A pair of long-suffering Gloucestershire County Cricket club fans attempt to put the world (and the Glos administration) to rights. Themes include: Is one England ODI a year a good model for financial success and ground redevelopments, whether a batting average of 35 in Division 2 of the County Championship is acceptable and why Glos continue to be rubbish.
Gloucestershire 66 for 4 (8pts) drew with Derbyshire 278 (8pts)
It's not often that you finish a good versus Derbyshire thinking you've dodged a bullet. However, at 66-4 Glos were in a bit of trouble, having allowed the division's bottom side to recover from 153-6 to post a decent 278 all out.
There was never much prospect of a result in this match, with significant time lost to rain on 3 days and the final day a complete washout. It is also hard to draw conclusions from such a match, which leaves us 7th in Division 2, albeit just 7 points behind 3rd placed Essex. It was disappointing that we allowed a weak batting side to recover from a precarious position to post almost 300. This shows just how much we need our 1st choice bowling attack fit and firing in order to make progress.
We are badly missing some reliable backup to the ever-excellent Will Gidman (who limped around a bit during the Derby innings, per the BBC commentators), although Benny Howell did fill in admirably as 4th seamer in this instance. If you added Craig Miles, a fit David Payne to this attack, plus had a fully firing James Fuller (under par in this match) then you can foresee us bowling better sides than Derbyshire out cheaply. We are not including the unfortunate Ian Saxelby in this equation, as sadly we can't envisage him remaining fit for long enough to feature regularly at the moment.
Anyway, onwards and upwards to a t20 Blast match down at Canterbury tomorrow night. The weather forecast for the SE region has finally perked up a bit, so we could be in for an entertaining contest. Sadly, GO Jones is unable to feature against his parent club, but it should be an interesting contest nonetheless.
Gloucestershire 113 for 5 beat Middlesex 111 for 8 (Norwell 3-27, Fuller 3-29) by five wickets
The Jessop Tavern View can always be counted on to talk up any Glos victory. As such, we're delighted to report that Glos eased to a five wicket victory in our home t20 Blast opener on Friday. However, having watched Middlesex put in two terrible performances in a televised double-header at Lords last Saturday, we have to say that the win wasn't unexpected.
Last week, we bemoaned the lack of batting firepower in the Glos side. Our concerns remain, despite this comfortable win. Maxi Klinger again fell cheaply and badly needs a score to kick start his season. Losing 5 wickets in chasing just 112 for victory indicates a fairly mediocre standard of cricket being played by both sides.
Perhaps the more exciting news of the past few days is the loan signing of Geraint 'Irongloves' Jones as cover for the fragile digits of Gareth Roderick. This is an intriguing, if stopgap measure, designed to relieve some of the pressure on youngster Cam Herring while Roderick is unavailable for the next 6 weeks.
Jones has lost his place as Kent's keeper to youngster Sam Billings, after 13 seasons wearing the gloves. He's clearly past his best, but hopefully not in a Jon Batty kind of way and he surely can't do too much harm in 4 weeks. King John has indicated that he will be asked to mentor Herring,who is already a very good keeper from what we've seen, but less assured with the bat at this early stage of his career.
Jones is straight into the squad for today's LVCC match at Derby, which has thus far been delayed by rain and begins a 12 day stretch of matches on the road, including Derbyshire and Leicestershire in the championship and 220 Blasts v Kent and Sussex. Jones will be unable to feature against his parent club Kent, which might prove a good opportunity to assess whether he has passed on anything positive to young Herring. We're hoping he sticks to offering batting advice, rather than explaining how he managed to do this last season.
Gloucestershire 252 (Roderick 59, Riley 3-51) and 443 for 6 dec. (Marshall 118, Stevens 5-87) beat Kent 114 (W Gidman 4-14, Fuller 4-32) and 291 (Harmison 125) by 290 runs
The Jessop Tavern View is delighted to report that the boys wrapped up a deserved first LVCC victory of the season before lunch today at Bristol.
We were thinking of making some snide comments about being lucky that the 'delayed' declaration yesterday didn't lead to the match being affected by the forecast rain, as mentioned by quite a few folk on Twitter and the BBC radio commentary team yesterday. Upon giving it more thought, however, we've decided that Captain Klinger was just supremely confident that we would bowl them out in plenty of time, regardless of the potential for rain today.
There's a definitely a case to be made that, having witnessed Kent slump to 2/4 and 17-5 on Day 1, King John and the brains trust was simply well aware that Kent's batting line-up was pretty useless and unlikely to survive for more than a day, having been set such a huge target. On a fairly blameless pitch according to the players, we managed to score almost 450 in our second innings and yet Kent twice failed to top 300 in an innings, despite Ben Harmison's battling century (incidentally, his 3rd championship ton v the 'shire).
All in all, this was a bloody good performance from Glos, and as the skipper pointed out on the official site link above, a victory we had really earned after been denied by the weather against Glamorgan last month. You could also add that we were unlucky to lose to a trademark Graeme Smith 4th innings special v Surrey last week.There are a few negatives to flag up though. The first innings batting was under par, albeit somewhat obscured by the fairly pathetic effort from Kent. We suffered another tough break, as talented keeper-batsman Gareth (Matthew B)roderick re-broke the same finger which kept him out earlier in the year. We will be without him for 6 weeks and will miss both his runs and athletic keeping at a crucial time of the season.
The bowling cupboard is also pretty threadbare, with Payne and the Sax remaining unfit and Craig Miles still a couple of weeks away from a return.
It seems a shame to end on a moan, but a couple of old gripes continue to rile the Jessop Tavern View. The club is still not getting its communications strategy right. We've heard very little on Saxelby's injury status until a brief mention today and have been reduced to haranguing the @gloscricket Twitter feed for information, to little effect.
Also, the video highlights we try to post at the end of each day's play invariably come courtesy of the oppositions Youtube page or the ECB site. Glos seem unwilling to explain why they have yet to cough up to make access available to video footage from our matches. If almost all the other first class counties can do this, surely the least loyal fans can expect is for the county to update their YouTube page or the official site with match highlights which are available on a daily basis.
We are aware we aren't exactly flush with cash compared to the Surreys of this world. Getting your website updated with relevant news and actually interacting with the fans on Twitter and other social sites isn't rocket science, especially when the new Chief Exec comes from a marketing background.
Rant over. Good win. Let's build on it and actually hit some boundaries in Friday's t20 clash with fellow weaklings Middlesex.
Showing the sort of profesionalism that only a Gloucestershire cricket blog could attain to the Jessop tavern View has managed to post two posts about the same days play. Frankly since Glos don't convincingly win many days play we are keeping both posts up as a celebration.
Gloucestershire 252 and 212 - 4 v Kent 114.
Going into this match Gloucestershire's season was dangerously close to coming off the rails. Lying joint bottom of Division 2 and with minus points in the t20 'Blast' another defeat would have have seen us clamouring for the return of Jon Batty. Fortunately we won't need to resort to that.
Having won the toss on day 1 Glos limped to a seemingly disappointing 252 all out with only the returning Gareth Roderick making any real contribution. However then the fun began.
Before the season began it appeared fairly obvious that Gloucestershire's weakest suit lay very much in their batting, fielding, bowling unit. With only Will Gidman of guaranteed quality we were heavily reliant on the sticky tape holding Ian Saxelby together lasting a full season and on Craig Miles being able to replicate last seasons impressive introduction to first class cricket. As it has transpired Miles is yet to take the field and Saxelby wishes he hadn't. Whilst Gidman has continued to impress (18 wickets at 13) opposition teams have figured out that if they blunt Gidman then Glos have very little to offer, well, little to offer other than a succession of four balls with which to help yourself.
Thus, going into this match it was hardly comforting to see Benny Howell being drafted in to do the job as a fourth seamer. We like Benny a lot as a Frenchman and as a cricketer, but when your side is struggling to take wickets do you really want to pick a batting all rounder? It didn't strike us as the most aggressive of selections. Clearly though King John is a wiser man than we, and he had clearly poured over hours of tape of Kent's batsmen and decided that we didn't really need any bowlers and that even James Fuller would take wickets. What an astute man.
For a while this morning it appeared that Glos fancied throwing away their overnight position of having reduced Kent to 33 for 6. English youngsters Sam Billings and Adam Ball serenely took Kent passed the follow-on before Kent combusted again to lose their final 3 wickets for 13 runs. Gidman taking 4 for 14 from 12 overs and Fuller capturing 4 for 32. Whilst Gidman's economy is helped by the fact that runs come freely at the other end he has now consistently taken wickets for 3 and a bit seasons, and scored runs. It would be interesting to know whether he does figure in a Peter Moore's powerpoint presentation. We suspect not, but how close he is would be interesting to know.
Fuller on the other hand continues to flatter to deceive. One day good, one day going for 38 an over. He is the sort of cricketer who we love to watch as something is always happening when he is on a cricket field. Be that taking wickets, biffing runs, getting destroyed by Scott Stryis or deliberately bowling beamers. He is the Jessop Tavern's sort of cricketer.
In reply Glos looked to be making a hash of it 58 for 3, with captain Klinger again failing to make a mark. But cometh the hour and cometh the Gidman, Alex this time. Gidman and O'Mish proceeded to do what wise old timers are suppose to do in the middle order and calmly constructed what should be a match deciding partnership of 135.
With two days to go surely Glos cannot lose from here. The question will be how big a lead we need and how long we feel our bowlers need to take 10 wickets. We'd like to see a mid afternoon declaration giving us 4 and a half sessions. The weather may also play its part so Glos would be encouraged to get on with it.
Day 2 Stumps - Gloucestershire (252 and 213/4) lead Kent (114) by 351 runs with 6 wickets remaining
It's not often that the Jessop Tavern View gets to write about a game where we're clearly the better (batting) side. Opportunities to talk up our batting lineup using words such as 'patient', 'disciplined' and 'dominant' are few and far between for fans of the 'shire.
However, on the evidence of the two days versus Kent so far, we are watching the better side exerting their dominance over a Division 2 rival. Having initially underperformed with the bat yesterday, the boys bounced back to reduce Kent to 2-4 on the way to 33-6 overnight. A Kent fightback (from 33 up to 101 for the loss of just one early wicket) prompted fears of a minimal 1st innings lead for the boys. Luckily, Gidman dislodged the stubborn Ball for 37 and we managed to polish them off for just 114 before lunch. The remaining two wickets added just 13, leaving keeper Billings not out on a valuable 42,
Kent had managed to avoid the follow on and Glos started the afternoon session poorly, with Klinger (who's in a really bad trot at the moment) departing early to Claydon. Dent was soon castled by what sounded like a jaffa from the first ball of Stevens' spell. Will Tavare also departed cheaply, which brought the experienced, yet frequently unreliable pairing of APR Gidman and O'Mish together. Despite our concerns, the experienced campaigners batted rather sensibly, putting on an excellent 135 as the Kent bowlers began to toil in the roasting afternoon sun.
Sadly, our admiration for their efforts in avoiding their trademark loose shots when well set was somewhat spoiled by our guffaws of laughter as BBC Radio Kent, in a seemingly straight-faced piece of commentary, described Gidman's 'slender' figure as he waited at the crease. Much as we admire the former skipper's weight of shot, the days when he could get into his waist 32 whites are long past.
Gidders eventually departed for an excellent 85, leaving Roderick and the Irishman to see us through to the close with a healthy (dare we say potentially match-winning) lead of 351, with 6 wickets still in hand.
Sadly, the weather forecast isn't great for tomorrow and Wednesday, but hopefully the boys can set an unreachable target in the morning. Having performed admirably thus far, you would have to back our bowlers to get through Kent's sketchy-looking batting line-up, barring too much rain over the next couple of days.
Is a first win of the season on the horizon? Let's hope so.