Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Preview: Gloucestershire v Northants. County Championship.

Another week, another top of the table clash at Nevil road as Gloucestershire welcome Northants collection of journeymen. We hate to be overly negative so early in a preview but reading through Northants' teams this season really is a depressing statement on division 2 county cricket. Mal Loye, Stephen Peters, David Sales, Andrew Hall are the well known journeymen, but these are complimented by people like Jack Brooks, James Middbrook and Lee Daggert. Journeymen one and all. If county cricket is suppose to be a breeding ground for the England team (and the huge amount of money that the ECB gives to the counties surely justifies this argument) then exactly what do a team like Northants contribute? Alex Wakely. That is it. Now we are well aware that this is an argument that could very easily have been levied against Gloucestershire over the last 10 years. But this year is different with our youthful outlook, and we will use this moral leverage to shout our argument against sides such as Northants loud and proud.

Northants currently sit 2nd in the table, only 9 points ahead of Gloucestershire. Their two victories have both, bizarrely, come against Kent with draws against Surrey and Essex. They might be the second divisions most boring team but they also appear to be one of the divisions most balanced sides. A strong top order. Explosive middle order. Wiley seam attack. Only the spin department lets them down. Join the club.

This promises to be another tough test for the young Gloucestershire side, especially given O'Mish's absence with a broken hand. Fortunately 'the kid' has had an injection in his knee and will hopefully be able to continue his fine early season form. We would expect young Coughtrie to step up and open with Cockbain, like in the early season fixtures. Presumably Williamson will then bat 3. The intriguing point will be over where the skipper chooses to bat this time. We are predicting that he will walk out at number 9 and seek to relaunch his career as a medium pacer. With another injury to a batsmen this match will place the onus particularly on Williamson, the captain and Mr Batty. Whether these 3 can provide some runs will go along way to determining the result.

We predict that the bowling will be boosted to a four pronged seam attack with Norwell, Payne, Saxelby and the Sperm Donor. Worryingly David Payne has "a couple of niggles". This could mean either young Jack Taylor or even younger Craig Miles making stepping in.

At the start of the season you would have said injuries would be the major problem for a threadbare squad. Well here we are. So far players such as Cockbain and Coughtrie have put their hands up and got stuck in to the challenge. This week it would be nice to see a couple of the more senior players similarly get their hands dirty.

www. northantscricket.com - Having slagged off their team we are feeling a little guilty so will look to redress the balance a little bit with a few positive words about their website. Stepping around the fact that on the eve of the match they have no squad news or match preview at all, the website does have good squad information and, as a nice touch, has some sort of basic blog by a fan with a few contributions from the chief executive. How about it Tom?

No comments:

Post a Comment