Cup we should be better prepared than ever.

It would be wrong to not mention the league winners back home this weekend and how delighted I was to see Instonians pick up the trophy. I've always been a great admirer of Inst....

Seriously though, congratulations to Neil Russell and his team.