Saturday, 13 April 2013

Musings on what could have been

Days 2 and 3: Glos 409 for 5 dec v Essex 177 for 3.

The weather and a stubborn knock from Tom Westley have surely put pay to any thoughts Gloucestershire had of starting the 2013 campaign with a win. Despite James Fuller's early salvo of 2 for 22 from 4 overs at the end of day 2, play only resumed again at 3pm on day 3 and Tom Westley and former Gloucestershire star (!) Ravi Bopara shut the door firmly in Gloucester's face with a stand off 116.

James Fuller's efforts on the evening of day two confirmed last seasons impression that Fuller is a real wicket taking bowler. Without having seen too much of him it is difficult to know whether this wicket taking ability comes from genuinely good deliveries, or whether he sprays the ball around so much that batsmen are drawn into daft dismissals. We've all played against these sort of guys. They run in at a hundred miles and hour and terrify the life out of you, not because of their quality, but because you know that they have absolutely no control over where the ball is going. The ball is as likely to be fired directly at your head, as fired 6 feet down the leg side, or ripping out your off stump. We are not suggesting Fuller doesn't have quality, but his previous misnomers for beamers suggests he has something of the maverick operator about him.

Rolling back to day two, O'Mish and Housego both moved their scores to 149 and 150 respectively, and Benny Howell gave the scoreboard the acceleration it needed in posting a declaration. Howell is an interesting selection. Last season he appeared far more comfortable in the shorter form of the game, and his innings here seems to confirm this. When he walks in with the score on 351, as he did here, you feel he is more suited than facing down a crisis. Still, a little bit of competition between him and Ian Cockbain can only be a good thing.

Listening to BBC Essex's coverage on day one the point was made about the how much worth there is in playing for a draw in division 2. With no relegation and with only three points differential between a loss and a draw, how much do you really gain from drawing a match. Contriving results is hardly a new thing in county cricket, but usually these things happen towards the end of the season. Looking at the weather forecast for the final day it seems unlikely that there will be enough play to manufacture a result anyway, but it would interesting to see how each team view the possibility of creating a result so early in the season.

Finally, as always Alex Winter's match reports for this game have been excellent, and well worth checking out. Today he makes the point about the high turn over of youngsters that Essex have had to endure over the last few seasons. Varun Chopra, Chris Wright, Tony Palladino and Adam Wheater have all left over the past few years. That's quite a useful group of players. Of course this is always likely to be a problem for counties who, like Essex have struggled, during this time period. However, it did make us think again about the Gloucestershire youngsters and how much interest their has been in them over the winter. Did any of the bigger counties enquiry about Chris Dent or James Fuller, and if not, what does this say about the quality of these guys? It's a theme that the Jessop Tavern View has touched upon before. Time will tell exactly how good these kids can become. After such a positive start to the season, our glass is a lot closer to half full.

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