Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Preview: Gloucestershire v Middlesex. County Championship

'Now Kane makes Championship debut', screams the headline from our favourite official Gloucestershire website, a statement that seems to suggest that we should somehow be grateful that our overseas player is to play his first proper cricket match almost a month into the season. Whatever the reasons for the delay in his visa his debut is definitely nicely timed as Gloucestershire go head to head with division leaders Middlesex.

Perhaps what is best about Kane Williamson's debut is that he steps into a side hopefully as the final-ish piece in this seasons jigsaw (we are well aware that this is a jigsaw that is guaranteed to have more than just several pieces missing when we finally look back at it in September). Williamson will provide a welcome boost to a batting line up that has thus far done just enough. With O'Mish and young Cockbain opening, and then Williamson, Taylor and the original Gidders our top order is beginning to look reasonably strong. It will be severely tested by a Middlesex side that has already made both Essex and Surrey follow on and can boast of a seam attack featuring up a fired up Steve Finn looking to force his way back into the test team.

Perhaps encouragingly Middlesex's top order has yet to really fire this season. Worryingly Chris Rogers has often taken a shine to the sight of Gloucestershire bowlers wobbling in against him and his wicket will be the key one. Get Rogers earlier and we can hopefully get at what is a fairly young and inexperienced middle order with the comically named Dan Housego and equally daft Dawid Malan both in their early 20's along with wicketkeeper batsman John Simpson.

Gloucestershire have obviously been paying attention to the guys at Glos la la la and drop Vikram Banerjee from the squad. An all seam attack featuring Norwell, Payne, Saxelby and the old Sperm donor will have to get the job done.

It promises to be an interesting match up that will almost certainly be decided by how are batsmen fare against their bowlers. In past seasons this was just the sort of scenario that Glos fans dreaded, but surprisingly the Jessop Tavern View has decided to be positive and thinks that our kiwi's (shit, sorry, kiwi and Irishman...we must remember) will see us to victory.

Middlesex CCC website - Is it possible that the team from the home of cricket can produce a website almost as bad as Gloucestershire's own? We reckon it is, especially with the over use of pink. The rather promising 'Match Summary' banner for the game against Glos leads through to a completely empty page although we were greeted with some pictures of cheerleaders so not all bad. Still, we expect technological ineptitude out in the Shire, the London boys should be able to do better than this pretty piss poor effort. 2/10.

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