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!

Monday, 20 June 2011

It's all about the hips

Day 2: Surrey 225 and 145 - 5 v Gloucestershire 261.

In the vain hope that the Jessop Tavern View can finally claim to have made a shrewd piece of analysis, and without the benefit of hindsight, we are going to quote ourselves from yesterday's blog. " The 225 that Surrey managed to eek out should have been 50 runs less, but it was a good effort. The biggest criticism we can level is the number of boundaries served up by the boys and the resultant indulgent run rate Surrey were able to score at. In what is likely to be a fairly low scoring game, these loose runs, some what given away, could prove costly." We reckon that this will end up being pretty close to the truth tomorrow in a game that Gloucestershire should go on to win.

It seems harsh to blame the bowlers when they have bowled out a team for 225 first time around and have Surrey reduced to 145 for 5 at the second asking. It would be harsh indeed to say that the 4 pace men have not quite been clinical enough. We have already stated that we thought Surrey were gifted 50 runs too many in the first innings. In their second innings we have already gifted them 25 runs in extras and again allowed them to score at over 4 an over. That's 75 extra runs we'll have to chase. Even if 75 runs is a touch over-critical, we can consider that we will have to chase at least 30 odd runs more than we should. That's the difference between chasing 170 or 200. On such margins will this intriguingly poised game be decided.

We reckon that perhaps Gloucester missed a trick by not giving the Sperm donor more of an opportunity to have a tonk further up the order. As soon as both Gidmans were gone, run scoring practically stopped. Coughtrie again showed good application, but with scoring becoming increasingly difficult it seemed a bit of a waste of Lewis' unique brand of batting (at an average of over 30 for the season) to leave him down at number 11. A quickfire 20 or 30 a bit further up the order might have put the Surrey bowlers off their rhythm. As it was, his slapdash 17 was wasted coming in at number 11. 

The third day promises to be a genuinely intriguing day of cricket, and for all the right reasons. As Richard Latham's match report on the official website states, it will all depend on the hips. If his 147th first class fifty becomes his 114th first class century then it's likely that Gloucestershire will be chasing at least 200. On a pitch that has been difficult to bat on throughout, you would favour Surrey in that scenario.

Lets hope that we can get Ramps early and then keep the scoring rate down as we work away at the tail. We have been the better side on both days so far and deserve to come away with a victory.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Gloucestershire start well...but it could have been much better

Day 1: Surrey 225 v Gloucestershire 171 -4

I guess it is a sign of real progress that as a Gloucestershire fan I am now viewing performances with more of a microscope. Where as before we would have just been delighted to have not been either put to the sword or skittled for 80 odd, we are now in the strange position of feeling that today we missed the opportunity to really ram home the advantage.

We have already praised the selection for this match, with both Coughtrie and Young replacing the hapless Batty and the frankly useless Banerjee. Its also so nice to have a player like Will Gidman available to provide real balance. With the better Gidders playing as the fourth seamer and batting at six there is a really nice feel to a young middle order that runs, Gidman W, Coughtrie, Young.

After winning the toss full credit must go to the seamers for taking full advantage of helpful conditions. Admittedly the 225 that Surrey managed to eek out should have been 50 runs less, but it was a good effort. The biggest criticism we can level is the number of boundaries served up by the boys and the resultant indulgent run rate Surrey were able to score at. In what is likely to be a fairly low scoring game, these loose runs, some what given away, could prove costly.

In reply Gloucestershire's batsmen did their usual trick. Everyone, save Dent, and more about him later, got themselves in, and then got themselves out. Considering we had by far the best conditions of the day to bat in during the afternoon, this is slightly disappointing. O'Mish batted patiently, got himself nicely set, then got out. Williamson, played fluently, then got out during a testing spell from the impressive Dernbach. (1 for 20 off 12, including O'Mish dropped in the slips) The Kid continued this season's good form, and seems to have been unlucky to have received a shooter having just passed fifty. If Gloucestershire are to press home their advantage then it will need someone to go on and make a sizable contribution tomorrow. Can captain Gidders be this man? The Jessop Tavern View doesn't reckon the skipper has it in him and we are predicting a slender first innings leader of around 50.

Our final point for today concerns young Chris Dent. We have already seen enough from Dent to know that there was a reason why he was the first of the youngsters to be elevated to the first team last year. Despite having not reached his maiden first class hundred you feel that it is genuinely only a matter of time, and that when he makes his first one, several more will follow in quick succession. It's just that he doesn't seem comfortable at the top of the order. We have neither the time or the inclination to back this up statistically, but we reckon that most of Dent's better knocks have come when he has batted lower down. I guess at least we seem to have settled on a position for him and he will be glad to have ended the constant yo-yoing up and down the order. The other problem is of course who else should open in his place, and where in the middle order would he fit in? In truth it seems that the opening slot is the only one available to him. We just hope it doesn't stunt the development of a genuinely talented looking kid.

Finally, if anyone from BBC Radio London is reading this. Less of the polo chat tomorrow boys. Or, if you insist on talking about polo, at least make it humorous.

Preview: Gloucestershire v Surrey, County Championship

Proper cricket returns to give us a much needed rest from the abject performances we have been witnessing in the T20 over the last few weeks. Surrey currently lie 4th in the table on 81 points, Gloucestershire are 5th on 78 points. It is another game that will go along way to define our season. Win, and we are still challenging at the top of the table. Lose, and the scrap for the wooden spoon will start.

Hamish Marshall returns to the championship side after injury and weddings kept him sidelined for much of the first half of the campaign. He comes into the team at the expense of Ian Cockbain, according to the squad announced on the Glos cricket website. This would seem a little bit harsh on young Cockbain. We presume that Chris Dent will therefore open with O'Mish. We're not entirely convinced by this decision. O'Mish definitely isn't an opener, and the Jessop Tavern View suspects that Dent would be better served batting at 6 and cementing himself in the side with a few hundreds before moving up the order.

Dick Coughtrie will be given the opportunity to cast Jon Batty to the sidelines, by continuing his encouraging showings with the gloves during the T20. We hope that common sense will mean Coughtrie bats in the lower middle order and is not pressed to open. A top score of 45 in 14 first class matches suggests this is more his natural position.

Kaiser Bracewell has stated that he is concerned that the Kia Oval will turn later in the game and this explains why both Ed Young and Jack Taylor are included as the spin options. No Vikram Banerjee then. Everyone do a little dance. Payne, Saxelby, the better Gidders and Sperm donor make up the seam choices.

This squad selection shows really encouraging signs that common sense has at last arrived at Gloucestershire. Batty has struggled for a year and a half and we have a young and apparently competent alternative in Coughtrie. Banerjee has barely troubled anyone since his arrival in Bristol. Ed Young shows plenty of potential. Lets hope that these kids are now given the rest of the season to develop properly.

Surrey will present a good challenge to the youngsters. To look at the Surrey squad for today, even minus the England players, is to wonder how they are mid table in division 2. Yet crap cricket and strange decisions are things that Surrey have done almost as well as Gloucestershire in recent years.

Lets just hope that the boys can tune back in to 4 day cricket quickly. A good away result at this point in the season would be a great way to set up the second half of the season.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

When do the championship games start again?

T20: Gloucestershire 166 v Kent 167 - 2.
Gloucestershire's lack of strike bowling in this format of the game was yet again exposed last night as Kent made chasing 167 look incredibly easy thanks to the efforts of Azhar Mahmood, who is still only 36, despite the fact that the Jessop Tavern View is old enough to remember him as a Pakistani veteran in the mid 1990's!
166 was no where near the imposing total it should have been as the boys reached 121 for 2, with solid contributions from the entire top order. 5 wickets in 7 balls from occasional baseball pitcher Wahab Riaz turned the game Kent's way, and Mahmood's explosive hundred saw them hope comfortably.
That's about all there is to say.
We'll admit that, here at the Jessop Tavern View, we are finding it hard to be motivated by the T20. Naturally the situation is not exactly helped by how crap we are, but we are crap in pretty much all formats of the game so this is hardly a novel experience for a Gloucestershire fan. It is mainly that such a shortened format of the game takes away the intrigue; the painstaking analysis of why people are shit. It provides players with what must be a welcome respite from criticism. Why did Gloucestershire crumble from 121 for 2 to 166 all out? Well, they were chasing quick runs at the end of the innings. Sometimes the wild slogging and suicidal running comes off. Sometimes it doesn't. There is not a lot else to write about. Why did Kent only lose 2 wickets? Well, two guys had their eye in and today was there day. On another day it would have been different. We know that there is more than this to good quality T20 cricket. It's just that often it is hard to be bothered to analyse things to deeply.
The boys have one more T20 game before the bizarre return of the championship, for one game, on Sunday. Can anybody out there explain why there is a single round of championship fixtures in the middle of the T20 competition. Is it deliberately aimed at confusing fans? Why oh why could this round not just wait until the T20 has finished?

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Crowds not wanted - No more T20 for Gloucester?

Speaking in the Gloucestershire Echo yesterday, Gloucestershire despot, Tom Richardson, admitted to being thrilled by the bumper crowds of 2,700 at the weekend's T20 matches against Hampshire and Surrey in Gloucester. So thrilled was Tom that he has revealed that it is unlikely that there will be any T20 matches in Gloucester next year.

For fairness we should point out that the reason that there is unlikely to be T20 cricket in Gloucester next year is due to a reduction in the number of home T20 matches from 8 to 5. This reduction is still to be confirmed. The reason why this is important to Gloucestershire is because we have a new ground to pay for, and so cannot afford to only have 3 lucrative T20 matches at Bristol. We should probably also point out that the reason for the reduction in the number of T20 matches next year is due to an overkill of the format and dwindling crowds.

Now this begs several questions. How do the crowd figures compare between Gloucester and Bristol? And, surely profits from games at Gloucester all go into one big Gloucestershire CCC pot of money?

We're going to imagine that we make less money when games are played at Gloucester as all the seating and marquees need to be paid for. Fair enough. But surely playing games in Gloucester broadens the fan base. Bristol is only a 30 minute drive from Gloucester. People would travel. However, people won't travel from Gloucester to watch a T20 game in Bristol if it's £20 a ticket.

The Jessop Tavern View is well aware that these are complex issues and, in fairness, Tom Richardson did say that they were looking for ways to bring county cricket to Gloucester next year, possibly in the form of a couple of CB40 matches. We all know how popular they are.

The massive elephant on our backs that is the ground redevelopment of Nevil Road seems to be continuing to force the county into short term planning. What happens in the meantime is that the fan base elsewhere in the county continues to dwindle. Young kids will only be interested in international cricket if they don't have the opportunity to watch county cricket. The future of Nevil Road will continue to see it packed for international one dayers, and then deserted for county cricket. But at least Tom would be happy.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Why does county cricket love to shoot itself in the foot?

Having decided that Gloucstershire are a non-starter for this season's T20 the Jessop Tavern cast its eyes around the rest of the county circuit in search of a new T20 team to support. Figuring that we didn't want to be seen as complete glory hunters we decided to place our new found love behind the team with the worst nickname in the competition. The Dynamos from Durham.

Ok, we haven't actually decided to support Durham, as tempting as this might be, but we did find ourselves in Newcastle at the weekend and fancied a bit of cricket on a Sunday afternoon. We wished we hadn't bothered as we were treated to a wonderful example of how county cricket just loves to shoot itself in the foot.

T20 is a very marketable format. Easily the most marketable form of the game. It's short and sweet, and a wonderful vehicle for getting new fans in. Then you go and charge £17.50 a ticket on the gate (Gloucester fans will notice that this is £2.50 cheaper than you will pay to watch the Shire...presumably that's £2.50 to watch Murali) Why the hell are tickets so expensive? I know the argument. In comparison to other sports it represents good value. But do people not realise that its county cricket! Just because people pay stupid money to watch the Premier League doesn't mean that this is your reference point for pricing county cricket.

For me, someone with an interest in county cricket, £17.50 is just about ok. On Sunday I took along a friend who enjoys watching cricket on the tv, and the girlfriend, who doesn't enjoy watching cricket on the tv. Both had to be convinced that it was worth the money. Both my friend and my girlfriend represent exactly the sort of customer T20 should be aiming to attract. People with a passing interest in the game who don't usually go to watch live county cricket. Get these people in, for good value. Let them sit with a few beers and have a good time. It makes perfect sense. My friend in particular would be likely to come again. He works just up the road from Chester le-street and told me he had mentioned to the office the possibility of an evening out to the T20. This was before he realised it cost £17.50. Charge £10, heck, even 7 or 8 quid, and you would get these sort of people coming along.

My next gripe was that I only got to see half a match. After about 15 overs of Derbyshire's innings the drizzle started. It was only light drizzle, and there was no suggestion that the teams would go off. Derbyshire's 20 overs were completed and off they went. Cue the bringing on off the covers. The drizzle did not get any heavier for some time but because the players were now off the field the conditions were 'too bad' for play to be started in. Had they stayed out there they would have still be playing. Ridiculous. Worse still we sat there for 45 minutes before an announcement was made to the crowd. Presumably all the officials knew why we were waiting. Why wasn't this conveyed to the crowd immediately? After all, we pay for them to be there. After an hour of sitting and waiting the drizzle finally got heavier and it had clearly set in. Now I admit that the game probably wouldn't have been able to be finished. But why didn't they at least try. It's so incredibly frustrating when cricket shows such reluctance to try and play on. Bring the players back on quickly as the weather looks a bit dicey, try and get as much of the game played as possible. If the rain gets too heavy, then take the players off and at least we feel that an attempt has been made to play as much as possible.

My friend and girlfriend sat in complete bemusement. They couldn't understand how one minute they watching a game and the next minute they weren't when the conditions had not changed. Needless to say, we won't be seeing a penny of that £17.50 again. Similarly, Durham county cricket club will not be seeing my mate bring along his work colleagues.

Why can the people who run the game not accept that county cricket has almost no appeal to people outside of the core fans of county cricket. If you want to boost the popularity of the domestic game then you need to speculate to accumulate. Lower the prices, make sure you do your best to get as much play as possible, and give people a good time. Then people will start to speak positively about county cricket, and hell, they might even return.

I understand that the counties are desperate to raise as much money from the T20 competition as possible as they see this as their big opportunity to pull in the big crowds. But charging high prices is just the sort of short termism that is ruining the county game.

Rant over. Maybe I'll go back to supporting Glos again.

As an aside. I would also like to take this opportunity to point out that the golden duck this blogger suffered at Archdeacon meadow, and referred to in an earlier post, was due to piss poor advice concerning the bounce of the pitch and is still to this day the only first baller of his career. Now my co-blogger on the other hand.......

Who cares about KP, Glos finally win a Twenty20 game!

Gloucestershire 168 for 6 (Cockbain 78, Dernbach 3-27) beat Surrey 122 (Pietersen 30, Payne 3-20) by 10 runs

The Jessop Tavern View would like to apologise to its fans for the recent lack of posts. Glos' terrible start to the T20 campaign, coupled with a work trip abroad rather dampened our enthusiasm for writing about the Shire.

Anyway, now we are back and we were delighted to see that the boys managed to win a game. Even if it was against perennial under-achievers Surrey. All that investment in Murali looks to be paying off. 1 win out of 5 so far is surely the kind of return Chief Executive Tom Richardson was looking for when he persuaded the great man to rock up at Nevil Road for a couple of years of 4 over spells.

The good thing about games versus Surrey, is that due to their inconsistency, there always the chance of a victory. Not only that; they are somewhat more tech-savvy than the Shire. Thus we get to provide you with video highlights of the match to accompany our prescient analysis. You can find this at the bottom of the post.

Glos lost the toss and were sent in to bat by Grabber Hamilton-Brown. A typically average powerplay saw the boys teetering at 31-3, with O'Mish, O'Brien and Williamson already dismissed. Amazingly, the boys managed to steady the ship and recovered to 85, before Gidders the elder was caught slogging for 28. Even more amazingly, we then cut loose, with Ian Cockbain displaying hitherto unknown powers of aggression to strike 5 sixes in a violent 78 from just 45 balls. He was well-supported by Tiny Taylor (32*) as Glos reached an excellent 168-6.

Despite Archdeacon Meadow featuring some tiny boundaries (even the Jessop Tavern View has struck a couple there, as well as an unfortunate golden duck), we made immediate inroads into their powerful but inconsistent batting lineup.Williamson opened the bowling and dismissed RH-B in the first over as well as having KP brilliantly caught on the boundary by a diving Cockbain. Will this be the cue for 'King' John Bracewell topick him for some T20?

David Payne chipped in with 3-20, including Davies, who gave him so much tap in the opening game and the dangerous Tom Maynard. Richard Coughtrie impressed with the gloves, stumping two batsmen and again keeping tidily. Surely Jon Batty's Glos career is virtually over at this point? Oh yeah, Murali bowled tidily and took 2-28. You kind of expect that kind of performance as a minimum from your marquee overseas signing though.

A thumping win then and one the boys will hope to repeat on Wednesday night v Kent at their Beckenham out ground. The Jessop Tavern View has played there as well and it's a bit of a road. Let's hope for some fireworks from the boys to get the T20 campaign back on track before the break for Championship action at the weekend.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Davies dominant as outclassed Glos take a kicking

Gloucestershire 155/8; Surrey 156/2 
Surrey won by 8 wickets (with 19 balls remaining)

Gloucestershire's Twenty 20 campaign got off to a disappointing start as they were well beaten by a powerful Surrey side at the Oval. The Jessop Tavern View was there to witness the Glos debut of Murali and was hoping for a good performance from the boys. Sadly this was not to be the case, as having been put in to bat, the Shire struggled to a below par 155-8. They then saw a superb 92 from England keeper-batsman Steve Davies take Surrey to a comfortable victory with 19 balls still to be bowled.

This was the first opportunity for the Jessop Tavern View to see many of Glos' youngsters and new signings play live. Kevin O'Brien strode out to open with the skipper and struck a big six down the ground on the way to 24, before being caught at the second attempt by Zander de Bruyn on the square leg boundary. A disaapointing shot to a poor ball from 'Viscount' Linley. Gidman himself looked ill at ease against the pace of Dirk Nannes and both he and Taylor both departed to the T20 specialist. Kane Williamson again looked classy for his 32, but was run out in a comedy mix up with Will Gidman. I had to take this from a description by my friend, as the incident occured while I was stuck in a tremendous queue at the bar.

This smacked of poor planning from Surrey and I wasn't the only one stuck in line complaining about the lack of available bars. Perhaps they were not expecting so many of us to turn up, but you would think they would want us to buy more drinks instead of wasting 25 minutes in the bloody queue and then deciding not to go back for another drink later on. Rant over.

Will Gidman and Ed Young launched a fightback, putting on 45 to take Glos up to what we thought was a defendable total. Overall it was still an average batting performance, with momentum regularly being lost through wickets and an inability to get after Nannes and Linley.

The Surrey innings got off to a flying start, with Grabber Hamilton-Brown and Davies taking 68 off the 6 powerplay overs. The Gloucestershire seamers were meat and drink to two players who aren't big fans of running. Lewis and Payne both sprayed the ball around and were punished. I don't see the point of playing Payne, a wicket-taker, but also young and erratic, in T20 matches, especially those played on flat tracks like the Oval. Another spinner would have been a better option. Murali was also disappointing, bowling too short in his first two overs, which disappeared for 25, included a big six over long on from Davies.

We should give credit to the Surrey batsmen. They batted aggressively and never allowed the Shire's bowlers to settle. Steve Davies was especially impressive. He struck the ball with great authority and placement in his 92 not out. In short, he looked a top class player. We would have him as England's ODI keeper and opening bat over Kieswetter.

Glos will need to play a lot better against Essex at Chelmsford tonight, otherwise this year's campaign could be off to a nightmare start.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Dent fights for a credible draw

Day 4: Gloucestershire 255 and 310 - 9 dec V Essex 321.

Gloucestershire continue to show considerable signs of improvement over the horror show of recent years with a gutsy draw against Essex. Don't get us wrong. This doesn't make us a good side. But it certainly beats watching us lose from similar positions to the one we found ourselves in yesterday.

In typical Gloucestershire fashion batsmen got themselves in, played a few shots, and then decided that a score in the 30's would keep them with a contract next season and so decided to get themselves out. Williamson, the kid and the brothers Gidman all got in, and all got out when set. At 156 for 6 just after lunch the scene seemed set for an Essex victory.

Step forward Chris Dent. Making his return from injury and finding himself bizarrely shunted down to number 7 the young left hander got his head down and built sensible partnerships, firstly with Ed Young and then with the wily Sperm donor. The Jessop Tavern View is actually quite pleased with this performance which, whilst hardly great, certainly demonstrates again that this team has some fight in it. Admittedly we were significantly helped by Essex's contractual obligation to Ravi Bopara to let him bowl constantly, and to Ryan ten Doeschate's decision to use his second over as a shop window to sell himself as a handy pitcher in the MLB. The boys on radio Essex were bemoaning the lack of overs given to peg-leg Shah. This said a lot about Essex's lack of bowling talent. It also says a lot about the standard of bowling in division 2 that the Sperm donor is able to average 31, with 3 50's. The Jessop Tavern View once had the privilege of bowling to a young Jon Lewis at the Cheltenham festival during a rain break. Walking around the boundary Lewis obviously fancied getting his eye in against some kids. Not being accustomed to the particular requirements of batting when an entire industrial-sized wheel bin are your wickets, he was cleaned up first ball. My point is that he's not much of a batsman.

So Gloucestershire now head into the T20 break in a respectable 5th in the county championship table. Certainly better than most people expected. Let's all now sit back and enjoy a bit of Murali at the circus.