Thursday, 28 July 2011

The hips punishes Coughtrie's miss

Day 2: Gloucestershire 286 v Surrey 392 - 8.

It could have been so different for Gloucestershire today. Having only made 4, Ramprakash pushed at a David Payne delivery slanted across him. Richard Coughtrie went diving across, one handed in front of the skipper at first slip, and shelled it. Had he left it then Gidman would have easily taken it. These things happen. Sadly though Ramps went on to score 141 and take Surrey to a first innings lead of 106. Bugger.

Gloucestershire plugged away manfully with a ball that did no where near as much as it had for Surrey the day before. Whether this was because of poor bowling or a pitch flattening out we shall discover tomorrow.

The most disappointing part of the day occurred in the 10 overs before the new ball was taken. At this point Surrey had just lost Gareth Batty at 263 for 7, and were in danger of conceding a first innings lead to Glos. Bizarrely, Captain Marvel decided that this was the time to rattle through a few quick overs and get to that new ball. Thus we were treated to 10 overs of O'Mish trundling in and poor Jack Taylor pursuing a negative leg stump line. It didn't work. Ramps and Arafat milked the easy bowling for almost 5 an over and by the time the new ball was taken the lead was already approaching 50. In what looked like being a very tight match this period of play could well prove decisive. The fact that the new ball then failed to make the breakthrough merely rubbed salt in the wounds.

Ramprakash's innings was a study in how to ease your way to a championship hundred. He constantly kept himself ticking over with quick singles on the off side. He maneuvered the ball around at will. He only looked to hit the bad ball. You have to wonder exactly what Messrs Hamilton-Brown, Davies, Maynard and Roy were all thinking as they watched 41 year old Ramps at work. All 4 of these extremely talented young guns had looked a million dollars before falling to loose and unnecessarily aggressive shots. We doubt Hamilton-Brown took in very much. He seemed far more interested in making several trips to the ice cream van at the end of the members enclosure. Does having a double barrelled name entitle you to having two flakes in your 99?

So where do Glos go from here? The Surrey fans around me were joking that Linley had been sent in to protect Dernbach so he can have a blast in the morning. Lets hope we can limit the lead to 120 and that the pitch continues to flatten out. O'Mish, Dent and Williamson all owe us runs. We hope that the slightly strange decision to play Jack Taylor in this match doesn't mean we end up ruing being a batsman short. Young Taylor obviously has some talent, but this appears to currently be more with the bat than with the ball. His round arm off spinners provided nothing that Kane Williamson couldn't have.

One final thought. Whilst sat watching Steven Davies at the start of play somebody around me sounded the question, 'Is Davies the only registered gay cricketer?' This begs the bigger question, does the ECB have such a register? Or should perhaps the Cricketer's Who's-Who start to include a question about sexual preference? Please let us know your thoughts.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Glos exodus: An alternative view

The Jessop Tavern View wrote recently about the potential loss of senior players Hamish Marshall, Chris Taylor and Jon Lewis. This situation could prove disruptive for a youthful Gloucestershire squad seeking promotion to Division 1 for the first time in years, but in the interest of balance, we would like to offer an different view on the situation.

Marshall, Taylor and Lewis are good pros and all three would be missed to varying degrees. You only have to rewind to the end of last season though, and a similar situation was occurring. At the time, the departures of the majority of our fast bowling attack seemed like a devastating blow which signalled the county's lack of ambition and, possibly more pertinently, money. Thinking about this with the benefit of hindsight however, the only player who has been a real loss to Gloucestershire is Steve Kirby. Gemaal Hussain has disappointed for Somerset, having failed to recreate last season's form on the flat pitches at Taunton. He is not currently in their Championship side. One could argue that at this point in his career, he is a prime example of a 'one season wonder'. William Porterfield scored his career-best 175 for us towards the end of 2010. He flattered to deceive throughout his Glos career though, and hasn't exactly been brilliant for Warwickshire so far, with 465 runs at 29. The less said about Anthony Ireland the better.

The point of this post was to look dispassionately at the potential departure of some of our senior players. It is worth suggesting that when John Bracewell was reappointed as coach towards the end of last season, he took a good hard look at personnel and contracts and made some tough decisions. Kirby, Hussain, Anthony Ireland and William Porterfield were out of contract at the end of 2010 and all had been subject to 28 day approaches by other counties. Bracewell and the Glos management may have taken a decision that it was worth losing these senior, but pricier, players in the hope of bringing through youth from the academy and elsewhere.

On to the case of Lewis, Taylor and Marshall. Jon Lewis has been a superb servant to Gloucestershire, but at almost 36 years old, will he take wickets on Division 1 pitches. Chris Taylor has had a good season, but it's his first one for a while. He's 34 and doesn't have many years left either. Hamish Marshall is a bit of a mystery.. In his first season in England he was top class, with 5 hundreds and 1200 runs. However, that was in 2006 and since then he has scored progressively fewer runs each season. This year, although limited to 5 Championship matches by family weddings and injuries, he has scored only 305 runs at 38 and is without a hundred. This is not the kind of record that makes an impoverished county desperate to offer you a new contract.

This is really the point with all three of the players above. You have to wonder whether any of them are up to Division 1 standard. They're good, but not great, and all are getting on a bit. It would be a great shame to see the back of Lewis, who has anchored the young seam bowling attack admirably, but at some point you have to say goodbye to even the longest-serving pros.

In summary then, perhaps the rumoured exodus of Glos players is not all bad. Fingers crossed that the new, younger generation of players have enough talent to deliver should we get promoted to Division 1. It will be a steep learning curve, but this season's performance have shown that the youngsters don't lack for fight.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Gloucester's youngsters shine again

CB40:  Gloucestershire 196 - 6 beat Essex 195 (37.5 overs) by 4 wickets.

Who cares if our CB40 challenge has already been long buried. This was another opportunity for the second string Glos youngsters to show what they have got. And clearly they've got plenty. Perhaps even more remarkably, the Jessop Tavern View was actually at the ground to witness this one!

It seems a perfectly logical approach to use this competition to blood some of the other youngsters. We know that some people would disagree and say we should play our strongest team, but when you are developing a new team it is important to develop the squad by giving some of the fringe players a chance.

Today's bowling attack had an average age of 20. That is frankly ridiculous. Yet did they look out of their depth against an Essex team riding high at the top of group C of the CB40 and including former England stars Ravi the bowler and Peg Leg Shah? Not one bit. In fact, they blew Essex away. Quite how Essex were allowed to put on 80 for the tenth wicket is anyone's guess. We'll put it down to inexperience. Matt Taylor did a decent job opening up. Heck he did an excellent job considering a week ago he was a nobody. James Fuller looked genuinely quite quick as he hurried Essex's top order into rash shots on his way to figures of 4 for 33. Craig Miles bowled with excellent control for his 2 wickets. Ed Young bowled a bit of a mixture to be honest, but got away with it. Kevin O'Brien isn't a bowler. The only criticism we can level at these young bowlers is that they made the Jessop Tavern View feel bloody old.

The experienced trio in the batting then did their best to chuck it away, as both Taylor and Williamson fell cheaply, whilst captain marvel got himself out when looking good. So did Chris Dent. It was left to Ian Cockbain to play his second impressive CB40 innings of the festival and steady the ship alongside a surprisingly mature innings from Kevin the Butcher. Clearly there is not a lot of love for O'Brien amongst the Gloucester faithful, particularly the guys sat around me at the chapel end, but give credit to the man. He reigned himself in and ticked off the runs with Cockbain. Cockbain looked in great form, which means he will surely play in the championship match against Surrey starting tomorrow.

All in all it was a fantastic performance from a very inexperienced side playing infront of a packed College ground. It really does bode well for the future to think that the young bowlers on display today are actual the ones who can't get into the championship side at the moment.

The Jessop Tavern View is full of positive thoughts in preparation for the important match against Surrey tomorrow. Lets hope for back to back Championship victories to set up that promotion push.

Friday, 22 July 2011

A second exodus?

It seems a shame to have to bring this up after such an accomplished win this afternoon, but it has been reported in the media that 3 of Gloucestershire's most experienced (and best) players are in contractual limbo. Chris Taylor revealed in an interview with BBC Gloucestershire that he has yet to be given any indication as to whether he will be offered a new contract when his present one runs out at the end of the season. It is believed that the Sperm donor and O'Mish are in the same situation.

Taylor explained that the reason for the lack of negotiations is to do with the ongoing ground redevelopment, or planned redevelopment, as no actual work is currently being carried out. "We've got the ground development going on", states Taylor, "and until those things are sorted out I don't think any contracts are being sorted out."

Ah, the ground redevelopment. We meet again.

It seems like a bizarre way for this story to come out. Clearly Taylor is frustrated by the lack of clarity (and respect) being shown to him regarding his future and felt that he wanted to speak out. It's not a great way for dirty laundry to be aired. Not that this is Chris Taylor's fault. If he genuinely hasn't been told what is happening to his future then this is a disgrace. The man has been a Gloucestershire player for 10 years and has scored over 12,000 runs for us. He's a former county captain.

If it is true about Lewis and Marshall then this is a very serious situation. Gloucestershire fans might have been willing to watch one exodus last year, to watch another one, at the end of a promising season, for the sake of a single one day international each year and a block of flats would be too much.

Needless to say there is nothing yet posted on the Gloucestershire website in response to this story. However, the Bristol Evening Post have run the story. Kaiser Tom Richardson is quoted as saying:

"What we have told all the players is that it will be difficult to close on any contract until September.
"We have a major ground development scheme going on and that goes to planning permission in September and governs how much we can set aside for our cricket budget.
"There are a number of players we want to close with and who we are actively discussing things with, but that is as far as we can go for now."

Whilst we fully understand the precarious nature of the clubs finances and the need for ground redevelopment, this latest development merely demonstrates again how poorly thought through the plans are. Sure, redevelop the ground, but do it in a way that does not have such a dramatic impact upon the cricket. I'm sure that all Gloucestershire fans have been delighted as we have over the progress of the team this season, and in particular the really positive impact that the youngsters have had. But would these kids have had the same effect if they had not been able to slide into a team alongside the likes of Taylor, Lewis and Marshall who have all been involved in international set-ups to some extent or another?

Kaiser Tom has already revealed that other counties have already been in contact regarding talking to Taylor, Marshall and, in particular, Lewis. It would seem that the only hope Gloucestershire have of holding on to these players is through their loyalty to the club. Fortunately all 3 are coming towards the end of their careers and it is to be hoped that they are enjoying the challenge of bringing through the next generation of Gloucestershire cricketers. However, I don't think any one of us would begrudge any of them seeking one final shot with a bigger county.

From what Kaiser Tom has said, it is quite possible that other counties will have offered their terms long before Gloucestershire are even able to begin thinking about new contracts. This would be absurd. If you were in Chris Taylor's position and another county offers you a deal for next season now, you would be almost forced to accept it if you want security as Gloucestershire will have no idea what their cricket budget will be until the autumn. Ludicrous.

Whilst we hope that the policy of investing in youth continues into the future, we'd hate to see these core, experienced players cast away and the teams development stunted because of the inability to pay experienced players. Whilst we can appreciate that it might be hard to offer contracts to all 3 of these players, it's to be hoped that at least 2 of them can be kept on board.

Like we have written elsewhere on this blog, we understand the difficult financial situation Gloucestershire find themselves in. We just don't agree with the proposed way of getting out of this mess. At the core of Gloucestershire cricket club is the cricket. Invest in this, not some ridiculous dream ground with 20,000 seats and a block of flats.

Glos end 10 year Cheltenham jinx

Day 3: Gloucestershire 515 v Kent 205 and 168.

Once again at Cheltenham a side amassed a huge first innings total and then the team on the receiving end rolled over and played dead. However, for the first time in 10 years at the college ground that team rolling over were not Gloucestershire. Incredible. Over the last 10 years Glos have been thumped in some of the most remarkable ways, last year against Worcester we even turned down the follow-on and comically found a way to lose, but the 10 year hoo-doo is finally lifted and the boys can now look forward to the rest of the festival.

The only negative was that Chris Taylor was unable to score the 8 runs he needed for his double century. If that's the only negative then you've had a pretty good day.

Kent on the other hand were abysmal. Actual they worse. They were a disgrace to themselves and the second division in the way they meekly lay down and died. God it feels good to not have to be writing that about Gloucestershire any more.

The Sperm donor started the carnage after lunch with 3 wickets in 5 overs and David Payne finished the job with a slightly expensive 4 for 60 as Kent through the bat.

Gloucestershire now move up to second in the table, all be it probably only until Middlesex completed victory over Surrey tomorrow. With Surrey next to visit Cheltenham in the championship Gloucestershire have the opportunity to emerge from the festival fortnight in a very positive position in the table.

Child's play for Taylor

Day 2: Gloucestershire 486 - 7 v Kent 205

So this is what it is like to support a good cricket team. Kent arrived at Cheltenham as a weak team, having a bad season and missing their best player and captain. Gloucestershire then put them to the sword. This is how it should be. So frequently in the past, and particularly at Cheltenham, this hasn't been the case.

A wonderful 192 not out from 'the child' Chris Taylor has put Glos in such a strong position that, barring rain, they will win from here. That's right, we will win.

In our midseason report we made the point that Taylor has been in splendid form all season, yet only had one hundred from 7 fifties until yesterday. Clearly 'the child' was none too happy about this return either and decided to cash in against a demoralised Kent. Taylor was well supported in the morning by Captain wonderful who fell to an ugly swipe across the line when on 79. It was a shame for Gidman who could have done with another big hundred to set himself up for the promotion push. Yep, that's right. The promotion push!

Since it is only the weather that can scupper a Glos victory from here, here's the weather forecast for the next 2 days in the Cheltenham area

Let's all now hope that Chris Taylor can get the 8 extra runs he deserves, and that the Sperm donor then has a comedy tonk to get the lead well past 350 before we roll them over.

With Middlesex, Surrey, Northants and Derby all looking like taking points off each other, this could turn out to be a very good week for the boys indeed.

Link to the day's highlights here.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Glos Cricket Radio - Back in business!!

Praise be to God! The return of the wonderful Glos Cricket Radio means that the Jessop Tavern View might actually be able to do more than just plagiarise various match reports by listening to how the boys are getting on!

Where actually Glos Cricket Radio went we have no idea, we only discovered they were back online at lunchtime today, but like all the true broadcasting giants they have no need to justify their behaviour!

Glos la la la blog

Midseason report - Bowling

Apologies for the delay in to the second part of our mid season review. Some unexpected hill walking opportunities in the Scottish Highlands were to blame.

So, the bowlers.

This was the one area that Gloucestershire fans thought we would really struggle. Losing quality performers such as Steve Kirby and Gemaal Hussain and jokers such as Anthony Ireland left us Glos fans scratching our heads, wondering where the wickets would come from. With the Sperm donor not getting any younger and Ian Saxelby missing most of 2010 we were told that a bunch of academy kids would fill the 100 odd wickets that Kirby et al had taken last year. Our back-up seamers over the last decade reads like a who's-who of shit county cricket players. Whether we ever fielded an attack that included Carl Greenidge, Mark Hardinges and Will Rudge we are uncertain, but just the thought sends the coldest of shivers down our spine.

So who were these academy kids? Well first to declare himself was Liam Norwell who took 6 for 46 in the first innings of his first class debut. Sadly for the 19 year old paceman he has been denied the chance to really build on this due to a stress fracture in his back. However, 12 wickets in his first 3 matches was more than enough to ease the fears of the Gloucestershire faithful. David Payne's impact was similarly explosive, taking 5 for 76 in the second innings of the opening round win against Derbyshire. Payne has perhaps not quite lived up to this beginning, but 17 wickets at 39 is a solid enough showing from a teenager. It is to be hoped that both these kids can develop into the bowlers Gloucestershire need.

The Sperm donor continues to roll along, perhaps not quite as destructive as he used to be, but his skills are still more than enough for this standard of cricket and his experience is vital to bringing the kids through.

The two real stand-outs from the first half of the season have been Ian Saxelby and Will Gidman. Saxelby showed lots of promise in 2009 before being ruled out of most of the 2010 season with a shoulder injury. This season he has simply picked up on all the promise he showed 2 years ago, taking 35 wickets at 25. 'The other' Gidman has filled the roll of the allrounder that is so vital to a balanced side. His 27 wickets have come at an average of 22.

The discovery of Will Gidman as a genuine allrounder would allow Gloucestershire the luxury of playing a spinner without altering the make-up of the team to much. Sadly Glos do have a spinner really worthy of the name. Thankfully, Vikram Banerjee seems to have been cast into the long grass and will probably be next seen again playing in that wonderful 'development' side the Unicorns. The spinners role seems to now be a straight fight between two more youngsters, Ed Young and Jack Taylor. Young was given the first opportunity at Grace Road, but the sight of Kane Williamson bowling 20 odd overs on the final day as Young twiddled his thumbs in the outfield summed up his contribution. Jack Taylor was given his chance to stake a claim in the previous championship match against Middlesex and had a starring role in the t20 win against Somerset. Both of these kids can bat, but whether one of them can turn themselves into a genuine, top quality spinner remains to be seen.

An honourable mention should also be made to Craig Miles who, at 16 years of age, made a very respectable start to his first class career as a late injury replacement for Liam Norwell.

There have been very few sightings of 'reputedly quick' New Zealander James Fuller, or Lance Corporal David Wade who must be wondering whether a second tour of Afghanistan was all that bad an idea having now sampled the delights of the second XI county circuit.

All in all the bowling department has been a resounding success. There seems to be a little bit of competition for places, and the youngsters who have come in have genuinely looked quite handy. If one of either Ed Young or Jack Taylor could make a strong case to be the recognised spin option over the second half of the season then the Jessop Tavern View would declare itself chuffed to bits with the bowling department.

'The Other' Gidman stars again

Day 1: Glos 107 - 3 v Kent 205

Glos began their quest to end their abysmal Cheltenham record in fine style as Will Gidman continues to impress in championship cricket with his maiden five wicket haul. Arguably things could have been even better for Gloucestershire having reduced Kent to 59 for 6 and having reached 91 for 1 ten minutes before the close of play. However, Darren Stevens and James Tredwell put on 83 for the seventh wicket, and a late evening shower helped Kent dismiss O'Mish and the gym instructor before the close of play.

Fit again captain marvel had tried to play down the importance of the Cheltenham festival to Gloucestershires press for promotion before the match. Whilst we agree with captain magnificent that promotion really should not be seen as an absolute must this season, we hope the boys are not completely apathetic about it. Win both our championship matches and we really would have to start talking about it.

We are running out of words to praise Will Gidman in his first season with us. Averaging 50 with the bat, and our leading run scorer, and now with 27 wickets to his name. If he'd have delivered just one of these set of stats we would have been delighted. To produce both really is remarkable from a man who had played just one first class match before this season.

It was disappointing to lose both Williamson and Marshall after both of them had starts yet again, but with enough batting still to come the boys should be able to push on towards 300 and give themselves a great chance to win their first championship match at Cheltenham in a decade.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Midseason report - Batting

With the neverending tedium of the T20 group stages finally drawing to a close we can now begin to look ahead to the rest of the season as Gloucestershire's youngsters try to build on their surprisingly strong start to the season. Let's not jinx things and mention promotion. We all know that we're just as capable of falling apart as building on early success. With 7 county championship games to play we thought that this was a good opportunity to cast aside the debacle disappointment of the T20 campaign and focus everyone's attention on what came before. First we'll take a look back at the batting.


Compared to last season this has been a massive improvement, but then again at this point last season we were still awaiting a Gloucestershire player to score a hundred in the county championship. This season 5 different players have hundreds to their names, but none of them have more than one. This pretty much sums up the batting in the first half of the season. Everyone has contributed reasonably well, but no one has dominated. Will Gidman has been the real surprise with 654 runs to his name at an average of 50.30. That's good enough to be the fifth heaviest run scorer in the division. I don't think anyone saw that coming when we signed up our skipper's kid brother from Durham.

The rest of the batting, to be brutally honest, reads exactly as it always does:

We've said this before, but why the hell do we think that an average of 30 odd is good enough in division 2 of the county championship? In particular Gidders, O'Mish and Williamson should all hang their heads. These are all guys who have been around international cricket to some extent. Two of these guys have test hundreds. How are they averaging in the mid 30's in division 2? It makes winning consistently so much harder when your top players don't put in big performances to win you games.

Right, that's the moaning out of the way. However, statistics never tell the full story. What the first half of this season has seen is that whenever an innings has been needed someone has produced one. The ability of the boys to scrap with the bat has been very encouraging. The days of capitulating meekly are hopefully behind us.

Dent - 221 runs, avg 31.
Still no hundreds for young Chris Dent, but still more than enough signs of promise to mean that this is not the major issue it could be. Still, if he gets to the end of the season without a hundred then some serious doubts will start to form in the young mans head. The Jessop Tavern View still isn't convinced he's an opener and feels he would be better served coming in down the order. However, the lack of another available opener means he'll likely be stuck there for the rest of the season.

O'Mish - 268 runs, avg 38.
Injury has meant that our converted Irishman has only played 4 games so these stats don't reflect very much. Bizarrely pushed up to fill the problematic openers slot O'Mish actually seems to have settled into this role pretty well considering he is a bit of a dasher. A strong second half of the season from O'Mish will be vital if Glos are to maintain their challenge.

Williamson - 371 runs, avg 33.
Visa problems and shift work in the club gym have meant that our overseas player has only managed 6 games so far. There have been signs of the talent. His hundred against Leicestershire showed the quality that the man has, but Gloucestershire-itis has meant he has not dominated on a consistent basis. He's a young man still learning the game so this is sort of to be expected. Like O'Mish, a strong second half of the season is needed.

Taylor - 600 runs, avg 35.
At the start of the season 'the kids' place was up for grabs, especially with Dent, Younger Gidders, Cockbain and Coughtrie all fighting with him for what looked like only 2 spots in the lineup. Injuries and Williamson's gym shifts gave him his chance and Taylor responded excellently. Only one hundred from seven times passed fifty is the only criticism. A better conversion rate and the kid would have been really flying.

Captain Marvel - 498 runs, avg 38.
His wonderful innings to win the game against Surrey is still fresh in our minds. Nearly 500 runs at 38 is respectable enough, but as we have written before, the man really should be in the upper echelons of batting in this division and not in the middle of the road. Come on skipper. Finish the season with 1200 runs at 50.

Cockbain - 403 runs, avg 28.
Not spectacular statistics, but for a young player who came from nowhere and was pressed into action as an emergency opener, we are very pleasantly surprised. His maiden hundred in the last county championship match against hundred can hopefully be the spring board for the rest of the season. How many chances he will get will be interesting, but competition for places is always very healthy.

Coughtrie - 275 runs, avg 17.
Like Cockbain, Coughtrie came from nowhere and was immediately pressed into opening the innings. The man was clearly not an opener and frequently looked like he couldn't hit the ball off the square, but he showed enough grit and resilience to hang around and this fortitude earned him the chance to show what he can do with the gloves and to hopefully end the tortuous Gloucesterhire career of Jon Batty.

The other Gidders - 654 runs, avg 50.
We've already waxed lyrically about the skippers younger bro. Like Taylor he probably should have more than the one hundred to his name, but from a guy who has batted in the lower middle order his signing has looked like a masterstroke. This is before we even mention his 22 wickets!

Batty - 179 runs, avg 17.
Started the season with the gloves and the opportunity to put behind him an abysmal 2010 season. All he has proved is that 2010 wasn't a blip. He's still got another year on his contract. The worst signing in Gloucestershire history?  

Sperm Donor - 405 runs, avg 31.
What makes the top orders stats so disappointing is the fact that the sperm donor has almost the same number of runs as most of them. Lewis has steadily improved his late order clubbing over the years, but clubbing is all that it is. It says a lot about the standard of bowling in the division that Lewis has 4 fifties to his name. If he is capable of consistent runs the top order should be feasting. However, Lewis late order heroics have made vital contributions this season. Is a maiden first class ton on the mans mind before retiring?

Selected others -
Both Saxelby and Payne have made handy contributions at times, and it is always useful to have tailenders who are not complete rabbits (although we can't help but feel that cricket is worse off with fewer complete rabbits around these days). Ed Young has shown he is more than capable with the bat, as has his spin bowling rival Jack Taylor. All in all, the lower order has done a good job.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


Gloucestershire v Middlesex: Match drawn.

In a crunch promotion battle Gloucestershire were perhaps a little bit negative in attempting to force victory. In the end the extra 50 runs added before the declaration looked like they could have been vital as Glos wobbled at 65 for 4 in their second innings. At the end of the day Gloucestershire will probably feel pretty pleased with their 11 points away to the second placed team in the division.

Kane Williamson finally got in the runs in the second innings. Greater contributions from our clearly talented overseas player will be vital if Gloucestershire are serious about promotion.

The bowlers again operated well as a unit and it was particularly interesting to see young Jack Taylor trusted with 29 tight overs. Does this mean that he has now jumped ahead of Ed Young in the spin bowling department? Considering that Young was only given a couple of overs in recent matches we would presume so.

Gloucestershire are now only 4 points behind Middlesex in the table. Our next matches are at the championship graveyard that is Cheltenham college. The boys will have to figure out how to win 4 day matches whilst at Cheltenham to maintain their promotion challenge.

t20 roundup.

We feel obliged to mention that we also beat Somerset and lost to Sussex in the t20. Frankly we have lost any interest in this competition. That said, we are encouraged to see the youngsters continuing to progress. Jack Taylor put in a match winning allround performance against Somerset which presumably has cemented his place ahead of Ed Young, and seen Vikram Banerjee begin sending his CV round the minor counties.

Against Sussex the boys just seemed to lack a dynamic match winner, the story of our t20 campaign so far. We haven't really disgraced ourselves in the competition, but we don't really have enough match winners in this format to realistically challenge. We hoped 'the butcher' might provide this, but remove his hundred against Middlesex and his contributions have been poor. Still, if the kids are learning from Murali, and from playing in the pressurised situation of t20 then its not been a complete waste of time.

We now need to win our remaining 5 games to qualify for the quarter finals. Don't hold your breath.

Sussex highlights here