Monday, 12 September 2011

Glos beat Leics to keep promotion hopes alive

Gloucestershire 394 and 54 for 0 beat Leicestershire 135 and 311 (f/o) by 10 wickets 

The Jessop Tavern View has decided to respond to recent (parental) criticism regarding 'having given up on the blog' by hitting back with a bumper series of two posts summarising the recent Leicestershire match and the in progress Northants match. First up, a thumping 10 wicket win over the hapless Leicestershire at Bristol.

This was a solid performance which lead to a good win over a crap side. High points included David Payne's career best match figures of 9-96 and yet more all round contributions from the mighty Will Gidman. It is hard to believe that a man let go by Durham has now scored 977 runs and taken 45 wickets in his first season of Championship cricket. Great stuff and surely the signing of the season. Praise must go to King John for having the vision to bring him in and back him to succeed.

It looks unlikely that Glos will manage to achieve promotion next week. We will need to win against 2nd placed Northamptionshire and then have the Surrey result go in our favour as well. The boys must be congratulated for continuing to fight for promotion when other, this blog included, had given up on our prospects several weeks back. The win against Glamorgan and Leicestershire have at least given us a shot going into the last game of the season. You can't ask for much more than that from a youthful side.

Videos from the match below:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Where are we...?

The last time we were writing there was still optimistic talk of promotion for the young Gloucestershire side. Summer holidays out of the way it is time to reengage with the final month of the season and see where the boys have got to in our absence.

After the cruel defeat against Surrey at Cheltenham the Shire then took a bit of a pasting against Derbyshire. A very poor first innings led to Glos following on. The second innings saw the boys make a bit of a fight of it and arguably could have set Derbyshire far more than the 110 they eventually set. Dent, Williamson, Taylor and the skipper all got themselves in....and then out without posting a match turning score.

Next up in the championship were Essex at Colchester. Again a below par first innings put Glos behind the game. Slightly greedily Essex ended up setting us 388 to chase in two and a half sessions. At 98 for 5 they didn't look quite so greedy, but then a bit of rain and a brilliant hundred from Chris Taylor, accompanied by a dogged fifty from 'the other' Gidman helped salvage Gloucestershire a draw.

That leaves Glos third in the table, 23 points behind second place Middlesex who also have a game in hand. Realistically, any chance of promotion is now down to Middlesex having a bit of a wobble. We don't reckon Middlesex have enough Saffers in their team for that sort of a choke. Having said that, there game in hand is currently into its second day against league leaders Northants. Perhaps Northants can do us a favour and give Middlesex a thumping to at least keep the promotion race a little bit interesting.

In other news. Captain Marvel confirmed that he is isn't a scorer of cheap runs with a hundred against the Unicorns. As if to emphasise the point, Hamish O'Marshall also scored runs.

Chris Taylor's hundred against Essex also took him passed 1,000 runs for the season for the third time in his career. Sadly Taylor is still out of contract at the end of the season and rumours have already begun that the vultures down the road in Somerset have been circling. Kaiser Tom has denied this rumour but is reputed to have had a little chuckle when it was suggested that several minor counties have made enquiries about Hamish Marshall for next year.

Finally, we missed out on James Fuller being dumped from the squad at the start of the month for indiscipline. The club refused to comment on what the incident was exactly so as an internet blog we feel it only right to suggest that he was simply following in the tradition of other great Gloucestershire kiwis and was caught sleeping in his car due to gambling debts.

Right, that's about it. We are now off to curse our shitty BT tv deal for not including Sky Sports 3 for tonight's CB40 against Somerset.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Sperm donor leaves Glos after 17 years

So the second exodus has begun. Jon Lewis will be filling up those test tubes in a London clinic next season. Sperm banks in the Bristol area will need to find a new regular donor.

It is not a surprise that Lewis has left given the circumstances surrounding the inability of the club to discuss new contracts until September. As an experienced, proven pro, Lewis was inevitably going to be the first to be snapped up.

Losing such a long standing player as Lewis is obviously disappointing, and his guaranteed 50 wickets a year will definitely be difficult to replace. Yet we at the Jessop Tavern View don't feel like this is too damaging to the squad. By the looks of the young bowlers who have come through this year, the bowling in the academy is stronger than the batting. Alongside Saxelby, Payne and Will Gidman, who have become championship regulars, we also have Liam Norwell who took wickets in the early part of the season before picking up a back injury. Add to this list James Fuller who has looked like he has potential in the few one day outings he has had. There is also young Matt Taylor who made his debut during the Cheltenham fortnight. Whilst none of these kids are yet in Lewis' class, they also aren't 36 years old, nor will they be wanting the sort of money that Lewis would. It would have been nice to have had Lewis' experience for another year at least, but our trusting to youth should be praised in this case.

Our attention now switches to the batsmen. Will Taylor and O'Mish follow Lewis out of the extra large Gloucestershire exit door? The difference here is that there have been less signs of young batsmen coming through. Chris Dent and Ian Cockbain look like proper batsmen, but other than these two we haven't seen any other youngsters being thrown in to the now meaningless CB40 games. There is a feeling that both Jack Taylor and Ed Young look more like batsmen than allrounders, and the club may also be thinking that these guys could fill in the middle order. The question is, do we feel that we are getting value for money from Taylor and O'Mish? Taylor has been a pretty inconsistent championship performer over the years. Marshall has only passed 1000 runs once in five and a half seasons. Taylor has passed 1000 runs twice in 10 seasons. Are these the sort of statistics we should be desperate to keep hold off?

We wait to see what happens. The only thing we know for certain is this is a complete mess.

Promotion hopes stutter in thriller against Surrey

Day 4: Glos 286 and 320 v Surrey 423 and 186 - 8. Surrey win by 2 wickets.

Oh boys. The chance was there, and having fought so hard it seems even worse that we only walk away with 5 points. With Middlesex beating Derby a gap has now opened between the top two promotion places and the the chasing pack.

Gloucestershire really just needed one batsman to bat all the way through to lunch on the final morning. Had this happened then we would would have posted a more challenging total to Surrey, somewhere around 250 would have done the trick for their shot-a-ball dashers.

Sadly, despite having done brilliantly well to claw their way back into the game having been 117 for 5 in the first innings, Glos couldn't quite find the runs at the crucial time in the fourth innings. This is about the only time this season, in the county championship at least, that we have failed to produce at the crucial time. Considering that we have now entered August, we can forgive the lads.

All in all it was a brilliant match of very high quality, exciting cricket played by a load of young English players. However, the game was won by the wonderful first innings contribution of Mark Ramprakash, whose 141 was pretty much the difference between the sides. We won't mention who dropped him.......

Gloucestershire now roll on to Derby next week and will need to bounce back with a win if they are to keep their promotion hopes alive. This has been a hugely promising season so far for the Glos youngsters. It would be shame if the performances tailed off in the final month of the season.

Day 3 video highlights

Day 4 video highlights

Thursday, 28 July 2011

The hips punishes Coughtrie's miss

Day 2: Gloucestershire 286 v Surrey 392 - 8.

It could have been so different for Gloucestershire today. Having only made 4, Ramprakash pushed at a David Payne delivery slanted across him. Richard Coughtrie went diving across, one handed in front of the skipper at first slip, and shelled it. Had he left it then Gidman would have easily taken it. These things happen. Sadly though Ramps went on to score 141 and take Surrey to a first innings lead of 106. Bugger.

Gloucestershire plugged away manfully with a ball that did no where near as much as it had for Surrey the day before. Whether this was because of poor bowling or a pitch flattening out we shall discover tomorrow.

The most disappointing part of the day occurred in the 10 overs before the new ball was taken. At this point Surrey had just lost Gareth Batty at 263 for 7, and were in danger of conceding a first innings lead to Glos. Bizarrely, Captain Marvel decided that this was the time to rattle through a few quick overs and get to that new ball. Thus we were treated to 10 overs of O'Mish trundling in and poor Jack Taylor pursuing a negative leg stump line. It didn't work. Ramps and Arafat milked the easy bowling for almost 5 an over and by the time the new ball was taken the lead was already approaching 50. In what looked like being a very tight match this period of play could well prove decisive. The fact that the new ball then failed to make the breakthrough merely rubbed salt in the wounds.

Ramprakash's innings was a study in how to ease your way to a championship hundred. He constantly kept himself ticking over with quick singles on the off side. He maneuvered the ball around at will. He only looked to hit the bad ball. You have to wonder exactly what Messrs Hamilton-Brown, Davies, Maynard and Roy were all thinking as they watched 41 year old Ramps at work. All 4 of these extremely talented young guns had looked a million dollars before falling to loose and unnecessarily aggressive shots. We doubt Hamilton-Brown took in very much. He seemed far more interested in making several trips to the ice cream van at the end of the members enclosure. Does having a double barrelled name entitle you to having two flakes in your 99?

So where do Glos go from here? The Surrey fans around me were joking that Linley had been sent in to protect Dernbach so he can have a blast in the morning. Lets hope we can limit the lead to 120 and that the pitch continues to flatten out. O'Mish, Dent and Williamson all owe us runs. We hope that the slightly strange decision to play Jack Taylor in this match doesn't mean we end up ruing being a batsman short. Young Taylor obviously has some talent, but this appears to currently be more with the bat than with the ball. His round arm off spinners provided nothing that Kane Williamson couldn't have.

One final thought. Whilst sat watching Steven Davies at the start of play somebody around me sounded the question, 'Is Davies the only registered gay cricketer?' This begs the bigger question, does the ECB have such a register? Or should perhaps the Cricketer's Who's-Who start to include a question about sexual preference? Please let us know your thoughts.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Glos exodus: An alternative view

The Jessop Tavern View wrote recently about the potential loss of senior players Hamish Marshall, Chris Taylor and Jon Lewis. This situation could prove disruptive for a youthful Gloucestershire squad seeking promotion to Division 1 for the first time in years, but in the interest of balance, we would like to offer an different view on the situation.

Marshall, Taylor and Lewis are good pros and all three would be missed to varying degrees. You only have to rewind to the end of last season though, and a similar situation was occurring. At the time, the departures of the majority of our fast bowling attack seemed like a devastating blow which signalled the county's lack of ambition and, possibly more pertinently, money. Thinking about this with the benefit of hindsight however, the only player who has been a real loss to Gloucestershire is Steve Kirby. Gemaal Hussain has disappointed for Somerset, having failed to recreate last season's form on the flat pitches at Taunton. He is not currently in their Championship side. One could argue that at this point in his career, he is a prime example of a 'one season wonder'. William Porterfield scored his career-best 175 for us towards the end of 2010. He flattered to deceive throughout his Glos career though, and hasn't exactly been brilliant for Warwickshire so far, with 465 runs at 29. The less said about Anthony Ireland the better.

The point of this post was to look dispassionately at the potential departure of some of our senior players. It is worth suggesting that when John Bracewell was reappointed as coach towards the end of last season, he took a good hard look at personnel and contracts and made some tough decisions. Kirby, Hussain, Anthony Ireland and William Porterfield were out of contract at the end of 2010 and all had been subject to 28 day approaches by other counties. Bracewell and the Glos management may have taken a decision that it was worth losing these senior, but pricier, players in the hope of bringing through youth from the academy and elsewhere.

On to the case of Lewis, Taylor and Marshall. Jon Lewis has been a superb servant to Gloucestershire, but at almost 36 years old, will he take wickets on Division 1 pitches. Chris Taylor has had a good season, but it's his first one for a while. He's 34 and doesn't have many years left either. Hamish Marshall is a bit of a mystery.. In his first season in England he was top class, with 5 hundreds and 1200 runs. However, that was in 2006 and since then he has scored progressively fewer runs each season. This year, although limited to 5 Championship matches by family weddings and injuries, he has scored only 305 runs at 38 and is without a hundred. This is not the kind of record that makes an impoverished county desperate to offer you a new contract.

This is really the point with all three of the players above. You have to wonder whether any of them are up to Division 1 standard. They're good, but not great, and all are getting on a bit. It would be a great shame to see the back of Lewis, who has anchored the young seam bowling attack admirably, but at some point you have to say goodbye to even the longest-serving pros.

In summary then, perhaps the rumoured exodus of Glos players is not all bad. Fingers crossed that the new, younger generation of players have enough talent to deliver should we get promoted to Division 1. It will be a steep learning curve, but this season's performance have shown that the youngsters don't lack for fight.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Gloucester's youngsters shine again

CB40:  Gloucestershire 196 - 6 beat Essex 195 (37.5 overs) by 4 wickets.

Who cares if our CB40 challenge has already been long buried. This was another opportunity for the second string Glos youngsters to show what they have got. And clearly they've got plenty. Perhaps even more remarkably, the Jessop Tavern View was actually at the ground to witness this one!

It seems a perfectly logical approach to use this competition to blood some of the other youngsters. We know that some people would disagree and say we should play our strongest team, but when you are developing a new team it is important to develop the squad by giving some of the fringe players a chance.

Today's bowling attack had an average age of 20. That is frankly ridiculous. Yet did they look out of their depth against an Essex team riding high at the top of group C of the CB40 and including former England stars Ravi the bowler and Peg Leg Shah? Not one bit. In fact, they blew Essex away. Quite how Essex were allowed to put on 80 for the tenth wicket is anyone's guess. We'll put it down to inexperience. Matt Taylor did a decent job opening up. Heck he did an excellent job considering a week ago he was a nobody. James Fuller looked genuinely quite quick as he hurried Essex's top order into rash shots on his way to figures of 4 for 33. Craig Miles bowled with excellent control for his 2 wickets. Ed Young bowled a bit of a mixture to be honest, but got away with it. Kevin O'Brien isn't a bowler. The only criticism we can level at these young bowlers is that they made the Jessop Tavern View feel bloody old.

The experienced trio in the batting then did their best to chuck it away, as both Taylor and Williamson fell cheaply, whilst captain marvel got himself out when looking good. So did Chris Dent. It was left to Ian Cockbain to play his second impressive CB40 innings of the festival and steady the ship alongside a surprisingly mature innings from Kevin the Butcher. Clearly there is not a lot of love for O'Brien amongst the Gloucester faithful, particularly the guys sat around me at the chapel end, but give credit to the man. He reigned himself in and ticked off the runs with Cockbain. Cockbain looked in great form, which means he will surely play in the championship match against Surrey starting tomorrow.

All in all it was a fantastic performance from a very inexperienced side playing infront of a packed College ground. It really does bode well for the future to think that the young bowlers on display today are actual the ones who can't get into the championship side at the moment.

The Jessop Tavern View is full of positive thoughts in preparation for the important match against Surrey tomorrow. Lets hope for back to back Championship victories to set up that promotion push.

Friday, 22 July 2011

A second exodus?

It seems a shame to have to bring this up after such an accomplished win this afternoon, but it has been reported in the media that 3 of Gloucestershire's most experienced (and best) players are in contractual limbo. Chris Taylor revealed in an interview with BBC Gloucestershire that he has yet to be given any indication as to whether he will be offered a new contract when his present one runs out at the end of the season. It is believed that the Sperm donor and O'Mish are in the same situation.

Taylor explained that the reason for the lack of negotiations is to do with the ongoing ground redevelopment, or planned redevelopment, as no actual work is currently being carried out. "We've got the ground development going on", states Taylor, "and until those things are sorted out I don't think any contracts are being sorted out."

Ah, the ground redevelopment. We meet again.

It seems like a bizarre way for this story to come out. Clearly Taylor is frustrated by the lack of clarity (and respect) being shown to him regarding his future and felt that he wanted to speak out. It's not a great way for dirty laundry to be aired. Not that this is Chris Taylor's fault. If he genuinely hasn't been told what is happening to his future then this is a disgrace. The man has been a Gloucestershire player for 10 years and has scored over 12,000 runs for us. He's a former county captain.

If it is true about Lewis and Marshall then this is a very serious situation. Gloucestershire fans might have been willing to watch one exodus last year, to watch another one, at the end of a promising season, for the sake of a single one day international each year and a block of flats would be too much.

Needless to say there is nothing yet posted on the Gloucestershire website in response to this story. However, the Bristol Evening Post have run the story. Kaiser Tom Richardson is quoted as saying:

"What we have told all the players is that it will be difficult to close on any contract until September.
"We have a major ground development scheme going on and that goes to planning permission in September and governs how much we can set aside for our cricket budget.
"There are a number of players we want to close with and who we are actively discussing things with, but that is as far as we can go for now."

Whilst we fully understand the precarious nature of the clubs finances and the need for ground redevelopment, this latest development merely demonstrates again how poorly thought through the plans are. Sure, redevelop the ground, but do it in a way that does not have such a dramatic impact upon the cricket. I'm sure that all Gloucestershire fans have been delighted as we have over the progress of the team this season, and in particular the really positive impact that the youngsters have had. But would these kids have had the same effect if they had not been able to slide into a team alongside the likes of Taylor, Lewis and Marshall who have all been involved in international set-ups to some extent or another?

Kaiser Tom has already revealed that other counties have already been in contact regarding talking to Taylor, Marshall and, in particular, Lewis. It would seem that the only hope Gloucestershire have of holding on to these players is through their loyalty to the club. Fortunately all 3 are coming towards the end of their careers and it is to be hoped that they are enjoying the challenge of bringing through the next generation of Gloucestershire cricketers. However, I don't think any one of us would begrudge any of them seeking one final shot with a bigger county.

From what Kaiser Tom has said, it is quite possible that other counties will have offered their terms long before Gloucestershire are even able to begin thinking about new contracts. This would be absurd. If you were in Chris Taylor's position and another county offers you a deal for next season now, you would be almost forced to accept it if you want security as Gloucestershire will have no idea what their cricket budget will be until the autumn. Ludicrous.

Whilst we hope that the policy of investing in youth continues into the future, we'd hate to see these core, experienced players cast away and the teams development stunted because of the inability to pay experienced players. Whilst we can appreciate that it might be hard to offer contracts to all 3 of these players, it's to be hoped that at least 2 of them can be kept on board.

Like we have written elsewhere on this blog, we understand the difficult financial situation Gloucestershire find themselves in. We just don't agree with the proposed way of getting out of this mess. At the core of Gloucestershire cricket club is the cricket. Invest in this, not some ridiculous dream ground with 20,000 seats and a block of flats.

Glos end 10 year Cheltenham jinx

Day 3: Gloucestershire 515 v Kent 205 and 168.

Once again at Cheltenham a side amassed a huge first innings total and then the team on the receiving end rolled over and played dead. However, for the first time in 10 years at the college ground that team rolling over were not Gloucestershire. Incredible. Over the last 10 years Glos have been thumped in some of the most remarkable ways, last year against Worcester we even turned down the follow-on and comically found a way to lose, but the 10 year hoo-doo is finally lifted and the boys can now look forward to the rest of the festival.

The only negative was that Chris Taylor was unable to score the 8 runs he needed for his double century. If that's the only negative then you've had a pretty good day.

Kent on the other hand were abysmal. Actual they worse. They were a disgrace to themselves and the second division in the way they meekly lay down and died. God it feels good to not have to be writing that about Gloucestershire any more.

The Sperm donor started the carnage after lunch with 3 wickets in 5 overs and David Payne finished the job with a slightly expensive 4 for 60 as Kent through the bat.

Gloucestershire now move up to second in the table, all be it probably only until Middlesex completed victory over Surrey tomorrow. With Surrey next to visit Cheltenham in the championship Gloucestershire have the opportunity to emerge from the festival fortnight in a very positive position in the table.

Child's play for Taylor

Day 2: Gloucestershire 486 - 7 v Kent 205

So this is what it is like to support a good cricket team. Kent arrived at Cheltenham as a weak team, having a bad season and missing their best player and captain. Gloucestershire then put them to the sword. This is how it should be. So frequently in the past, and particularly at Cheltenham, this hasn't been the case.

A wonderful 192 not out from 'the child' Chris Taylor has put Glos in such a strong position that, barring rain, they will win from here. That's right, we will win.

In our midseason report we made the point that Taylor has been in splendid form all season, yet only had one hundred from 7 fifties until yesterday. Clearly 'the child' was none too happy about this return either and decided to cash in against a demoralised Kent. Taylor was well supported in the morning by Captain wonderful who fell to an ugly swipe across the line when on 79. It was a shame for Gidman who could have done with another big hundred to set himself up for the promotion push. Yep, that's right. The promotion push!

Since it is only the weather that can scupper a Glos victory from here, here's the weather forecast for the next 2 days in the Cheltenham area

Let's all now hope that Chris Taylor can get the 8 extra runs he deserves, and that the Sperm donor then has a comedy tonk to get the lead well past 350 before we roll them over.

With Middlesex, Surrey, Northants and Derby all looking like taking points off each other, this could turn out to be a very good week for the boys indeed.

Link to the day's highlights here.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Glos Cricket Radio - Back in business!!

Praise be to God! The return of the wonderful Glos Cricket Radio means that the Jessop Tavern View might actually be able to do more than just plagiarise various match reports by listening to how the boys are getting on!

Where actually Glos Cricket Radio went we have no idea, we only discovered they were back online at lunchtime today, but like all the true broadcasting giants they have no need to justify their behaviour!

Glos la la la blog

Midseason report - Bowling

Apologies for the delay in to the second part of our mid season review. Some unexpected hill walking opportunities in the Scottish Highlands were to blame.

So, the bowlers.

This was the one area that Gloucestershire fans thought we would really struggle. Losing quality performers such as Steve Kirby and Gemaal Hussain and jokers such as Anthony Ireland left us Glos fans scratching our heads, wondering where the wickets would come from. With the Sperm donor not getting any younger and Ian Saxelby missing most of 2010 we were told that a bunch of academy kids would fill the 100 odd wickets that Kirby et al had taken last year. Our back-up seamers over the last decade reads like a who's-who of shit county cricket players. Whether we ever fielded an attack that included Carl Greenidge, Mark Hardinges and Will Rudge we are uncertain, but just the thought sends the coldest of shivers down our spine.

So who were these academy kids? Well first to declare himself was Liam Norwell who took 6 for 46 in the first innings of his first class debut. Sadly for the 19 year old paceman he has been denied the chance to really build on this due to a stress fracture in his back. However, 12 wickets in his first 3 matches was more than enough to ease the fears of the Gloucestershire faithful. David Payne's impact was similarly explosive, taking 5 for 76 in the second innings of the opening round win against Derbyshire. Payne has perhaps not quite lived up to this beginning, but 17 wickets at 39 is a solid enough showing from a teenager. It is to be hoped that both these kids can develop into the bowlers Gloucestershire need.

The Sperm donor continues to roll along, perhaps not quite as destructive as he used to be, but his skills are still more than enough for this standard of cricket and his experience is vital to bringing the kids through.

The two real stand-outs from the first half of the season have been Ian Saxelby and Will Gidman. Saxelby showed lots of promise in 2009 before being ruled out of most of the 2010 season with a shoulder injury. This season he has simply picked up on all the promise he showed 2 years ago, taking 35 wickets at 25. 'The other' Gidman has filled the roll of the allrounder that is so vital to a balanced side. His 27 wickets have come at an average of 22.

The discovery of Will Gidman as a genuine allrounder would allow Gloucestershire the luxury of playing a spinner without altering the make-up of the team to much. Sadly Glos do have a spinner really worthy of the name. Thankfully, Vikram Banerjee seems to have been cast into the long grass and will probably be next seen again playing in that wonderful 'development' side the Unicorns. The spinners role seems to now be a straight fight between two more youngsters, Ed Young and Jack Taylor. Young was given the first opportunity at Grace Road, but the sight of Kane Williamson bowling 20 odd overs on the final day as Young twiddled his thumbs in the outfield summed up his contribution. Jack Taylor was given his chance to stake a claim in the previous championship match against Middlesex and had a starring role in the t20 win against Somerset. Both of these kids can bat, but whether one of them can turn themselves into a genuine, top quality spinner remains to be seen.

An honourable mention should also be made to Craig Miles who, at 16 years of age, made a very respectable start to his first class career as a late injury replacement for Liam Norwell.

There have been very few sightings of 'reputedly quick' New Zealander James Fuller, or Lance Corporal David Wade who must be wondering whether a second tour of Afghanistan was all that bad an idea having now sampled the delights of the second XI county circuit.

All in all the bowling department has been a resounding success. There seems to be a little bit of competition for places, and the youngsters who have come in have genuinely looked quite handy. If one of either Ed Young or Jack Taylor could make a strong case to be the recognised spin option over the second half of the season then the Jessop Tavern View would declare itself chuffed to bits with the bowling department.

'The Other' Gidman stars again

Day 1: Glos 107 - 3 v Kent 205

Glos began their quest to end their abysmal Cheltenham record in fine style as Will Gidman continues to impress in championship cricket with his maiden five wicket haul. Arguably things could have been even better for Gloucestershire having reduced Kent to 59 for 6 and having reached 91 for 1 ten minutes before the close of play. However, Darren Stevens and James Tredwell put on 83 for the seventh wicket, and a late evening shower helped Kent dismiss O'Mish and the gym instructor before the close of play.

Fit again captain marvel had tried to play down the importance of the Cheltenham festival to Gloucestershires press for promotion before the match. Whilst we agree with captain magnificent that promotion really should not be seen as an absolute must this season, we hope the boys are not completely apathetic about it. Win both our championship matches and we really would have to start talking about it.

We are running out of words to praise Will Gidman in his first season with us. Averaging 50 with the bat, and our leading run scorer, and now with 27 wickets to his name. If he'd have delivered just one of these set of stats we would have been delighted. To produce both really is remarkable from a man who had played just one first class match before this season.

It was disappointing to lose both Williamson and Marshall after both of them had starts yet again, but with enough batting still to come the boys should be able to push on towards 300 and give themselves a great chance to win their first championship match at Cheltenham in a decade.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Midseason report - Batting

With the neverending tedium of the T20 group stages finally drawing to a close we can now begin to look ahead to the rest of the season as Gloucestershire's youngsters try to build on their surprisingly strong start to the season. Let's not jinx things and mention promotion. We all know that we're just as capable of falling apart as building on early success. With 7 county championship games to play we thought that this was a good opportunity to cast aside the debacle disappointment of the T20 campaign and focus everyone's attention on what came before. First we'll take a look back at the batting.


Compared to last season this has been a massive improvement, but then again at this point last season we were still awaiting a Gloucestershire player to score a hundred in the county championship. This season 5 different players have hundreds to their names, but none of them have more than one. This pretty much sums up the batting in the first half of the season. Everyone has contributed reasonably well, but no one has dominated. Will Gidman has been the real surprise with 654 runs to his name at an average of 50.30. That's good enough to be the fifth heaviest run scorer in the division. I don't think anyone saw that coming when we signed up our skipper's kid brother from Durham.

The rest of the batting, to be brutally honest, reads exactly as it always does:

We've said this before, but why the hell do we think that an average of 30 odd is good enough in division 2 of the county championship? In particular Gidders, O'Mish and Williamson should all hang their heads. These are all guys who have been around international cricket to some extent. Two of these guys have test hundreds. How are they averaging in the mid 30's in division 2? It makes winning consistently so much harder when your top players don't put in big performances to win you games.

Right, that's the moaning out of the way. However, statistics never tell the full story. What the first half of this season has seen is that whenever an innings has been needed someone has produced one. The ability of the boys to scrap with the bat has been very encouraging. The days of capitulating meekly are hopefully behind us.

Dent - 221 runs, avg 31.
Still no hundreds for young Chris Dent, but still more than enough signs of promise to mean that this is not the major issue it could be. Still, if he gets to the end of the season without a hundred then some serious doubts will start to form in the young mans head. The Jessop Tavern View still isn't convinced he's an opener and feels he would be better served coming in down the order. However, the lack of another available opener means he'll likely be stuck there for the rest of the season.

O'Mish - 268 runs, avg 38.
Injury has meant that our converted Irishman has only played 4 games so these stats don't reflect very much. Bizarrely pushed up to fill the problematic openers slot O'Mish actually seems to have settled into this role pretty well considering he is a bit of a dasher. A strong second half of the season from O'Mish will be vital if Glos are to maintain their challenge.

Williamson - 371 runs, avg 33.
Visa problems and shift work in the club gym have meant that our overseas player has only managed 6 games so far. There have been signs of the talent. His hundred against Leicestershire showed the quality that the man has, but Gloucestershire-itis has meant he has not dominated on a consistent basis. He's a young man still learning the game so this is sort of to be expected. Like O'Mish, a strong second half of the season is needed.

Taylor - 600 runs, avg 35.
At the start of the season 'the kids' place was up for grabs, especially with Dent, Younger Gidders, Cockbain and Coughtrie all fighting with him for what looked like only 2 spots in the lineup. Injuries and Williamson's gym shifts gave him his chance and Taylor responded excellently. Only one hundred from seven times passed fifty is the only criticism. A better conversion rate and the kid would have been really flying.

Captain Marvel - 498 runs, avg 38.
His wonderful innings to win the game against Surrey is still fresh in our minds. Nearly 500 runs at 38 is respectable enough, but as we have written before, the man really should be in the upper echelons of batting in this division and not in the middle of the road. Come on skipper. Finish the season with 1200 runs at 50.

Cockbain - 403 runs, avg 28.
Not spectacular statistics, but for a young player who came from nowhere and was pressed into action as an emergency opener, we are very pleasantly surprised. His maiden hundred in the last county championship match against hundred can hopefully be the spring board for the rest of the season. How many chances he will get will be interesting, but competition for places is always very healthy.

Coughtrie - 275 runs, avg 17.
Like Cockbain, Coughtrie came from nowhere and was immediately pressed into opening the innings. The man was clearly not an opener and frequently looked like he couldn't hit the ball off the square, but he showed enough grit and resilience to hang around and this fortitude earned him the chance to show what he can do with the gloves and to hopefully end the tortuous Gloucesterhire career of Jon Batty.

The other Gidders - 654 runs, avg 50.
We've already waxed lyrically about the skippers younger bro. Like Taylor he probably should have more than the one hundred to his name, but from a guy who has batted in the lower middle order his signing has looked like a masterstroke. This is before we even mention his 22 wickets!

Batty - 179 runs, avg 17.
Started the season with the gloves and the opportunity to put behind him an abysmal 2010 season. All he has proved is that 2010 wasn't a blip. He's still got another year on his contract. The worst signing in Gloucestershire history?  

Sperm Donor - 405 runs, avg 31.
What makes the top orders stats so disappointing is the fact that the sperm donor has almost the same number of runs as most of them. Lewis has steadily improved his late order clubbing over the years, but clubbing is all that it is. It says a lot about the standard of bowling in the division that Lewis has 4 fifties to his name. If he is capable of consistent runs the top order should be feasting. However, Lewis late order heroics have made vital contributions this season. Is a maiden first class ton on the mans mind before retiring?

Selected others -
Both Saxelby and Payne have made handy contributions at times, and it is always useful to have tailenders who are not complete rabbits (although we can't help but feel that cricket is worse off with fewer complete rabbits around these days). Ed Young has shown he is more than capable with the bat, as has his spin bowling rival Jack Taylor. All in all, the lower order has done a good job.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


Gloucestershire v Middlesex: Match drawn.

In a crunch promotion battle Gloucestershire were perhaps a little bit negative in attempting to force victory. In the end the extra 50 runs added before the declaration looked like they could have been vital as Glos wobbled at 65 for 4 in their second innings. At the end of the day Gloucestershire will probably feel pretty pleased with their 11 points away to the second placed team in the division.

Kane Williamson finally got in the runs in the second innings. Greater contributions from our clearly talented overseas player will be vital if Gloucestershire are serious about promotion.

The bowlers again operated well as a unit and it was particularly interesting to see young Jack Taylor trusted with 29 tight overs. Does this mean that he has now jumped ahead of Ed Young in the spin bowling department? Considering that Young was only given a couple of overs in recent matches we would presume so.

Gloucestershire are now only 4 points behind Middlesex in the table. Our next matches are at the championship graveyard that is Cheltenham college. The boys will have to figure out how to win 4 day matches whilst at Cheltenham to maintain their promotion challenge.

t20 roundup.

We feel obliged to mention that we also beat Somerset and lost to Sussex in the t20. Frankly we have lost any interest in this competition. That said, we are encouraged to see the youngsters continuing to progress. Jack Taylor put in a match winning allround performance against Somerset which presumably has cemented his place ahead of Ed Young, and seen Vikram Banerjee begin sending his CV round the minor counties.

Against Sussex the boys just seemed to lack a dynamic match winner, the story of our t20 campaign so far. We haven't really disgraced ourselves in the competition, but we don't really have enough match winners in this format to realistically challenge. We hoped 'the butcher' might provide this, but remove his hundred against Middlesex and his contributions have been poor. Still, if the kids are learning from Murali, and from playing in the pressurised situation of t20 then its not been a complete waste of time.

We now need to win our remaining 5 games to qualify for the quarter finals. Don't hold your breath.

Sussex highlights here

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Bring on the declaration

Day 2: Gloucestershire 402 - 7 v Middlesex.

Only 10 overs of play were possible today which could possibly be to Gloucestershire's advantage. It certainly means we can't lose from here, although if this were last year's team then defeat would still be very much on the cards.

With maximum batting points secured we are surely set up for an overnight declaration and then hope that the rain and humidity helps the ball to move all over the place. With 400 on the board it's not inconceivable that the boys could roll Middlesex over twice if the pitch does become nice and juicy.

Christ, what has happened to us. We are finally starting to have a positive outlook on what the boys are capable of us. Time for a lie down.

The Butcher of Bangalore is back!

Gloucestershire 254 for 3 beat Middlesex 149 for 8 by 105 runs

Fans of Glos, rejoice! Kevin O'Brien, missing, presumed mediocre, since signing for the Shire is back with a vengeance! In a meaningless T20 match, played at Uxbridge, a slogger-friendly Middlesex outground, the big man struck a violent 119 off just 52 balls.

O'Brien and Hamish Marshall surpassed the record T20 opening stand by putting on a ludicrous 192 for the first wicket. Marshall was slow by comparison, with hia hundred coming up from 53 balls. Both men were dropped, O'Brien twice and Marshall once and they made an inexperienced Middlesex attack pay, striking 15 sixes between them. The other batsmen had little time to bat after this onslaught, but managed to take us to 254 for 3, a passable CB40 score, from the 20 overs.

Middlesex never looked likely to be in contention after being on the receiving end of such a shellacking and they promptly slumped to 15-3. Not ideal when you need over 250! They eventually managed 149 for 8, giving the shire the record margin of 105 runs. Insane. What a win. Or T20 season is back on track. Etc.

The Jessop Tavern View is know for our cynicism about all things Glos, however. In the grand scheme of things, this result means sweet FA. Glos were bottom of the South Group and we have now swapped places with the equally hapless Middlesex. This effort from O'Brien would appear to be exactly what we signed him for, i.e. the occasional cameo to catch the eye and make people think he is better than he is. A few more bums on seats for our next home T20 to help fund those essential (and expensive) ground redevelopments. Which in turn will help secure our future (read one England ODI/T20 international per year).

We don't want to knock Big Kev too much. After all, he's a big man with a bigger bat and he might find out where we live. It was a good knock and he's an entertainer when he gets going. We're glad Glos won and we're glad we're off the bottom of the table. What might be better would be if the big fella could contribute to our push for Championship promotion. Sadly, this doesn't seem to be part of King John's masterplan, as he again failed to appear in the squad for the CC match which began yesterday.

Anyway, some highlights below for those of you who want to enjoy the Butcher's savagery..

New ground redevelopment plans...what is going on?

We'll be straight with you, the Jessop Tavern View does not know how to run a county cricket club. We don't really understand how the counties are funded by the ECB, or how they raise money themselves. We do know that Gloucestershire are convinced that the only chance for their long term survival is to redevelop the county ground down at Bristol and to continue to bring in international matches.

Yesterday the club submitted its proposed plans for one part of the ground redevelopment, new flats! Actually, this is the only part of the ground redevelopment that will be going ahead.

"GCCC has now decided to implement only one part of their planning application - for the foreseeable future they will not be building the stands adjacent to Kennington Avenue.  This will result in a capacity of circa 17,500, rather than the 20,000 originally envisaged, of which circa 7,500 will be permanent. This compares to the previous scheme which proposed 18,500 permanent seats."

When Gloucestershire were initially granted planning permission to redevelop the ground these were the stated aims
 Now we are being told that we are implementing only one part of the planning permission for the foreseeable future.

Does that mean no world class media centre? No conference of hospitality? No swimming pool!!??

From this press release we are trying to piece together exactly what is going to happen. We think that some new seating is going to be built as the permanent seating seems to be increasing from 4000 to 7500. But is that really it?

Unsurprisingly we have also had to ditch the student accommodation in favour of 1 and 2 bedroom apartments due to complaints from the neighbours about the proposal of dumping 350 students on their doorsteps. It seems remarkable that only now have we realised that the neighbours aren't too happy, and that we are having to resubmit new plans. Surely this was the first step when we were looking at redeveloping the ground? Did we not consult the locals then about the plans for student accommodation?

Whilst we understand the need for the club to obtain income from housing development in order to fund ground developments, we just question the decision making that is taking place and the impact that this will have on the speed with which these developments will happen. If we are to believe the threats, then Gloucestershire will start to lose international cricket if developments are not made to our facilities soon. Therefore we can only presume that having to resubmit new plans, due to an error in judgement over the student accommodation, is going to move back any development to the ground. With an increasing number of grounds now able to accommodate international cricket we must really be holding on to international fixtures with our fingertips at the moment. Kaiser Tom Richardson stated after the weekend's 20-20 international that

“We are pleased with how everything went. What was emphasised was how important it is to press ahead with our ground development plans because we want to offer better facilities including better spectator and member facilities, bigger corporate hospitality rooms and a better positioned press box.
“If we don’t develop the ground we will lose this sort of fixture. It’s as simple as that.”

So what are the implications of only pursuing one part of our planning application and presumably neglecting the other parts for the foreseeable future. This doesn't seem to make sense.

The final question is regarding exactly what these changes to our plans say about our vision. What exactly are we trying to achieve for the ground? Do we really see all these incredibly expensive redevelopments as worth the cost for one international match a summer? Realistically we are never going to become a test match venue like the Rose Bowl has become, or the Swalec Stadium. Would we not be better off shifting our intentions?

By all means build these flats, improve conference facilities and dig a swimming pool. Bringing in money from outside of cricket is important. But shouldn't we be reevaluating where we invest this money? Couldn't we invest this money into the cricket? We have been extremely fortunate this season to have the youngsters from the academy really step up to the plate. But it could have been very different. In an excellent article on cricinfo a few months back Glamorgan chairman Paul Russell had this to say:

Just imagine how Russell would have felt if Glamorgan had conceded 496 runs in a 40 over match!
As we said at the start, we don't understand how to run a county cricket club. We just know that it would feel a lot better if we invested in the actual cricket and got fans in on a consistent basis to watch a successful Gloucestershire rather than relying on selling out one international match every summer.

Cockbain takes his chance with maiden hundred

Day 1: Gloucestershire 368 - 7 v Middlesex.

In this crunch game in division 2 between the sides placed second and third in the table it was Gloucestershire who finally wrestled control of this game as day 1 came to a close. Ian Cockbain made good the early season promise he has shown by going on to complete his maiden hundred just before the close of play. It was an intelligent innings, encompassing nearly two hundred balls, that came when Gloucestershire looked like throwing away the advantage handed to them by winning the toss on the batsman friendly Uxbridge track.

Middlesex will probably feel that they were slightly hard done by, especially as Cockbain was dropped on 8 by England captain Strauss (although it was difficult diving chance...and one conveniently not mentioned on the ECB highlights!) At 183 for 5 the game was very much in the balance. As has happened consistently this season, Gloucestershire responded excellently to the pressure of the key situation, and the partnership of 112 between Cockbain and Gidman saved the boys from a sub-par score. We've said this many times this season, but it's exactly the sort of situation that Gloucestershire sides of the last 10 years have been unable to fight their way out of. If this had been last years vintage then we'd be sat here talking about being bowled out for 250. It's full credit to the youngsters who have come into the team this year that we are able to talk about this new found battle hardened Gloucestershire.

The only slight disappointment from the day is that no one else managed to convert their good starts into hundreds. O'Mish, Dent, Taylor and Gidman all got in, looked good, and then got out. It was left to Cockbain, only playing because of a quad muscle injury to captain marvel, to show the more experienced players how to push on and make a telling contribution. He now has one more first class hundred than Chris Dent, which will hopefully be the kick up the backside Dent needs to make the conversion from pretty fifty to match winning hundreds.

It was good to see that Gloucestershire had also learnt their lesson from the last match against Surrey and gave the Sperm donor a chance slightly further up the order. His quickfire 25 really swung the momentum Gloucestershires way. If we get half an hour of 'the donor' this morning then Glos will post a very competitive score.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

APR Gidman: An apology

Day 3: Gloucestershire 261 and 161 - 5 beat Surrey 225 and 195 by 4 wickets.

Points: Gloucestershire 21, Surrey 4.

It wasn't meant to be like this. The Jessop Tavern View thought it was being all big and clever by reckoning the 30 odd extra runs Glos had given away cheaply on days 1 and 2 were going to be the difference. At 54 for 5 this afternoon, we thought that even when the boys crumbled to defeat, we could at least console ourselves by writing a smug post this evening. Instead we are going to have to eat some serious humble pie as a result of captain marvellous batting us practically single-handedly to an absolutely fantastic win.

Now it's fair to say that the Jessop Tavern View has not been too positive about our glorious skipper. 'Flat track bully', 'cowardly hiding down the order' and 'unfulfilled talent' have all been used to describe our born leader of men. Well hands up. Today Alex 'by far the better' Gidman proved us completely wrong. When the going got tough our skipper rolled up his sleeves and said, "don't worry lads, I'll sort this out". It's exactly the sort of innings not seen from a Gloucestershire batsman in quite some time.

Mark Church, of BBC London, described the pitch as a typical 1980's 3 day pitch. Gidman described it as a deliberate seamers wicket (something he ruefully admitted that Glos have often produced to their detriment). Whatever the state of the pitch, it has produced a fantastic game of cricket.

Gloucestershire decided to make the game even more interesting by bizarrely keeping Ian Saxelby out of the attack until 45 minutes into the day's play. By this point Surrey had battled to 179 for 5 and looked poised to set Gloucestershire something in excess of 200 to chase. Within about half an hour of being introduced into the attack Saxelby had blown through Surrey's tail and finished with career best figures of 6 for 69, and 10 for 142 in the match. The only slight criticism of Saxelby's performance is that he went at almost 5 an over. Splitting hairs really.

I don't think we were the only Glos supporters who looked at 160 to win and shuddered. So often in the recent past have the bowlers worked hard to set up this scenario only for the batsmen to throw it away. At 54 for 5 a few of the older heads in the dressing room must have been thinking 'here we go again'. But as we have seen all season, this young Gloucestershire side is made of tougher stuff and the main story of the season has been our refreshing ability to fight our way out of difficult situations. As brilliantly as captain marvel played, he couldn't have done it without the support of two of the young guns, as first Coughtrie and then Ed Young helped Gidders lead us to glory.

The boys are now third in the table after half the season. Next up in the championship we face second placed Middlesex. So the Jessop Tavern View does get a smug feeling after all. But smug because, for the first time in ages, we feel we are supporting a decent team. Oh, and Alex, if you happen to read this. We're sorry...but only if you go on and average 50 for the season!