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.

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