Sunday, 29 May 2011

Preview: Gloucestershire v Essex. County championship.

Gloucestershire v Essex @ Bristol. May 29-June 1.

Since the Jessop Tavern View is playing the dutiful boyfriend this weekend by putting himself out on wedding duty, our big match preview of the upcoming championship match comes early enough for everyone to fully digest our words of wisdom.

Gloucestershire currently lie 4th in division 2, with Essex in 5th place. As this is the last round of championship matches before mid June this match will probably go a long way to decided Gloucestershire's fate this season. Win it, and we are right in the thick of the promotion battle. Lose, and the Jessop Tavern View will start looking up when the football season starts again.

It has become our favourite pastime recently to judge a side based on the ratio of youngsters to journeymen so we had better have a look at how Essex fare. Playing in their current match with Middlesex are 3 genuine youngsters in batsmen Jaik Mickleburgh (you have to be young to have a crap name like Jaik) and Adam Wheater, and left arm quick Reece Topley. Fitted around them are peg-legged Owais Shah, sometime England flat track bully Ravi Bopara, Graham 'the butcher' Napier, and veteran Matt Walker. Then the journeymen really begin. Mark Pettini. Tim Phillips. David Masters. We would say this is a middling effort.

On paper Essex look a far stronger batting lineup than bowling. Heck, Ravi Bopara has bowled the second most overs for Essex this season. We presume this is due to a slightly selfish streak that was agreed with Essex in the winter. 'I won't play in the IPL as long as you let me bowl', was probably the gist of the conversation, quickly followed by someone muttering under their breath that just because he can trundle in a bit won't make him a better player than Eoin Morgan. However, Essex's batsmen have not exactly been on fire so far. Sadly for Gloucestershire both Peg-leg and Napier have recently returned to the side and appear hungry for action.

Somebody who won't be playing for Essex is their overseas star, Lonwabo Tsotsobe. The South African thought he was a premiership footballer and decided to voice what surely must be the opinion of all overseas players by tweeting 'what the hell am I doing here'. There is something just not quite right about the twitter saga raising its comedy head in division 2 of the county championship. Perhaps more intriguingly, who the hell follows Lonwabo Tsotsobe on Twitter?!

As for Gloucestershire, well because we are writing this before the second day of the actual match, Gloucestershire's official website doesn't have a squad list yet. Will 'the better' Gidman be fit? Which of the young seamers will be chosen? We would expect the top order to remain the same and that both Norwell and Payne will play if Gidman is not fit. This is a big match for this young side and another chance for the bowlers in particular, to take on some second rate test players.

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