Tuesday, 28 August 2012

And so, the end is near....

The end of the season cannot come quickly enough for Gloucestershire and, much like the boys, the Jessop Tavern View is giving up on this season too.

It's a shame, because there have been positives from this season. Sadly the t20 break hasn't been kind to Gloucestershire's championship campaign. Kaiser Tom had clearly told the boys how important the money generated from one day cricket was and subsequently all the eggs were put in one basket. We kind of understand this, but tragically the t20 campaign was blown out of the water by Scott Styris and Lancashire comfortably put to bed the CB40 efforts.

It's difficult to be too critical. The God awful weather this summer has made for a disjointed cricket season. Gloucestershire continue to talk about youth, yet clearly the faith is starting to wain. Coughtrie seems to have been given up on. Ed Young has been consigned to being a one day player. Chris Dent has suffered another season ruined by injury. None of the young bowlers have made a massive step up. Things have got to such a point that today's match against Yorkshire commenced with Jon Batty and Anthony Ireland in the side! Yikes.

What are we achieving by playing Batty. Surely he will be gone next year, so why play him now?

Why has Anthony Ireland been resigned? Apparently he offers experienced cover for Ian Saxelby's injury, but why? This season has gone. There is nothing left to play for. Surely there was a youngster who could have been thrown in?

What we object to most with the Batty and Ireland inclusions is that it shows a lack of focused structure in Gloucestershire's cricket. Whatever the plan was at the start of the season has now gone out of the window and anyone will do. The Jessop Tavern View doesn't mind us losing as long as the losses come with a sense of purpose.

As we said, the end of the season cannot come quickly enough. What happens at Gloucestershire over the winter could prove to be very interesting. After two years of 'project youth' the faith seems to be fading that the kids perhaps have the necessary quality. Who has Jackson Thompson's number?

Oh, at the end of the first day against Yorkshire, Glos were rolled for 215, although after being 9 for 4 at one point the tail gets a pat on the back. Yorkshire were 61 for 2. Captain Gidders misses the game for 'personal reasons'. Who said Ravi Bopara wouldn't have an effect on the Glos dressing room!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

One giant leap for the Glos website

Day 1: Gloucestershire v Kent

It's a good job that the first day of play in the current Glos v Kent championship match was washed out as it has given the Jessop Tavern View time to recover.

Sitting down to write a match preview we went through the usual token gesture of looking at the official Gloucestershire website for any signs of a bit of team news. Now usually this is a very quick process that involves clicking on the website and seeing only news of last week's game and some lame attempt to sell us gym membership. This is quickly followed by us copying and pasting our usual rant about the piss-poor nature of the official site. But not this week. No, no, no.

A full day before the game was due to begin we receive news that Will Gidman will make a very welcome return for the first time since June. We also learn that '38' is back from a slight side strain. We'll skip over the fact that we never knew that Fuller was even injured in the first place. We'll also skip over the extensive match previews that Kent supporters get from their official website. If anyone wants to know why we complain so much about this issue then just follow the respective couple of links and compare. Embarrassing, isn't it?

Ian Saxelby has failed to shake off a knee injury, but David Payne is named in the squad despite picking up a niggle in last week's game against Hampshire.

Thankfully Paul Muchall is injured.

Inexplicably Jon Batty returns in place of Richard Coughtrie. Considering that we haven't seen Coughtrie keep wicket this season we can only presume that he is like Cymbals the Clown. Coughtrie averages a terrible 10, from seven championship appearances, but did bat for two hours for his 20 odd last week. Batty averages 13 and is out of contract at the end of the season. We can only presume that the wicket keeping position will be addressed over the winter, otherwise playing Batty ahead of Coughtrie makes absolutely no sense.

Despite Gloucestershire's championship campaign having died a death post the t20 break we still hope that the boys can continue to build on the potential they have shown at times this season.

One final thought. Captain Gidders is averaging 23 this season, from 11 championship matches. He has 397 runs. With three championship games remaining, all eyes will be on whether Alex can reach that magical 500.

Monday, 6 August 2012

This is how it feels to be Gloucestershire.....

Result: Glamorgan beat Gloucestershire by 26 runs.

"Croft rolls back the years to sink Gloucestershire." - Cricinfo headline.

Do we need to say anymore? Really. How sickening is that to read.

We hate Robert Croft. We hate him in the same way that we hated Graeme Hick. In the same way that we hated Andy Caddick. People who are good, even though you know that really they are crap. And in the case of Croft at international level, really really crap.

Having fought back to 195 for 6 chasing 247 to win, and with both Cockbain and Taylor with fifties to their names, victory suddenly seemed to be ours for the taking. But then Crofty used all his varieties to take 3 for 6 in the space of 11 balls and end the contest.

Crofty has been Gloucestershire's nemesis for a number of years, to such an extent that we thought we would check out his career statistics versus Glos. Surprisingly they aren't that great. 89 wickets at an average of 28. Not exactly terrible, but considering how useless Glos have been throughout Crofty's entire career, you might have expected something a little better. So maybe Croft isn't our nemesis after all. But hold on. The Jessop Tavern View has very vivid memories of Croft destroying us in a fairly recent game at Cheltenham. This game was memorable for many reasons, some better than others. The Spear hit the most belligerent hundred we ever saw him hit. 89 balls in the final hour and a half of play. An innings that made the Jessop Tavern View miss the last bus home. However, the game belonged primarily to Croft, who took 6 for 120 in the first innings and then 7 for 67 in the second. Memorably, Glamorgan were set 40 odd to win with only about 5 overs left in the game. Brendon McCullum did the rest. What this all means is that we reckon that Croft has only recently become our nemesis. In the twilight of his career, that fat welsh git literally rolls off the Sky pundits couch in order to torment us. And yes, it feels a little personal.

Considering that Glos reduced Glamorgan to 64 for 6 on the first day, this is a pretty poor defeat. Throw in the fact that Glamorgan were bottom of the table and that we desperately needed a win in order to maintain some interest in the rest of the season and it's a pretty disillusioning defeat.

If you play 7 batsmen and then get skittled for 165 and 221 then you don't deserve to win any game. To try and find some positives, youngsters Ian Cockbain, Dan Housego and Jack Taylor at least made a fight of it. We were 48 for 4 in the second innings, so the defeat could have been even worse.

Lets hope that we pick four bowlers for todays game against Hampshire. Benny Howell seems to have barely hit the ball off the square since being handed a full time contract, and he should be the man to make room for either Liam Norwell or 38. It goes without saying that we have no idea what has happened to Will Gidman. It is now half an hour till the start of play against Hampshire and we have no idea about team news, or even who is in the squad for this game. Hampshire on the other hand provide their fans with this match preview. For the love of God Gloucestershire, is it too much to ask to have something similar?! How do you expect people to become fans and thus build up an interest in supporting the team? We've just checked the facebook page, and there is nothing. Honestly. This is a professional cricket team, struggling to bring in punters. We've just been on TV 3 times in a week. If there were any people out there wanting to follow the boys, perhaps rekindling a passion or just fancying getting into a bit of county cricket how are Gloucestershire helping these people? It really is shocking. The Jessop Tavern View is hardly Mr Marketing, but we do realise how powerful websites and social media can be.

Right, enough moaning.

Glos desperately need a win over the following four days to prevent this season really petering out. Considering all the positives we have seen so far this term, it would be a shame to see this season fade away.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Seven batsmen still not enough for struggling Glos

Day 2: Glamorgan 208 v Gloucestershire 91 - 7

Christ supporting Gloucestershire can drive you up the wall. With Glamorgan resuming on 64 for 6 the optimistic amongst us might have envisioned bowling out the championships bottom placed team for less than 100, certainly less than 150. Hell, even the final score of 208 would have been deemed acceptable. But to allow Glamorgan to put on 83 for the final wicket, and then to capitulate to 91 for 7......Christ. The official Glos website described it as a "frustrating day". Please. Frustrating would be to not be in as powerful a position as one would hope. Glos now find themselves staring defeat in the face. That's not frustrating. That's just piss poor.

Gloucestershires leading bowler was Rob Nicol, who took 4 for 53. When you are playing on what is obviously a bowler friendly track your best bowler shouldn't be a part time off spinner. The choice to play only three bowlers now looks a very poor one.

We are still not sure what the thinking is with playing seven batsmen. We guess that King John is wary of a batting lineup that has such little experience. Dent, Housego, Howell, Cockbain. It's pretty paper thin. The debalancing affect of losing Will Gidman's allround prowess looks more and more critical. The lack of a wicket keeper who is able to score runs batting at seven is also another factor. It's a classic  selectorial debate. If you pick just six batsmen you have to be confident in their consistency. If you pick just three bowlers then they need to be wicket taking bowlers. Given this quandary it is perhaps a little bit surprising that '38' was omitted. Fuller seems to be preferred for the one day games but his batting could have add more balance to the side. That said, even with seven batsmen we are still 91 for 7!

How Glos go about getting back into this contest will be interesting. the only slight silver lining is that Hamish Marshall and Ian Cockbain are the two not out batsmen. O'Mish be unable to bat due to being sick at the sight of Robert Croft still playing for glamorgan. Hopefully these two can get Glos up to near the Glamorgan total and then the fun can really start.

 Video highlights from Day 2 below. (God knows why almost every other county, except Glos, is able to post these on YouTube for easy embedding)

Who needs more than three bowlers?

Day 2: Glamorgan 64 for 6 v Gloucestershire

After the disappointing defeat to Lancashire in the CB40 on monday night Glos were presumably delighted to finally not be appearing on tv with the return of proper cricket.

Apparently this is the first time Gloucestershire and Glamorgan have actually managed to play any cricket against each other this season, with all 3 previous matches being complete washouts. Not that we weren't far off another washout today, with only 27 overs possible in the afternoon. Still, this was enough time for Glos to reduce Glamorgan to 64 for 6 and hopefully set up the win that will keep the boys vaguely interested in the promotion chase.

The Jessop Tavern View is praising some heavenly body for the return of Richard Coughtrie, and thus common sense, to the four day side. Coughtrie might not be brilliant, but we'd rather see a crap youngster than Jon Batty keeping wicket. We are ok with Batty keeping in the one dayers, but haven't seen any value in him keeping Coughtrie out of the championship side. Let's hope that the young keeper is allowed to develop his batting down the order, and isn't pressed into action further up the batting lineup which proved his undoing at the start of the season. Frankly, Coughtrie is probably always going to be a very limited batsman. But with seven batsmen selected for this match, he shouldn't be too exposed.

Jack Taylor also makes a welcome return to the team. Ed Young hasn't really showed the progress that Gloucester fans would have liked to have seen from his time eating pies and drinking beer at Darren Lehman's academy down under, and it's about time Taylor were given his opportunity. His two wickets  from 6 overs on a turning first day pitch was a very good return.

Bizarrely, King John has decided that seven batsmen, and thus only three full time bowlers are the way forward. We are not entirely convinced, especially since one of those bowlers, Jack Taylor, hasn't played a championship game since August last year. However, with Glamorgan already 6 down, and the pitch inspector checking himself in to the local Premier Inn in order to come back and have another look tomorrow, seven batsmen looks a very clever move.

Sadly the forecast is not exactly promising for the rest of the game and so a result may well prove beyond either side.

Day 1 video highlights below:

Concentrate on the championship boys

CB40: Lancashire beat Gloucestershire by 4 wickets.

The Jessop Tavern view probably won't be going to Lord's this year after Lancashire scraped a hard fought victory on monday night. On what was frankly a piss poor pitch that looked more like a slab of hard worn concrete Glos managed to set a competitive 184 primarily due to Ian Cockbain flogging 20 from the final over of the innings. However, such a total really required Gidders and the boys to take regular wickets in order to keep Lancashire on the back foot, and sadly a partnership of 82 for the fourth Lancashire wicket did the damage to Gloucestershire's CB40 campaign.

King John decided to roll the selectorial dice and came up with a batting heavy lineup that included seven batsmen, three bowlers and a Jon Batty. In fairness the pitch was crap and turned from the start and thus the seven batsmen also included part time spinners Rob Nicol and Chris Dent who both bowled a full complement of 8 rather tidy overs. However, neither took a wicket, which on a turning wicket proved to be the difference. Gloucestershire also weren't helped by an indifferent performance from Ed Young who really struggled to find either line or length whilst going for over 5 an over. Ed Young had a very solid t20 campaign by being able to fire his darts into the batsman's pads. However, it would appear that when he is asked to do more than this he really doesn't have the control at the moment. Time to give Jack Taylor ago we reckon.

It seemed strange that captain Gidders used only the minimum 5 bowlers and didn't decide to give either himself or Benny a bowl. Considering Ed Young's struggles, and the fact that Nicol and Dent looked about as threatening as the Jessop Tavern's own slow left armers, surely a case could have been made for the skipper wobbling down a few seamers on an uneven track. Ah, hindsight....

The defeat now leaves Glos third in the table on 11 points, a point behind both Lancashire and Middlesex, with the former still having two games in hand. With only two games left for Glos the odds are now steeped against them. The remaining fixtures are home against Lancashire and then away against Leicestershire. It will pretty much be a case of having to win both those games and then pray. Who wanted to go to a Lord's final in mid September anyway!