Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Glos in with a fighting chance after David Payne batting masterclass

Day 3: Gloucestershire 304 and 308 for 9 v Hampshire 422.

Gloucestershire will begin day 4 against Hampshire with a glimmer of hope of victory thanks to a gritty 84 not out from Hamish O'Marshall and some late order biffing by James Fuller and David Payne.

Earlier in the afternoon Glos had slumped to 216 for 8, but a partnership of 92 between Marshall and Payne has at least given Gloucestershire's boundary board bowlers a fighting chance.

Marshall in particular showed real application in his 193 ball vigil as he managed to occupy the crease whilst watching wickets tumble at the other end. The decision to field only 5 batsmen always leaves you vulnerable to collapses and when Gidders departed for a fluent 72 Glos went from 124 for 3 to 216 for 8. Not quite the 5 wickets for 12 runs of the first innings, and in these terms an over 400% increase in the return for 5 wickets. Still, it's hardly the stuff of champions. David Payne proceed to then show exactly when he was in the side with a superb knock of 44 including two reverse swept boundaries from the part time off spin of Michael Carberry. Having heard the news that Sam Robson had made a hundred for Middlesex we presume Carberry is now eyeing up the vacant spinners role as his only chance of ever playing test cricket again.

Earlier in the day Matt Taylor took his first first class 5 wicket haul and finished with excellent figures of 5 for 75. Hopefully the start of more to come from the promising young left armer.

Can Glos win it from here? Well, stranger things have happened but you suspect that this bowling attack doesn't have what it takes. We'll be happy to be proved wrong. But then we'd also be happy if James Fuller manages to go for less than a run a ball. The Jessop Tavern is easily pleased.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Glos crumble under Vince's onslaught….and before it

"This is how it feels to be Gloucestershire.
This is how it feels to be small.
This is how it feels when your team wins nothing at all"

Working in an office where radio 2 is the only approved radio station means that the Jessop Tavern is awash in a bit of britpop at the moment and, whilst the Inspiral Carpets aren't strictly a britpop band, the sentiment for Gloucestershire fans is true enough after a very disappointing second day of the season.

When the Jessop Tavern wrote yesterday about 400 we naturally now apologise for the typo. Poised on 292 for 5 overnight the Jessop Tavern of course meant that the boys would be looking to scrape their way to 300. Losing 5 wickets for 12 runs to hand the incentive to Hampshire was bad enough. To then manage to concede 400 in a days play is inexcusable.

We can't think of any other sport where by your team can go from looking so good to so utterly bad in the space of a day, and within the same match, as county cricket. It's wonderfully unpredictable, even if it means sitting on the edge of your seat wondering when your team's next bout of crapness is coming along. As all sports fans know, you have to take the rough with the smooth. As every Gloucestershire fan knows, you have to take the bad with the very bad. It's going to be a long summer.

Already in this match we have seen plenty of promise from youngsters like Will Tavare, and we know that the youngsters at the bottom of the order will have learnt a tremendous amount about contributing important runs. These same bowlers will also have learnt a lot about the correct lines and lengths to bowl at quality batsmen at this level. It is still a learn experience for these youngsters…..

Sorry. We thought we writing for the official site for a moment.

Yes, some of this team are still young but James Fuller has been in the first team for enough seasons now to not be going for over 6 an over. Captain Klinger bemoaned the lack of bowling as a unit. Where as Will Gidman and youngster Matt Taylor returned respectable figures of 4-66 and 4-75 respectively, the rest of the attack was bobbins. James Vince is a very talented young batsman who is finally looking like a real cricketer as opposed to a blaster, but he can't have scored many easier hundreds. 

To add to the disappointment, Glos actually did have Hampshire at 216 for 6 in the afternoon. The boys will now need to bat very well second time around to give this bowling attack anything to go at in the fourth innings.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Tavare shows the old timers how it's done

Day 1: Glos 292 - 5 v Hampshire

Gloucestershire's batsmen batted like it was 2013 as they made there merry way towards a late first innings collapse by posting an encouraging 292 for 5 on day 1 of their 2014 campaign.

On his championship debut, Will Tavare made all the headlines by ending the day 135 not out. His knock was even more impressive as he helped steady Gloucestershires ship at several points throughout the day, something he'll no doubt become accustomed to doing throughout the season. Chris Dent departed early but Tavare and Klinger put on 163 for the second wicket to make sure Glos got a foothold in the match. With Tavare then nearing his hundred, Klinger departed and the old experienced heads of Gidders and O'Mish headed to the middle one-by-one to calm young Will's nerves and help him to his debut ton. 10 minutes later and both Gidders and O'Mish clearly felt they had imparted all of their wisdom and so off they trotted without bothering to add any runs to the scoreboard. Clearly something that O'Mish said must have struck home as soon afterwards Tavare was down the picture and smashing Liam Dawson for 6 to bring up his ton. O'Mish was seen on the balcony applauding ruefully at the thought that Tavare had disobeyed his instruction to have a swing and get yourself out cheaply when you are well set.

Will Gidman then helped Tavare add another 103 for the fifth wicket before he fell just before the close of play. It will now be left to Tavare, Cameron Herring and the bowlers to get the score up to 400.

The day had begun with the surprise inclusion of 19 year old Matt Taylor as the fourth seamer. Ian saxelby had been mooted for a potential return, but apparently he pulled something in the shower in the morning. Taylor's selection actually was down to the pitch conditions. Taylor has been mentioned as the new Mike Smith, and whilst we enjoy having the option of a left arm seamer we do wonder whether anyone knew that David Payne had also been selected?! Alternatively maybe Gloucestershire are going to issue in a new, Mitchell Johnson inspired era where-by every county goes desperately searching for a left arm quickie. Who knows!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

2014 Season Preview: Same same but different?

Here we go, another year and, despite England's monumentally herculean attempts to suck all love out of cricket supporters in this country, the start of the county championship almost seems like welcome respite from the rather unprecedented fall from grace the national team has suffered in the past 6 months.

Gloucestershire appear to have approached the 2014 season with very much a, 'if it ain't fixed, don't….' Oh, hold on. That's not quite right.

The off season has seen has seen Glos manage to successfully add absolutely no new faces to a squad that performed manfully last year without really threatening to look like promotion candidates in the championship or trophy winners in white ball cricket. The familiar lines about young players coming good this year has been heard once more emanating from Nevil Road (behind the sound of the builders)

Gloucestershire fans are now very familiar with this line. We invest nothing in the playing squad, enabling money to be ploughed into the ground redevelopment which will enable us to host the occasional one day international against Zimbabwe or, heaven forbid the Netherlands!

Still, let's not grumble too much. The Jessop Tavern actually supports the idea of investing time in blooding young cricketers and we would certainly much rather watch David Payne be rubbish than Jon Batty. Oh hold on, we did have to watch Jon Batty. It is an admirable approach to building a sustainable cricket club in the modern era, even if the results haven't quite been there.

The squad does have potential. Last year the bowling department really struggled to back up a batting unit that contained 4 men who passed 1,000 runs in the championship. Will Gidman once again led the way with 50 wickets, and whilst Craig Miles burned brightly at the start of the season, he faded in the second half due to a combination of being over bowled and being worked out by batsmen. It will be interesting to see whether Miles continues his progression this season, or if he falls back amongst the Liam Norwells of this world. Speaking of Norwell, both he and David Payne now really need to step up. It has been a few years now since they both emerged, excitingly into the first team. Both have plateaued since and require reviving.

Both Miles Hammond and Graeme McCarter will push them for first team cricket and at least one of these four really needs to have a breakthrough season if Gloucestershire are going to consistently take 20 wickets. Then there is Ian Saxelby. The Sax should be back after injury ruined his 2013 season. Whether he can return to top form will also play a big part in Gloucestershire's season.

In the spin department,…..ah, forget it. Lets not even bother going there. Tom Smith has been retained to hold up an end and Jack Taylor has put his dart board away and learnt how to bowl properly, well at least that's what the ECB say!

The batting, and this is hard for the Jessop Tavern to say, is the strength of the squad. 1,000 runs for captain Klinger, Gidders, O'Mish and Dent should be repeated again this year. Dent in particular needs to back-up finally breaking through as a batsman of real substance in 2013. Benny, the House and Gareth Roderick provide able backup. In Division 2 there is no excuse for this lot not to fill their boots again. This being Glos though we fully expect to watch Klinger wilt under the pressure of setting fields to too many four-ball bowlers, Gidders to score meaningless hundreds late in the season after failing to assert himself at the start of the campaign and for O'Mish to revert back to scoring lots of pretty 30s.

So what can we expect trophy wise!? Last season the t20 was a shambles and it is difficult to see it being any different. The lack of experience or variety in the bowling attack and a lack of firepower in the batting means that it is hard to picture Glos doing much better this season. Still, at least we won't have to watch Dan Christian this year. The return of 50 over cricket is probably the best chance of really challenging for silverware and, if everyone can stay fit, then a promotion challenge is a distinct possibility.

On a final note, it will be interesting to see who else gets blooded from the academy. It is all well and good to invest nothing in the squad and place your faith in an academy system, as we have already said this is a highly commendable way to run a cricket club. However, such sustainability relies on having a convey belt of talent coming from the academy. Who the next young thing will be is perhaps the most exciting thing Gloucestershire fans have to look forward to.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Gloucestershire batsmen queue up to swing from O'Mish's hangman's noose

YB40: Somerset beat Gloucestershire by 12 runs.

It's big. It's mean. It's made of a lot of glass and appears to have the worlds longest balcony that should enable clueless corporate hospitality guests to have an almost constant ability to wander behind the bowlers arm. Oh yes, the new, and imaginatively named, 'Bristol' pavilion opened today. Regardless as to what we think, it does appear fairly impressive. We particularly like the 'Hamish O'Marshall hangman's scaffold' on the right hand side of the roof. Hamish will hopefully be seen frequently swinging from this after playing yet more inappropriate shots when well set.

And so to the cricket.

In the end the result didn't matter. Warwickshire decided to field a team without any bowlers against Northants meaning that David Willey was able to plunder away. This helped Northants to a comprehensive win that pushed their run-rate above anything Gloucestershire could match. When news filtered through that Glamorgan had also won it appeared that the Gods have decreed that the Jessop Tavern View would not be heading to Lords this season.

Nevertheless, Gloucestershire's youngsters gave their more illustrious neighbours a decent game in front of a packed crowd at the county ground. Despite Trescothick and Kieswetter getting Somerset off to a 10 an over flier, Gloucestershire's bowling attack took wickets in clusters to restrict Somerset to what seemed a below par score of 258 for 9. Tom Smith capped a solid bowling effort from the whole unit with a hat trick, split over two overs. David Payne also returned fine figures of 3 for 35 from his allotted 8 overs.

In reply Gloucestershire got off to the best possible start putting on 63 for the opening wicket. Both Klinger and O'Mish appeared to be well set when Marshall danced down the pitch to new overseas mercenary Piyush Chawla and heaved a straight forward catch down the throat of Lewis Gregory. Chris Dent also got himself in, and then out, again caught trying to force the pace on a slightly two paced pitch that never made boundary scoring a straight forward proposition. Captain Klinger perished shortly after to a slightly dubious catch taken by the aforementioned Chawla.

Ian Cockbain and Gidders  then also put Gloucestershire in position to push for glory, but when Cockbain fell for 39 and Gidders for 41 the queue to have a swing on O'Mish's scaffold atop the new pavilion was making use of all the generous room afforded by the overly large balcony. It's difficult to chase any decent total when your top 5 all score more than 30 but less than 41. If one of the top five had gone on, then Glos probably would have won. In the end we were saved the heartbreak of winning the match and then realising we had failed to qualify for the semi-finals.

Gloucestershire now need to make sure that the rest of their season doesn't come off the rails like it did after last year's t20 quarter final defeat. This will begin with Wednesdays championship match against Essex.

Video highlights from the game below:

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Rain grants Glos 3 extra points in promotion push

Result: Glos drew with Kent.

A combination of rain, Gareth Roderick and some plucky rearguard defence from the tail saw Gloucestershire home to a vital draw in this highly contrived version of a game that bore some relation to cricket, but was a couple of cans short of being a proper cricketing 6 pack.

Declaring their first innings on 80, then allowing Kent to declare on 4 in their second innings, thus leaving Glos to chase 399 to win, all based on an apocalyptic weather forecast. Like we said, something like a game of cricket, but not quite an actual game of cricket.

In chasing their target Glos made a complete pigs-ear of it, managing to reduce themselves to 41 for 4 and 138 for 6. At this point only Roderick and the tail stood between Kent and only their second win of the season (win number one came against Glos at Cheltenham in a similarly contrived match) Coming into the match, 21 year old Saffer-born keeper Roderick had 280 runs at an average in the low 30s. Reasonable enough stats that were clearly backed up with enough promise for him to have been given a go at batting at number 3, something he didn't exactly look at ease with. Roderick batted with great patience to compile his maiden first class hundred in 5 hours. If Roderick can finish the season strongly then the Gloucestershire wicketkeeping gloves should be his for the foreseeable future.

Credit must also go to Tom Smith who batted for almost two hours for his 32. David Payne, Craig Miles and Liam Norwell all did their bit to help Roderick carry the game over into a fourth day.

And then came the rain.

All of Roderick's hard work, combined with the rain actually mean diddly-squat. Glos gain 3 extra points than if they had lost. Gloucestershire are now 32 points adrift of the promotion spots and sit 4th in the table, a point behind Essex who we play on Wednesday. Realistically promotion looks a tough bet, and would probably require us to win all 4 of our remaining fixtures, including against table topping, and unbeaten, Lancashire. If Glos could cement 4th in the table, the Jessop Tavern would be mighty chuffed.

Video highlights from Day 3 below:

Friday, 23 August 2013

A long road ahead for England/the 'Shire

Gloucestershire 80 for 0 trail Kent 474 (Stevens 126, Harmison 106, Key 53) by 394 runs

Gloucestershire are facing something of a mountain to climb after two days of toil in the field at Canterbury. You know it's a flat deck when Ben Harmison gets a hundred against you and that's exactly what happened on Day 1. This was followed today by a ton for the ICC's favourite, Darren Stevens and some late order runs which boosted the Kent total to a healthy 474 all out.

Glos will be disappointed to have allowed such a bottom-heavy batting card, having reduced 2nd from bottom Kent to 46-3 and 113-4 on Day 1. The attack did ok, but the change seamers Payne and Norwell again went for more than 4 runs per over each, which considering they bowled 49 overs between them is a lot of runs to ship. What we find disappointing is that if 18 year old Craig Miles is capable of going for under 4 an over in his first full season, why are Norwell and Payne, both now beyond rookie status, not capable of 'bowling dry' as well?

It says a lot about the others that Benny Howell's military medium was required for 19 overs as well. Tom Smith managed only 7 overs for 15, which doesn't say much for either the pitch or Klinger's confidence in our latest spinner.

There were more positive signs when Glos batted, with Corporal Klinger and Chris Dent continuing their nascent opening partnership and taking us to 80 without loss at the close. A lot of batting is required to see us to safety and beyond and you would say that only two results are likely at this stage of the game, a draw or a Kent victory.

On the plus side, some time has already been lost to rain and the weather forecast isn't looking that promising for the next two days.

In many ways this game has mirrored the 5th Test at the Oval. Lose the toss and witness the opposition rack up almost 500, with hundreds from a perennial underachiever and a dasher with a unorthodox technique. Then face some tricky overs before the close on Day 2. the only difference is that the Aussies have Nathan Lyon whereas Kent only have James Tredwell. On second thoughts, these matches are identical!

Video Highlights from Day 2: