Monday, 17 April 2017
Gloucestershire's 2017 campaign is up and running with convincing win over hopeless Leicestershire
Gloucestershire 466 for 8 dec ( Tavare 101, Van Buuren 79) beat Leicestershire 259 (Norwell 5 for 66) and 201 (Norwell 5 for 33)
After a fairly disastorous start to the 2017 championship for both teams the Easter matchup between Glos and perennial bottom dwellers Leicesterrshire was an early season test as to what supports can expect this summer. Whilst Glos fans will now be, if not filled, then certainly contemplating enthusiam. Leicestershire fans on the other hand, well to be fair, they've seen this horror show a few times over recent years.
An inspired Liam Norwell took home a match haul of 10 for 99 and a gritty effort from Will Tavare were the backbones of an allround excellent performance from Glos.
This is something that the Jessop Tavern has come to appreciate about this generation of Gloucerstershire cricketers, and is certainly a hallmark of the Richard Dawson era. Whilst the quality might not necessarily always be there, the heart and soul of the cricketerers he coaches cannot be doubted. Rubbish one week has nearly always been followed up by a much improved performance the following week. As a fan it is all we can really ask for. Grumble one week. Filled with the joys the next week.
An abject batting collapse (all out for 61 is about as bad as it gets) against Kent was cast aside as Gloucestershire racked up 466 runs in their only innings. Will Tavare batted until the middle of August in making 101 runs from 277 balls. Modern cricket it wasn't, but exactly what Glos needed it most certainly was. Around him were more enterprising cameos from Graeme Van Buuren (79), The Colonel (72) and Jack Taylor (60). Even David Payne had some fun in hitting 54 from 51 balls. Its hard to think of a negative. It would be nice for Cameron Bancroft to make a score to get him off and running, and we presume that young George Hankins is keeping Gareth Rodericks place warm whilst he recovers from illness. Other than that, it was a magnificent response to the performance at Kent.
wers then continued where they left off in the first game (lets forget, the bolwers restricted Kent in both innings). Payne and Norwell look sharp with the new ball, taking early wickets and always seeming to pose a threat. Craig Miles hasn't quite hit his straps yet, but we know this will come, and it was nice to see Jack Taylor be thrown the ball ahead of Van Buuren and perform economically. Last week the Jessop Tavern voiced concerns about Taylor's position within this bowling attack. He answered that in just the right way. Obviously Glos were chasing wickets when the spinner was called for. Whether Glos see Taylor as the attacking threat and Van Buuren as the leg stump dart thrower we will see.
But this game was all about Norwell. This was his second career 10 wicket haul, and included his 200th first class wicket. That has come in 58 matches and at an average of just over 28. For a player who has had a slightly injury plagued start to his career these are excellent stats. The less said about the ginger hipster beard the better.
So there we go. Gloucestershire's campaign is up and running. In a very competitive division 2 this year it was a vital win if Glos wish to maintain an interest in the championship this summer. It's a tough ask to expect this squad to be fighting for promotion, but being loosely in the mix would be nice.
It would be interesting to know how far this squad could go if given a bit of investment. Norwell, Payne and Miles have developed into a very useful seam attack. Taylor is a game changer, and Glos are hardly alone in not posessing a high quality spin option. Dent is established as one of the divisions better players. Van Buuren is a very handy pickup. Roderick, Tavare and Bancroft should all be capable of 1,000 runs. The Colonel is a bit of added experience. But wouldn't it be nice to see some additional quality added, to strength and deepen the squad. The selection of Chris Liddle probably highlights this more than anyone else. here is a journeyman cricketer, who for large parts of his career has been a one day specialists. His figures so far this season are 2-46, 1-44, 0-41 and 0-65. Perhaps he is being selected to provide an old pro's experience surrounding the relative youth of the 3 main seam options. But wouldn't it be nice if Glos had invested a little bit more in this position. We are not talking a world beater, just a solid pro. In our first match Kent rolled out James Harris (on loan from Middlesex) and Will Gidman (a new signing for 2017). Those sort of guys. The Jessop Tavern suspects it will return to this theme a few times in 2017.
Next up for Glos are a visit from bankrupt Durham on Friday. A good test for the batting revival against Mark Wood, Graham Onions and Chris Rushworth. However, Norwell, Payne et al (not Chris Liddle) may well be licking their lips at that Durham batting lineup. In the boardroom Glos and Durham exec's will kick back and contemplate the usefullness of chasing international cricket......