Thursday, 21 June 2012

New Pilates teacher arrives

The Kane is dead, long live the.....oh bugger, some bloke called Rob Nicol.

Gloucestershire finally remembered that because Kane Williamson is good he has to go and play proper cricket against the West Indies. In his place we were told that New Zealand would send over a young, future international, packed with potential looking to broaden their experiences with some county cricket. Sadly the New Zealand cricket board couldn't find one of these, so they've sent us 29 year old Rob Nicol.

But hold on, the man averages 49 in ODIs! He also took this fairly spectacular catch:

Ok, so it's not that spectacular, but we're trying to be positive here.

Of his 391 ODI runs, 338 of them came against Zimbabwe (in 6 matches, including 2 hundreds) and 53 came against South Africa in 3 matches. So he likes to plunder against the meek.

He was picked for New Zealand's first two tests in their recent series against South Africa, the series that seems to have really kick started Kane Williamson's international career. Sadly Rob didn't get the same boost. Opening the batting he managed 28 runs in four innings before being dropped.

But fear not, King John is quoted as saying that Rob will be a "like-for-like replacement for Kane Williamson and has a very good first-class record." His very good first class record reads: an average of 34 and 10 hundreds. He's 29. Put another way, he's a perfect fit for Gloucestershire.

Ok, so we are not exactly blown away by this signing. We actually like the link we have with New Zealand and the idea that they send us their players who are borderline internationals. It's just that we were kind of hoping that this would be more along the lines of young, up and coming talents. Anyway, time will tell how Rob goes. A successful 2 months with the Shire could well see him suddenly having the same Irish grandmother that Hamish Marshall 'discovered'.

Perhaps the biggest concern Gloucestershire fans, and gym members have, is can Rob Nicol teach pilates?

Monday, 11 June 2012

Will Gidman rekindles the glory years

CB40 result: Glos beat Worcs by 109 runs.

Whisper this quietly, but Glos might be on the verge of becoming a decent one day side. No, quieter than that. Plus we did say, 'on' the verge of becoming a good one day outfit. There's no telling how long that verge stretches into the distance.

Yesterday Gloucestershire dismantled Worcestershire at New Road. We still don't know why Will Gidman is opening the batting, but yesterday he came good and got the team off to a solid start with 76 runs from 98 balls. Big brother then helped out with a rapid fire fifty to post a respectable total of 238 from the ridiculous 40 overs.

This is hardly a spectacular total. It's not mouth watering. It doesn't win a game by itself. But it is very competitive. It's also exactly the sort of total Glos use to post regularly back in the glory days of King John's first trip on the Gloucestershire haycart. It's the sort of total that good, tight early bowling makes look very good. Now unfortunately this Gloucester team doesn't have a Harv and Smudger to send down the first 10 overs whilst barely conceding a run, but yesterday Will Gidman did a bloody good impression. Heck, even muck flinging James Fuller did a good job. David Payne also continued his good form since returning from injury. After 10 overs, Worcestershire were 25 for 5. Game over.

Gloucestershire now lie third in the imaginatively titled Group A, five points behind surprising leaders Holland, but with three games in hand. The tournament now moves aside for the t20 circus, resuming again in a month's time when everyone will have forgotten what is happening and the competition will have lost all impetus. Seriously, would it be that difficult to play all the group matches before the t20. Then have a break, and have the knockout stage of the competition in the second half of the season? Why do you want to stop a competition in its tracks, and then try and resume it again. The structure of the CB40 competition leads itself very logically to playing group games first, then a break, then the excitement of the knockout rounds. Maybe that's just us. Or maybe we are just cricket administration geniuses and nobody else has the Jessop Tavern View's clarity of vision. Somehow we doubt this last point is true.

Anyway, getting back to Glos. A lot of credit needs to go to....and take a big gulp here....King John and the coaching staff. The comparisons with the magnificent one day side of a decade ago are there for all to see. Intelligent batting that sets competitive totals. Disciplined bowling that keeps the pressure on the opposition. Wonderful fielding. Ok, so the quality isn't quite the same. For Boo-Boo, read captain Gidders. For Kimbo, read Hamish Marshall. For smudger, read David Payne. For Snape and Ball, read Taylor and Young. For Jack, read (and this one is painful) Jon Batty. You see what we mean. Still, the blueprint is the same, and the real secret of Gloucester's success 10 years ago was the team ethos. The team was always better than merely the sum of its parts.

So lets hope this can continue. It will certainly be interesting to watch how the boys go in the t20.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Why every county could use a Ravi Bopara

Essex 225 for 2 (Bopara 120*) beat Gloucestershire 224 for 5 (Williamson 77) by eight wickets

The Jessop Tavern View is quite envious of Essex. Not the fake tans, white stilettos and souped up Escorts, but the presence in their side of one Ravi Bopara. Let's get one thing straight, Bopara is a good player. He may not be quite at international class, but at county level he's top drawer. He's particularly good at limited overs cricket, scoring an unbeaten 201 from 138 balls back in 2008 against Leicestershire. That's Ali Brown territory. When you couple this talent with the fact that he's constantly champing at the bit to prove to the England selectors that he's worth a recall, you're left with a man who can dismantle county attacks with ease. Essex on really lose him for occasional Lions games, ODIs  (if he's selected) and comedy injuries sustained while desperately trying to prove his worth to Andy Flower.

This is exactly what happened to Glos on Monday, as Bopara returned from 3 weeks out to strike an unbeaten 120 from 100 balls as Essex cruised to an 8 wicket victory with more than 3 overs to spare. Glos' total of 224 always looked a little light against a powerful Essex batting line-up, containing the likes of Bopara, Owais Shah, Ryan ten Doeschate and Graham Napier, and this proved the case as a partnership of 185 between Ravi and Tom Westley won the game comfortably. The bowling attack predictably went around the park, with only Jack Taylor going for under 5 an over.

The problem for Glos started with a below par effort with the bat. Will Gidman, not exactly known as a dasher, opened the innings and departed for a 5 ball duck, then we struggled, only reaching the 100 from 27 overs. Luckily Kane Williamson and Ian Cockbain managed to up the temp and put on 85 in 11 overs, before the gym instructor was out for 77. Jack Taylor threw the bat to good effect in scoring 22 from 12 deliveries and Cockbain ended on 52 from 44 balls. Cockbain looks handy in one day cricket and is actually an opening bat by trade. Perhaps we could look to make more of him as the season progresses? With only 4 points from 4 completed matches so far, we are going to need to score more runs to give the boys something to defend, if we are to progress to the semi finals.

On a separate note, whatever happened to Kevin O'Brien? Is he still on the books? Surely his buccaneering style is tailor-made for such matches? Any updates would be more than the official site provide!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Humble pie never tasted so good

Gloucestershire beat Derbyshire by 7 wickets.

The Jessop Tavern View would like to apologise for the lack of posting on Gloucestershires glorious recent victory over run away division two leaders Derbyshire. We have slowly been chewing our way through a mountain of humble pie.

First we accuse Hamish Marshall of being washed up and more interested in maintaining his perm. He responds with two hundreds and a run of consistency we haven't seen since 2006. Then we question whether there is any talent in the Gloucester youngsters and, in particular, where are strike bowlers are. Liam Norwell, David Payne and the better Gidders then all respond with spells that impact the course of the match. Then we criticise the skipper of averaging only 18 and not pulling his weight. He sticks it to us with a match winning first innings hundred. Finally Jon Batty responded to our accusations of being shit by.....ok, ok, so Jon Batty is still very definitely rubbish.

Gloucestershire demolished a Derbyshire team who, until their trip to Nevil road, had been unbeaten this season. The bowling in particular was a welcome reminder of the talent we saw last season, but which had been sorely lacking this term. Picking four seamers and disposing with the services of Ed Young looks a far better bet. Relying on just three young bowlers to consistently provide the firepower is to put too much pressure on players still learning their way. With four seamers you take away some of this pressure and encourage the lads to be aggressive. Run in. Bowl hard. Look to take wickets. If you bowl crap then let someone else have a go. With four guys doing this you increase the chance of one of them having success. The result is bowling out the lead leaders for 95 just after lunch on day one. Whether this rotation of four seamers is viable when a spinner becomes a necessity remains to be seen. At the moment Kane Williamson is probably a better bowler than Ed Young, and thus provides spin cover. When Williamson heads off for international duty this might become more of a problem. (And speaking of Williamson, any news on who is replacement might be yet.....nope, thought not!)

The other pleasing thing about this victory was the way Gloucestershire closed it out. Heading towards the end of day two Derby were poised to fight back on 200 for 4, with two batsmen well set with fifties. In steps David Payne to remove Derby captain Wayne Madsen before the close. The following day the Gloucester dressing room must have known that chasing anything over 150 would be tough, especially given what happened in 2010 against the same opponents, and knowing that they only had 9 batsmen, with Chris Dent nursing a broken finger and Jon Batty opening. Will Gidman then took four quick wickets on day three and Glos only needed 84 to win. Despite losing our man Batty in the first over of the chase, Benny the Frenchman, and Williamson set up a comfortable finish.

So congratulations to the boys. And congratulations to the Jessop Tavern View. We like to think that our constant negativity and over the top criticism of good honest pros trying their best was a source of inspiration to the shire. We can picture our latest posts being pinned up on the dressing room wall by King John in order to fire the guys up. You're welcome.