Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Gloucestershire fight back well...who'd have thought we would ever say that!

Gloucestershire 302-6 v Middlesex at Bristol

The Jessop Tavern View thought they were joking the other day when they tried to make a slightly lame topical joke about the death of Osama Bin Laden and the lack of reviews of Gloucestershires victory against the Unicorns that had occurred later the same day. But it is now 10pm and there are still no ECB highlights of today's first day action against Middlesex, nor have Glos la la la posted a review of the days play. Perhaps Osama was a secret Gloucestershire fan, whiling away his hours not creating jihad against the West but bemoaning on the Internet yet another horrific Kadeer Ali innings. It would certainly explain why he was living in a cave. Being a Gloucestershire fan since roughly 2001 has frequently made us want to hide from the world.

Fortunately the Jessop Tavern View had a slightly dubious 'work from home' day and spent most of it listening to a man from BBC London radio half reading emails before losing his Internet connection whilst trying to commentate on the cricket. Thus, for the first time this season, we feel we can report with some certainty that this was a good day for Gloucestershire. We won't know the true nature of the picture until both teams have batted on it, but we feel safe in saying that there is definitely a little bit there to interest the bowlers. Middlesex today seemed guilty of dropping short far too often, although in fairness it is hard to pitch the ball up to Chris Taylor who is only 3ft 2.

Despite not scoring many runs there was something about the way in which both Cockbain and Coughtrie sold their wickets dear that again proved they definitely have something about them. Typically the day was not without a batting collapse. At 99 for 2 at lunch Glos seemed well set. An hour later we were all over the shop at 138 for 5. Not for the first time this season the Jessop Tavern View rolled its eyes and prepared for the worst only to have its negativity thrown back in its face as 'the kid' Taylor and 'the better' Gidders put on 162 for the 7th wicket and put Gloucestershire in a very strong position at the close. It's an absolute pleasure to be writing about a Gloucestershire batting lineup that doesn't just fold like a pack of cards at even the suggestion of a breath of wind.

Taylor continued his fluency from his one day century against the Unicorns and his early season form alongside the potential shown by Cockbain in particular has been a welcome, if slightly unexpected, addition to Gloucestershire's batting. Many Glos fans felt that 'the Kid's' time was probably up this season but he has responded well to the competition from the youngsters.

Earlier both Gloucestershire and Middlesex produced unexpected teams from the bag. Gloucestershire selecting only 3 frontline bowlers, whilst Middlesex chose to rest Steve Finn. We can only presume that John Bracewell shared our concerns about the game being decided between Middlesex's bowlers against our batsmen. Time will tell if the right decision was made. You would feel that a first innings score in excess of 400 will be needed to really justify a pretty strange, and certainly lopsided, team selection. Alternatively, we must have enormous faith in 'the better' Gidders as a 4th bowler.

Tomorrow promises to offer an intriguing day's cricket as Glos press to get as close to 400 as possible before hoping to take early wickets and make inroads into that inexperienced Middlesex middle order.

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