Thursday, 26 April 2012

Pilates fans: Classes resume as of Thursday

Kane Williamson is back. Yes readers, the prodigal son, the man who averaged 36 for us last year has returned to Nevil Road in time to sit in the pavilion for the best part of 4 days, while occasionally nipping off to teach his daily Pilates class in the club gym.

Anyway, the forecast for our first home Championship game of the season is rubbish, so we're not sure a match preview has much value. For what it's worth, Glos are without David Payne (injured) and Paul Muchall (rested), so James 'fourball' Fuller and corporal David Wade come into the squad along with Williamson.

We quite often lose to Glamorgan in embarrassing fashion, so the Jessop Tavern View is minded to pray for rain and look for victories in May.

Monday, 23 April 2012

So we're not supposed to celebrate draws now?

Kent 150 (W Gidman 5-43) and 94 for 2 drew with Gloucestershire 255 and 257 for 7 dec.

The Jessop Tavern View was rather surprised to read some surprisingly downbeat match reports after rain curtailed the final day at Canterbury, with Kent on 94-2. This draw leaves the boys 3rd in the table with 33 points from our opening three fixtures of the season. In case you missed it before, all three matches were away from Nevil Road.

We're pretty happy with 33 points from three, considering that the first game was a comprehensive spanking from Essex inside three days. To recap, Gloucestershire dominated for much of the match and were unlucky to lose a frontline bowler as well as see rain take time out of the game. The pitch flattening out as the match wore on didn't help either.

The day began with Glos batting on from 191-3 and taking their second innings score up to 257-7. The skipper struck a six of Davies before falling LBW to Matt Coles and Ian Cockbain fell in the same manner. Hamish Marshall scored a much-needed 74, his highest score in the County Championship since July 2010 (that is a terrible statistic), before being run out by Brendan Nash. This knock will likely secure his place for the rest of the season, as the 'shire have a small squad, a fact noted by King John after the match. He cautioned that such a small and youthful squad can ill-afford injuries such as the side strain which could keep David Payne out for a few weeks.

Worryingly, the arrival of one man who could strengthen the squad, gym instructor Kane Williamson, may again be delayed by visa issues. There remains the possibility that he may not arrive in time for the Glamorgan game starting at Bristol on Thursday. You would have though the club's administrators would have learned their lesson from last year's visa debacle. We then realised that we are talking about Gloucestershire, a county who based their entire financial future on gaining planning permission for a massive block of flats which no-one (especially the local council) wanted.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Glos in charge but rain looks the likeliest winner

Gloucestershire 255 and 191 for 6 (A Gidman 60*,Marshall 55*) lead Kent 150 by 296 runs

Gloucestershire remain in a strong position after another weather-hit day at Canterbury. A commanding lead of 296 runs put the 'shire into a position where the most likely results on Day 4 are the draw and an away victory. A draw looks favourite though, on a flattening pitch with further rain predicted tomorrow. Glos are also hindered by the loss of seamer David Payne, unable to bowl again in the match due to a side strain sustained yesterday.

The bowling attack, led by Will Gidman with 5-43, again looked good and ran through a batting lineup rated as one of the best in the division. The ease with which the Kent tail was cleaned up this morning is something we would like to see more of as the season wears on.

Payne will be out for a couple of weeks, so the hardy fans who turn up tomorrow could be treated to the enjoyable sight of O'Mish's Irish curls bouncing up and down as he trundles in for a few overs of military medium. Marshall has proven something of a golden arm for skipper Gidders in the past, so let's hope his 55 not out today has perked him up and motivated him to run through Kent tomorrow. Benny Howell can also allegedly bowl a bit and Will Gidman, Saxelby and Ed Young will all have key roles to play if Glos are to push for a second win out of three.

However, The Jessop Tavern View is known for taking a rather more cynical outlook on matters Glos. Skippers Gidman's comments after the game indicated that he will be happy to bat on and make the game safe, instead of making a challenging declaration and then trying to bowl Kent out while a bowler light.

"We will need some more runs because Kent have a strong batting line-up and we are a bowler light because of David Payne's injury. But we are in a good position and hopefully Hamish and I will be in the right place to assess conditions tomorrow morning. The pitch is pretty placid so there is still a lot of work to do."

One of the most encouraging things about the last two matches has been the resilience shown with the bat by the lower middle order and tail. It bodes well for the rest of the season. Today it was the turn of the more experienced batsmen to fill their boots against a somewhat flat bowling attack. Never known for looking a gift horse in the mouth, Gidman and Marshall cashed in. Where have we said that before?

To be honest though, a dominant draw would still be a pretty good result.For the second time in two days, we're typing this thinking that Glos might potentially be one of the better sides in Division 2. Who would have thought that after the embarrassing defeat to Essex a couple of weeks ago?

Saturday, 21 April 2012

How good is Will Gidman?

Kent 119 for 6 (W Gidman 3-23) trail Gloucestershire 255 (W Gidman 56) by 136 runs

The Jessop Tavern View would like to admit to being big fans of Will Gidman. (This is only partially due to automatically liking people who share the same name as us). For a man who couldn't even get in Durham's 4 day side two years ago, he is now the key player in the Glos side. He may not be a spectacular performer with either bat or ball, but he has proved solid and reliable in both disciplines. His willingness to step up and take the new ball following the departure of Jon Lewis is a case in point and his 9 wickets last week have already been complimented by 3 in Kent's first innings.

Gidman began the day by helping Ed Young rebuild the shire's innings from a precarious overnight 131-6 to 174, passing 50 on the way, before being run out by Brendan Nash after being sent back by Young. Paul Muchall joined Young and they added another 50 before Mark Davies (one of many Durham rejects plying their trade in this match) bowled Muchall and had Saxelby LBW in successive balls. Young pulled a six off Matt Coles and finished unbeaten on 55, his first half century of the season.

The young seam attack made early inroads in to Kent's vaunted (by Div 2 standards) batting lineup, with Gidman dismissing Key, Ben Harmison and Powell, all caught at the wicket by Coughtrie. Saxelby accounted for West Indian Brendan Nash and Payne bowled Scott Newman. This left Kent in big trouble at 55-5 but Stevens and Geraint Jones rebuilt the innings by batting sensibly. They took the score on to 110, before Ed Young bowled Stevens for 54 with a delivery Alex Winter described on Cricinfo as 'probably one of the best balls Young has ever bowled, certainly in first-class cricket'. Praise indeed from a man who has actually seen Young play live on many more occasions than the Jessop Tavern View.

What can Glos fans expect from the rest of the match? A lot depends on the weather. If the rain holds off and the boys can bowl Kent out while we still have a lead of around 100, then a win is a distinct possibility. It wouldn't require a huge second innings score to set Kent an imposing target for victory and several sessions to bat out to avoid defeat. Any lead of over 300 would be useful with the way the bowling attack has performed so far. Who would have thought after yesterday (and our negativity after the Essex match) that the boys could potentially be looking at 2 away wins from our first 3 matches?

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Glos suffer hangover on Day 1

Day 1: Glos 131-6 v Kent

After last week's epic win versus Hampshire, captain Alex Gidman was quoted on the official site as saying 'There may be a few beers drunk tonight and they will be fully deserved'. As the Jessop Tavern View is only too aware after a recent stag do, too much alcohol can lead to a hangover and  reduced effectiveness on days to come. Well, today's effort with the bat has certainly proved that, as Gloucestershire struggled to 131-6 on a rain-affected day in Canterbury where 42 overs were lost to the elements.

Kent won the toss and understandably sent Gloucestershire in. Last week's centurion, Chris Dent, followed that knock with a second ball dismissal here and Richard Coughtrie followed for 3 five overs later. Coughtrie has now scored under 20 runs in 5 championship knocks as an opener and you wonder how long he can continue at the top of the order with Cockbain also in the side.

Newcomer Benny Howell batted well on debut for a hard-earned 44, before becoming one of Matt Coles' three victims. Skipper Gidman and O'Mish both failed again before the reliable pair of Cockbain and the better Gidders repaired some of the damage with a partnership of 58, before Cockbain fell in the last over of the day, unluckily caught in the gully off the inside edge.

Some hard work will be needed tomorrow, although the rain looks likely to take time out of the game on all four days, which may well prove to be the shire's saviour. Still, who would be unhappy with a win, a loss and a draw from three away championship games in April?

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Preview: Kent v Gloucestershire

The Jessop Tavern View is so enthused by last weeks thrilling victory over promotion favourites Hampshire, that they are writing this post from the middle of a Sinai desert sandstorm, and with the evening call to prayer reminding us that its only an hour until the champions league semi final kicks off.

Gloucester's strength in depth this season is vindicated by the addition of Benny Howell from obscurity to batting at 3. Now Benny did plunder a 2nd XI double hundred last week, but has only one first class appearance to his name, a credible 70 odd last season for Hampshire. Frankly we are most concerned about the fact that his name is Benny (apparently he was born in France, so let's pretend its Benny in a french accent). According to the club website Benny will bat at 3 against Kent. Full marks to O'Mish (a former test number 3) for stepping up and at least allowing Benny to ease himself in.

Typical the Glos website doesn't have any other team news for us. Just that Benny will replace 'the house', who has a shoulder problem. We'll just presume its the same team except for this one change. It will be interesting to see whether we keep faith with tearaway boundary pepperer, James Fuller, after his round the houses performance last week.

This is Glos' 3rd straight away game, and they come up against a Kent team who have started the season well. A 'winning' draw against Yorkshire, and a thumping of Northants. The addition of veteran Gloucester basher Michael Powell adds steel to the middle order, and young pace man Matt Coles bringing jest to their bowling. That said, we did beat them home and away last season, so lets home for more of the same and the boys can finally head home with two wins under their belts.

Finally, can we please repeat our plea for poor Richard Coughtie to be relieved of the opening slot and Ian Cockbain given a crack. Unless King John is intending for gym instructor Kane Williamson to open when he finally frees himself from his Pilates classes then we see no point in continuing with Coughtrie at the top of the order.

Right, the Jessop Tavern View is off to the Cleopatra coffee shop for a Nescafe and some manic Bedouins cheering for Barcelona.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Who would have thought it? Not us...

Gloucestershire (22 pts) beat Hampshire (3) by 33 runs

Bloody hell, we weren't expecting that! As the Times' Ivo Tennant so aptly put it in his match report (paywall), 'A match that before the start appeared quite likely to be over in two days, given Gloucestershire’s form and resources, and the fact that this pitch was one for the seamers, continued until there were just 12 balls remaining.'

This is a particularly encouraging win for the boys for a couple of reasons. One, it shows that a youthful seam attack, shorn in recent years of Lewis, Kirby, Gemaal Hussain and Anthony Ireland (ok, we're kidding on that last one), can still hold its own and bowl sides out. Two, the victory emphasises that morale remained high despite a crushing loss against Essex last week and that out young players don't give up without a fight. Glos had Hampshire 72-6, then witnessed a gritty fightback to take them to 190-7, before eventually finishing them off with just two overs left showed persistence, confidence and by the sound of it, some great slip catching from the boys.

Star performers included Chris Dent, who snaffled 5 catches to go with his first innings hundred, Will Gidman took 9 wickets in the match, including two crucial wickets in the 75th over as well as some valuable runs. Credit should also go to fellow seamers Ian Saxelby and David Payne, both of who chipped in with 3 wickets in the second innings while bowling economically.

So, after two Championship games, we are third in the table with 25 points. Not bad considering the pumping we took from Essex and the doubts raised on these pages about whether we had enough quality and resilience to succeed this season. We are delighted to be proved wrong. Roll on Kent on Thursday, a third consecutive away game before the home season begins against Glamorgan on April 26th.

Day 4 highlights from the ECB website below:

Dent century and Gidman 5-for put Glos well on top

Day 2 and 3: Glos 314 and 129-5 v Hampshire 199

After Day 1 the Jessop Tavern View called for fight, particularly in light of the opening week's debacle, and we'll be damned if we haven't got exactly what we asked for! We are seriously considering offering forward our services as motivational online speakers for the boys....somehow we don't see the combination of King John, Captain Gidders and vice-skipper O'Mish being "we will fight them on the beaches sort of guys". Maybe we are wrong. Maybe O'Mish puts so much energy into encouraging the boys to fight that he has nothing left when he gets to the middle. Actually, maybe not.

So what has happened so far? Well, Chris Dent went on to complete his first proper first class hundred. Over the years we have learnt never to get over-excited about any promising Gloucestershire players (rumour has it that the Jessop Tavern View thought Carl 'Son of Gordon' Greenidge looked handy when first spotted.....we also thought Mark Hardinges looked fat and useless to counteract this) but Chris Dent's innings showed all the signs of a real maturing of his talents. He clearly has all the shots, but for the first time we saw him really apply himself, and actually convert a start into a potentially match winning hundred.

Will Gidman continues to be given the new ball, which we are yet to be entirely convinced about, but 5 for 48 is a good argument against us. David Payne took his first wicket of the match and Ian Saxelby took a handy 3-46 to leave Hampshire trailing by 115 on first innings. An early collapse left the boys in trouble at 71-5, before the great man contributed a valuable 25 not out to an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 58 with Ian Cockbain, who ended the day unbeaten on 27.

Video highlights of the match from the Hampshire site below:

Thursday, 12 April 2012

A bit of fight....and a bit of rain. A blueprint for our season

Day 1; Glos 195 for 4 v Hampshire

Having been skittled twice last week the last thing that Gloucestershire wanted was to lose the toss on a cold, damp south coast morning, and walk out to bat on a green top. But that is exactly what happened to Chris Dent and Richard Coughtrie who faced the unenviable task of trying to kick start Gloucestershires season.

Coughtrie at least got off the mark for the season, following his pair against Essex, but the 'House' managed to be out twice in his short innings to leave Gloucestershire reeling at 22 for 2. Experienced pros Gidders and O'Mish seemed to have summed up the situation and decided that their feeble technique against the moving ball meant there was no point in trying to hang around and so they might as well as have a dash. In fairness this now appears to be both of their default settings and a perfect example of players deciding that they will do their run scoring when the sun comes out, thank you very much. Both got in. Both had a dash. Both perished LBW playing across the line. The Jessop Tavern is going to copy and paste these last few sentences somewhere as we can't be arsed to have to type it out for every game.

Thankfully the Gloucestershire youngsters have completely disregarded the example set by their senior pros, as both Chris Dent and Ian Cockbain got their heads down and saved Gloucstershire with gritty run-an-over half centuries. In our preview for this match yesterday, we asked that the boys at least show a bit of fight, and we couldn't have asked for any more than the unbeaten hundred partnership these two produced before the rain came. Long may it continue. The rain that is. Despite a commendable level of application shown today, the Jessop Tavern View still reckons that a wet and miserable summer is Glos' best bet this season.

In an amusing aside, we were glad to see that we aren't the only ones who struggle to think of things to write about when covering division 2 county cricket. Cricinfo reported that Hampshire's new sponsors have done away with the Shane Warne suite, whilst the Shaun Udal suite survives. Interesting stuff.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Preview: Hampshire v Gloucestershire

We're only a week into the season and already tomorrow's county championship game with Hampshire has the feel of a real make or break game for the young Gloucestershire squad. The basis of last year's surprising success was the impressive start the team got off to. Early wins help build a confidence in the young guns that never seemed to leave them for the remainder of the season. Worryingly, this season's difficult start, with 3 away fixtures on the trot, could have the very opposite effect of draining any left-over self confidence.

Almost the entire Gloucestershire squad faces the 'difficult second season' syndrome as they make the transition from being unknown quantities last year, to facing up to teams that have a year's worth of footage with which to analyse all the niggling weaknesses, such as Richard Coughtrie's inability to hit the ball off the square! The good players have the ability to adapt and build on their games. The Hamish Marshall players don't.

Last week's drubbing by Essex doesn't bode well. But lets not get down on the boys before we even get to May. What do we want to see over the next 2 and a bit days against Hampshire? Well primarily just a bit of fight. When you're a young player we can forgive shiteness, but at least show a bit of fight. This was by far the most impressive aspect of last season and also by far the most disappointing aspect of the dismantling by Essex.

David Payne returns to the squad and, according to the skipper, is likely to start. It'll be interesting to see if the batting order gets rejigged. We like Richard Coughtrie, but watching such a limited player at the top of the order is more disappointing than yet another pleasant 30 odd from Chris Dent. The Jessop Tavern seems to remember Ian Cockbain also opened at some point last year, yet now seems to be hidden at number 6. Likewise Hamish O'Mish also opened last year before he forgot that the perhaps of the wooden thing in his hands was to hit the ball with it. Whilst we appreciate that O'Mish has only just returned, we see no reason why Cockbain be stuck down at 6. Put Cockbain up top, then move 'the better' Gidders up to 6, with Coughtrie at 7. Christ, this selection stuff is easy!

Hampshire have overseas feline Simon Katich available having passed through quarantine, and England's latest pie thrower Danny Briggs to choose from. They also have a ridiculous website address that has nothing to do with Hampshire cricket and everything to do with their sponsors. Irrelevant, we know. But hell if you were sat here at approaching midnight writing a match preview for second division county championship cricket, then you too would find amusement in such irrelevant triviality!

Wanted: Promising, young New Zealander

Last week the club website announced the return of Kane Williamson is to return to the Nevil road gym staff....and, we presume, the Gloucestershire middle order. Whilst 800 odd runs from a test class batsman in division 2 was hardly a great return last year, the guy clearly has talent and his youth fits nicely with the rest of the team. We'd rather see a young international star than some journeyman Aussie of Saffer if nothing else.

What we failed to pick up on was the fact that he will clear off half way through to season to enjoy some Caribbean sun with New Zealand. But fear ye not for King John has had a word with his old contacts and young Kane will be replaced by and as yet unnamed future kiwi superstar...who will be decided on by the New Zealand cricket board. Presumably they are sat around a table as we speak, scratching their heads as to where they will find such a person......

Sunday, 8 April 2012

The start of a long season of toil?

Essex 364 (Godleman 130) beat Gloucestershire 180 and 146 (Napier 5-58) by an innings and 38 runs

An embarrassing defeat inside seven sessions means that Gloucestershire have started the 2012 campaign with a whimper. The Jessop Tavern View has a horrible feeling that this is a an opening sentence we're going to be writing with some frequency this season.

To be honest, there's not much you can say about such a comprehensive defeat. You can quibble about selection and moan about poor individual performances, but the team as a whole must shoulder the blame for what appeared a pretty insipid performance. You would think the boys would be up for the opening game of the season, but it was hard to tell from the way we batted, with the combined innings lasting less than 105 overs in total.

Day 1: Essex 364 all out

Gloucestershire's bowlers toiled valiantly on the first day of the opening championship game of the season, surviving a Billy Godleman hundred to eventually bowl Essex out for 364. From the brief highlights below, the main thing we noticed is that the Glos seamers, especially James Fuller, appear rather keen on testing out the middle of the pitch. This seems a strange policy given that it's the start of April. Adam Wheater certainly enjoyed the short stuff, as his 56 from just 42 balls proved. Godleman scored a good 130, which proved the value of seeing off the new ball and sticking around, before taking advantage of the older ball and tiring bowlers.

Day 2: Gloucestershire 180 and 55 for 5 trail Essex 364 by 129 runs

Not good. Loose shots, no individual score over 50 and a general sense of doom pervades after a woeful effort with the bat.

Day 3: Essex 364 (Godleman 130) beat Gloucestershire 180 and 146 (Napier 5-58) by an innings and 38 run

Enough said. At least Will Gidman and Ian Cockbain showed some stomach for the fight. But let's face it, the damage was already done and Graham Napier was allowed to take only the 6th five wicket haul of his career.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Glos season preview 2012. Disclaimer: we know nothing

The Jessop Tavern View has this week been pondering what to put in this season's preview. Given that the county has lost several players from last year's 4th-placed squad and the only replacement of note has been perennial 2nd XI championship 'star' Dan Housego, we don't really have that much to say. Neither do the media by the looks of it, as so far we have only rated a paragraph or so in both the Guardian and Telegraph season previews.

County cricket has not been at the forefront of our minds recently, at least until we spotted Surrey captain Rory Hamilton-Brown on our run home from work yesterday. For those of you wondering what county players get up to in pre-season, we can exclusively reveal that he was carrying two takeaway pizzas from Pizza Express and a can of Coke! Presumably a Chris Adams-approved pre-match meal.

Anyway, on to matters at Nevil Road. Can fans of the Shire harbour any hope of promotion this year or are we doomed to yet another season of toil near the base of Division Two? To be honest, we don't have a clue!


The departure of 2011's leading run-scorer Chris Taylor in fairly shameful circumstances has left a potentially gaping hole in the Glos middle order. The addition of Dan Housego from Middlesex has left us with one big question, how do you pronounce his name? Is it How-sego or House-go? A tricky dilemma for those of us who have barely seen him play. Commenters please feel free to put us right. We will see if his reputation as 'the best player in the 2nd XI championship' can help replace the Child's 1137 runs.

No sooner have we written this then a glance at Cricinfo confirms the slightly more exciting news that we've re-signed Kane Williamson as overseas for the first half of the season! Let's hope Kane can continue his form from the recent test series against South Africa (where he scored a match-saving hundred in the third test) as opposed to last year's Glos form (831 runs at 36.13). His is still only 21 and according to King John has improved in all forms of the game for New Zealand in the past few months. Goodness knows we could use some improvement in limited overs cricket, so let's hope so.

In other batting news, we're hoping from another solid season from captain Alex Gidman, although 1000 championship runs has to be the bare minimum requirement these days. The same should be said of Chris Dent, who can no longer rely on the tag of 'promising youngster' as justification for not converting attractive 50s into 100s.

Worryingly Hamish Marshall has been named vice-captain. Let's hope he's not doing too much mentoring of Housego and the youngsters, otherwise we could be seeing a lot more quick-fire 30s and 40s from the batsmen, before departing LBW to an ugly swipe. Even more worryingly, Jon Batty is still on the books. Notwithstanding the stacks of catches he took in his first season when we had Gemaal Hussain, Kirb and Lewis on the books, surely his signing has been an unmitigated disaster? Here's hoping we're not relying on him for key runs this season.


It has also been announced that we have signed the lesser-known Muchall brother, all-rounder Paul, from Durham after a pre-season trial. Here's hoping he can recreate the success of the last all-rounder with limited first class experience signed from Durham.

Speaking of Will Gidman, if he can produced 80% of last season's 1006 runs and 51 wickets then Glos fans will be more than happy. We hope you will be, anyway.


For the first time in around 15 years, the seam attack will not be led by Jon Lewis. His departure for the bowler's paradise at The Oval has left a lack of real experience among the promising seam attack. The emergence last year of the better Gidders, David Payne and Liam Norwell, plus the return to fitness of Ian Saxelby has left us with a raw but promising core of quick bowlers. We're also hoping to see more of tearaway Kiwi quick James Fuller, who tore through a team of  Oxford students in a recent pre-season game at The Parks.

The two young spinners, Ed Young and Jack Taylor are both relatively inexperienced, having made their debuts in the last couple of years. Young spent the winter honing his tan skills at the Darren Lehmann academy in Perth and hopefully has returned having picked Lehmann's brain on more than just how to put away an enormous volume of alcohol and still be able to play the next day. On a bright note, the departure of Vikram Banerjee has improved the overall quality of our spin options immeasurably.


Here at the Jessop Tavern View we are not noted for our optimism. With an inexperienced squad shorn of two stalwarts of proven quality in Taylor and Lewis we foresee a season of struggle. The best we can hope for is a repeat of 4th or 5th place and a good run in one of the interminable one day competitions. We fear that 6th or 7th may be more realistic though. Here's looking forward to how it goes.