Monday, 31 December 2012

How do Glos fans rate Mike Hussey?

Following the announcement last week that 'Mr Cricket', Mike Hussey is set to retire from international cricket our fellow bloggers across at King Cricket posed this interesting little question, how do you rate Mike Hussey? We thought we'd give it a Gloucester twist and reminisce about the half a season the man with a test average above 50 spent at the Shire.

2004 will live in ignominy as the year of Shabbir and Shoaib, thus when, half way through the season, Gloucester announced the signing of a man who had plundered 16 hundreds in 3 seasons for Northants excitement inevitably followed. At last, here was an overseas player who wouldn't refuse to bowl due to a damp run up, or be reported to the ICC with a dodgy doosra!

The Jessop Tavern View has frequently joked that Gloucestershire are the only team for whom Mr Cricket never scored any runs. This has only ever been cheap pub gossip, us being too lazy to ever back up our sarcasm with any sort of statistically proof. Sat here reading King Crickets remarks that Hussey averaged over 50 in 79 tests in a fairly crap Australian side we thought maybe it was time to check out those statistics.

So there you go. We can now officially claim that Glos are the only team for whom one of worlds crickets most prolific run scorers of the past decade never scored any runs, or at least never scored a hundred. We can but dream of a player who averages 36 for us now-a-days. In fairness to Hussey, he did average over 50 for us in the one day stuff, and lend a hand in Gloucestershire's glorious C&G victory that year (Hussey contributed 36 and 20 in the semi & final respectively....although frankly since the Spear scored a magnificent hundred and 70 odd in these two games we didn't really need anyone else. Ah, the Spear!)

The Jessop Tavern has also often accused Mr Cricket of being a better bowler for Glos than he was a batsman. Sadly this joke will now need to be put to bed. Hussey didn't take a single wicket for the Shire in any form of the game.

So there we have it. One of the most consistent performers in all forms of the game over the past decade never played worse than when turning out for Gloucestershire. Does this dampen his legacy? Should this make people reconsider their eulogies as Hussey straps on his pads one last time this week against Sri Lanka? Probably not. But it does prove that scoring runs for Gloucestershire is clearly harder than at test level.

As a sad little side note; 2004 saw Glos finish in midtable of Div 1 of the county championship and win a one day trophy. Just saying.

Happy New Year to everyone. We'll see everyone in 2013 for promotion and glory!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Michael Klinger signs for Glos.....calm yourselves.

Gloucestershire announced the signing of Aussie plunderer Michael Klinger as their overseas superstar for 2013. More than this, Klinger will attempt to bring his experience of leading South Australia to two consecutive wooden spoons in his appointed role as new club captain. Klinger stepped down as South Australia's skipper at the end of last season. He is the Australian Alex Gidman. No seriously, he is. He has a career average of 37.

Over the last 3 seasons Klinger has scored over 3000 runs at an average of 48 in all formats of the game. Klinger also led the Adelaide Strikers to t20 and a one day trophy. His overall record suggests a player slightly more comfortable in the shorter forms of the games without being a total one day specialist. His first class record this year seems him averaging 26. Last season he averaged 33 in first class matches. In seven matches for Worcestershire last year he scored a respectable 413 runs at 37. Make of these statistics what you will. We're going to suggest he's a journeyman pro.

Whilst the signing of Klinger will hardly boost the membership numbers, it does represent a very shrewd and sensible acquisition by King John and Kaiser Tom. Sadly, gone are the days of marquee overseas signings that get the juices flowing in advance of the season starting. The years of watching the top names plying their trade left long ago. What we are left with is Michael Klinger.

However, as we said, Klinger is a shrewd signing. Lets run through some of the positives. He's clearly not crap (although it's yet to be seen how a hard season of teaching pilates and captaining the team affects him) and he brings with him a wealthy of experience of playing tough, uncompromising Sheffield Shield cricket. He's an opening bat which will hopefully help Glos to solve the opening crisis of last season (6 different openers used...and Jon Batty). He also has captaincy credentials that are marginally better than Gidders. He has also committed for the whole season, and having an overseas player around for the entire year can only be good for a young squad. Finally, and most importantly, Klinger is used to be being shit. South Australia have finished bottom of the Sheffield Shield for the last 3 years (and this year are currently second bottom). For this final point alone, the Jessop Tavern View thinks he looks like a good fit.

One last thought however.......and whisper this quietly. How does a man who hasn't played international cricket for Australia get a work visa? We thought that international credentials were required to prevent clubs signing any more Shabbir Ahmeds. He has played for Australia A, but whether that counts......?

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Richard Dawson: He had to be good at something

The gloucestershire official website sprang into life yesterday to report that spin bowling coach, and lest we forget, ex-england spinner (cricinfo's profile says he had was more multi-dimensional than Graeme Swann!) has been taking part in Movember (although by the looks of it, this seems to be more of a goatee than a proper tache)

Dawson's grandfather apparently had prostate cancer, so fair play to him for getting involved. It's a pity he can't teach Ed Young or Jack Taylor how to bowl decently, but one thing at a time.

More impressively, the official website has obviously found out how to add new items. It's a shame that the season ended a couple of months. Less Movember updates and a bit more team news would be nice. Still, like we said, one thing at a time.

Monday, 26 November 2012

t20 comes to Cheltenham

What's this? Common sense? t20 at Cheltenham?

With the announcement today of the fixtures for the 2013 season special mention needs to be made of the genuinely exciting news that the Cheltenham cricket festival will play host to 3 matches from the t20 circus. Considering the tremendous crowds that the drab 40 over competition use to be able to pull to the college ground the Jessop Tavern View is actually quite excited by the prospect of watching James Fuller go for 38 an over in front of a packed house in Cheltenham. Throw in the tiny boundaries that the old college ground provides and you have the genuine possibility that Fuller may have the opportunity to eclipse his efforts of last seasons quarter final. Lets just hope that none of Warwickshire, Northants or Glamorgan sign Scott Styris!

Congratulations to Glos for managing to sort out the fixtures to make t20 at Cheltenham a reality, and praise be for small mercies that Glos decided to sacrifice some of the extra profit, that we are always told is created by playing the twenty over games at Bristol, in order to drum up some genuine excitement amongst the supports.

Roll on july!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Gloucestershire unveil new t20 strip

Gloucestershire preseason training got off to an unusually early start this week as building work began on the much loved ground redevelopment. Speculation had been circulating on the official club website, with stories emerging about David Payne wanting to bulk up and of Ian Saxelby putting off knee surgery. Now the Jessop Tavern View can exclusively reveal that the boys can be seen getting in their strengthening and conditioning work on a building site near you. Ian Saxelby sounded enthusiastic with the innovative training program when he told the club website,

“I will also be doing extra strength sessions to the other players this winter in a bid to get more strength into my quads and the knee. In the meantime I’ll take part in everything and, while I am not going to be running in and bowling ten overs in the nets, I’ll do at least part of the training everyone else is doing."

As many of you will already know, Gloucestershire were 'saved' this year by planning permission being granted for the building of a block of flats next to the ground that will provide the revenue needed to improve the ground facilities. We are going to suggest that Linden Homes, the company charged with building the unwanted additions to neighbourhood beautiful new homes, may want to rethink their marketing strategy for selling the flats,

"The apartments will offer a truly unique living environment with views that will be the envy of cricket lovers around the world and also for those simply seeking a stylish home in the city.”

Clearly the people at Linden Homes haven't seen much of the boys playing cricket in recent seasons.

We'd also like to offer this opportunity for anyone who works at Gloucestershire to prove us wrong. The club website states,

"Regular updates will be posted on this website as the redevelopment programme gets underway." 

The Jessop Tavern View will have a wager with anyone who thinks that the club will stick to this statement. But wouldn't it be nice to think that someone at the club cared enough to go out and take a few pictures and then write a few words to describe to long suffering supporters exactly how things are getting on.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Season review

Bloody hell. You turn your back for a couple of months, move house, quit your job and then this happens! Bottom of the league. Rock bottom. Of division 2! There are school teams who wouldn't finish bottom of division 2. State school teams at that. How did this happen. Too make matters worse, captain Gidders has resigned the captaincy. Our inspirational leader, gone. Can it get any worse? The next thing you'll be telling us is that Jon Batty has retired....

So that is another season over. The Jessop Tavern View is finding all this hard to take in. No, not the fact that Gloucestershire are rubbish, but the fact that we now officially write a blog for the worst cricket team in the land. Worse than Northants. Worse than Leicestershire. worse than bloody Glamorgan. Still, at least we'll have that block of flats.

As much as it is easy to make cheap jokes, and hell, Gloucestershire provide about as many cheap jokes as you could ever want, but actually this hasn't been that bad a season.

Ok, so the table never lies, but just 5 more points and we would have been looking at mid-table mediocrity, which is, after all, what we strive for. Considering the ridiculously truncated season thanks to climate change it would be unfair to criticise such a young group of players.

However, its not unfair to criticise Captain Gidman. 528 runs at an average of 25. In division 2 of the county championship. Gracefully, Gidman has fallen on his sword and passed over the poisoned chalice of captaincy to someone else for next season in an attempt to regain his form. Let's hope so.

So, for simplicity's sake, we shall attempt to break this season down into positives and negatives.


Ian Cockbain - 764 runs at 34 in a season when no division 2 batsman surpassed 1000 runs in the championship. That's more runs than Joe Root (averages count for nothing, before people complain)

38 - James Fuller leapt to prominence in the second half of the season. Ok, so this was primarily because he went for an improbable 38 in one manic t20 over, but after this his performances started to match his potential. In the championship he ended up with 24 championship wickets at an average of 27. In the one dayers he also demonstrated serious ability to be a decent lower order batter. Also got into trouble for intentional beamers in a 2nd XI game. Nice work.

The rest of the pace bowlers - Will Gidman backed up his career year from 2011 with 44 wickets despite missing 1/3 of the season. Ian Saxelby took 35 wickets despite missing games. Norwell and Payne provided good support with 20 odd wickets apiece. Throw in Fuller into this mix and the pace men had a good year and certainly show the promise to be worth persevering with.

O'Mish - Welcome back to something near his best. 822 runs put him near the top of division 2 run makers. An average of 37 with only one hundred suggest he still loves to get in and then throw it away wastefully. Still, a welcome return to form.

One day form - Admittedly it messed up our championship form, but it was nice to have some one day cricket to get excited about watching again. 

The Bristol town planning council - Eventually decided to let us develop the ground. Bugger knows if this really was the best thing for gloucestershire cricket. But since no one at the cricket club had a Plan B should it not have gone ahead we guess it was a good thing.

Jon Batty - For retiring. 885 runs in three seasons. Thanks for the memories.


Alex Gidman - See above.

Ed Young/Spin bowling in general - Probably now a one day specialist as failed to build upon a decent t20 campaign by converting this into the championship. Seemed to lack the control to even tie up an end. And we thought Vikram Banerjee was bad.

Richard Coughtrie - We presume that King John has made a decision that Coughtrie doesn't have the ability for this level. Surely there was no other reason for Batty keeping wicket. The enthusiasm with which the club website announced the signing of two young wicketkeepers suggests we'll have a new stumper next year.

Paul Muchall - What? Why? Who? How? Goodbye. Please.

Anthony Ireland - For the love of God, please do not re-sign this man. Crap once. Crap always.

Murali - How many shirts did he really sell?

New Zealand Cricket - For taking Kane Williamson away and for replacing him with Rob Nicol.

The Official Club website - If Gloucestershire can feel hard done by at having to endure a winter as the worst cricket team in the land then the official club website can have no complaints at being head and shoulders the worst club website in the entire championship. In this day and age it seems incredible that the club cannot have a serious website. The lack of squad news was infuriating. Is it that hard to get someone to update this stuff?

So there we have it. Another season over. Thanks to the surprisingly large number of people who read this over the season. Apologies for the lack of interest in the closing month. We blame the re-signing of Anthony Ireland for us losing interest. Finally, if anyone wants a slightly expensive sounding 'world chic' handbag, then we'd highly recommend checking out

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

And so, the end is near....

The end of the season cannot come quickly enough for Gloucestershire and, much like the boys, the Jessop Tavern View is giving up on this season too.

It's a shame, because there have been positives from this season. Sadly the t20 break hasn't been kind to Gloucestershire's championship campaign. Kaiser Tom had clearly told the boys how important the money generated from one day cricket was and subsequently all the eggs were put in one basket. We kind of understand this, but tragically the t20 campaign was blown out of the water by Scott Styris and Lancashire comfortably put to bed the CB40 efforts.

It's difficult to be too critical. The God awful weather this summer has made for a disjointed cricket season. Gloucestershire continue to talk about youth, yet clearly the faith is starting to wain. Coughtrie seems to have been given up on. Ed Young has been consigned to being a one day player. Chris Dent has suffered another season ruined by injury. None of the young bowlers have made a massive step up. Things have got to such a point that today's match against Yorkshire commenced with Jon Batty and Anthony Ireland in the side! Yikes.

What are we achieving by playing Batty. Surely he will be gone next year, so why play him now?

Why has Anthony Ireland been resigned? Apparently he offers experienced cover for Ian Saxelby's injury, but why? This season has gone. There is nothing left to play for. Surely there was a youngster who could have been thrown in?

What we object to most with the Batty and Ireland inclusions is that it shows a lack of focused structure in Gloucestershire's cricket. Whatever the plan was at the start of the season has now gone out of the window and anyone will do. The Jessop Tavern View doesn't mind us losing as long as the losses come with a sense of purpose.

As we said, the end of the season cannot come quickly enough. What happens at Gloucestershire over the winter could prove to be very interesting. After two years of 'project youth' the faith seems to be fading that the kids perhaps have the necessary quality. Who has Jackson Thompson's number?

Oh, at the end of the first day against Yorkshire, Glos were rolled for 215, although after being 9 for 4 at one point the tail gets a pat on the back. Yorkshire were 61 for 2. Captain Gidders misses the game for 'personal reasons'. Who said Ravi Bopara wouldn't have an effect on the Glos dressing room!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

One giant leap for the Glos website

Day 1: Gloucestershire v Kent

It's a good job that the first day of play in the current Glos v Kent championship match was washed out as it has given the Jessop Tavern View time to recover.

Sitting down to write a match preview we went through the usual token gesture of looking at the official Gloucestershire website for any signs of a bit of team news. Now usually this is a very quick process that involves clicking on the website and seeing only news of last week's game and some lame attempt to sell us gym membership. This is quickly followed by us copying and pasting our usual rant about the piss-poor nature of the official site. But not this week. No, no, no.

A full day before the game was due to begin we receive news that Will Gidman will make a very welcome return for the first time since June. We also learn that '38' is back from a slight side strain. We'll skip over the fact that we never knew that Fuller was even injured in the first place. We'll also skip over the extensive match previews that Kent supporters get from their official website. If anyone wants to know why we complain so much about this issue then just follow the respective couple of links and compare. Embarrassing, isn't it?

Ian Saxelby has failed to shake off a knee injury, but David Payne is named in the squad despite picking up a niggle in last week's game against Hampshire.

Thankfully Paul Muchall is injured.

Inexplicably Jon Batty returns in place of Richard Coughtrie. Considering that we haven't seen Coughtrie keep wicket this season we can only presume that he is like Cymbals the Clown. Coughtrie averages a terrible 10, from seven championship appearances, but did bat for two hours for his 20 odd last week. Batty averages 13 and is out of contract at the end of the season. We can only presume that the wicket keeping position will be addressed over the winter, otherwise playing Batty ahead of Coughtrie makes absolutely no sense.

Despite Gloucestershire's championship campaign having died a death post the t20 break we still hope that the boys can continue to build on the potential they have shown at times this season.

One final thought. Captain Gidders is averaging 23 this season, from 11 championship matches. He has 397 runs. With three championship games remaining, all eyes will be on whether Alex can reach that magical 500.

Monday, 6 August 2012

This is how it feels to be Gloucestershire.....

Result: Glamorgan beat Gloucestershire by 26 runs.

"Croft rolls back the years to sink Gloucestershire." - Cricinfo headline.

Do we need to say anymore? Really. How sickening is that to read.

We hate Robert Croft. We hate him in the same way that we hated Graeme Hick. In the same way that we hated Andy Caddick. People who are good, even though you know that really they are crap. And in the case of Croft at international level, really really crap.

Having fought back to 195 for 6 chasing 247 to win, and with both Cockbain and Taylor with fifties to their names, victory suddenly seemed to be ours for the taking. But then Crofty used all his varieties to take 3 for 6 in the space of 11 balls and end the contest.

Crofty has been Gloucestershire's nemesis for a number of years, to such an extent that we thought we would check out his career statistics versus Glos. Surprisingly they aren't that great. 89 wickets at an average of 28. Not exactly terrible, but considering how useless Glos have been throughout Crofty's entire career, you might have expected something a little better. So maybe Croft isn't our nemesis after all. But hold on. The Jessop Tavern View has very vivid memories of Croft destroying us in a fairly recent game at Cheltenham. This game was memorable for many reasons, some better than others. The Spear hit the most belligerent hundred we ever saw him hit. 89 balls in the final hour and a half of play. An innings that made the Jessop Tavern View miss the last bus home. However, the game belonged primarily to Croft, who took 6 for 120 in the first innings and then 7 for 67 in the second. Memorably, Glamorgan were set 40 odd to win with only about 5 overs left in the game. Brendon McCullum did the rest. What this all means is that we reckon that Croft has only recently become our nemesis. In the twilight of his career, that fat welsh git literally rolls off the Sky pundits couch in order to torment us. And yes, it feels a little personal.

Considering that Glos reduced Glamorgan to 64 for 6 on the first day, this is a pretty poor defeat. Throw in the fact that Glamorgan were bottom of the table and that we desperately needed a win in order to maintain some interest in the rest of the season and it's a pretty disillusioning defeat.

If you play 7 batsmen and then get skittled for 165 and 221 then you don't deserve to win any game. To try and find some positives, youngsters Ian Cockbain, Dan Housego and Jack Taylor at least made a fight of it. We were 48 for 4 in the second innings, so the defeat could have been even worse.

Lets hope that we pick four bowlers for todays game against Hampshire. Benny Howell seems to have barely hit the ball off the square since being handed a full time contract, and he should be the man to make room for either Liam Norwell or 38. It goes without saying that we have no idea what has happened to Will Gidman. It is now half an hour till the start of play against Hampshire and we have no idea about team news, or even who is in the squad for this game. Hampshire on the other hand provide their fans with this match preview. For the love of God Gloucestershire, is it too much to ask to have something similar?! How do you expect people to become fans and thus build up an interest in supporting the team? We've just checked the facebook page, and there is nothing. Honestly. This is a professional cricket team, struggling to bring in punters. We've just been on TV 3 times in a week. If there were any people out there wanting to follow the boys, perhaps rekindling a passion or just fancying getting into a bit of county cricket how are Gloucestershire helping these people? It really is shocking. The Jessop Tavern View is hardly Mr Marketing, but we do realise how powerful websites and social media can be.

Right, enough moaning.

Glos desperately need a win over the following four days to prevent this season really petering out. Considering all the positives we have seen so far this term, it would be a shame to see this season fade away.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Seven batsmen still not enough for struggling Glos

Day 2: Glamorgan 208 v Gloucestershire 91 - 7

Christ supporting Gloucestershire can drive you up the wall. With Glamorgan resuming on 64 for 6 the optimistic amongst us might have envisioned bowling out the championships bottom placed team for less than 100, certainly less than 150. Hell, even the final score of 208 would have been deemed acceptable. But to allow Glamorgan to put on 83 for the final wicket, and then to capitulate to 91 for 7......Christ. The official Glos website described it as a "frustrating day". Please. Frustrating would be to not be in as powerful a position as one would hope. Glos now find themselves staring defeat in the face. That's not frustrating. That's just piss poor.

Gloucestershires leading bowler was Rob Nicol, who took 4 for 53. When you are playing on what is obviously a bowler friendly track your best bowler shouldn't be a part time off spinner. The choice to play only three bowlers now looks a very poor one.

We are still not sure what the thinking is with playing seven batsmen. We guess that King John is wary of a batting lineup that has such little experience. Dent, Housego, Howell, Cockbain. It's pretty paper thin. The debalancing affect of losing Will Gidman's allround prowess looks more and more critical. The lack of a wicket keeper who is able to score runs batting at seven is also another factor. It's a classic  selectorial debate. If you pick just six batsmen you have to be confident in their consistency. If you pick just three bowlers then they need to be wicket taking bowlers. Given this quandary it is perhaps a little bit surprising that '38' was omitted. Fuller seems to be preferred for the one day games but his batting could have add more balance to the side. That said, even with seven batsmen we are still 91 for 7!

How Glos go about getting back into this contest will be interesting. the only slight silver lining is that Hamish Marshall and Ian Cockbain are the two not out batsmen. O'Mish be unable to bat due to being sick at the sight of Robert Croft still playing for glamorgan. Hopefully these two can get Glos up to near the Glamorgan total and then the fun can really start.

 Video highlights from Day 2 below. (God knows why almost every other county, except Glos, is able to post these on YouTube for easy embedding)

Who needs more than three bowlers?

Day 2: Glamorgan 64 for 6 v Gloucestershire

After the disappointing defeat to Lancashire in the CB40 on monday night Glos were presumably delighted to finally not be appearing on tv with the return of proper cricket.

Apparently this is the first time Gloucestershire and Glamorgan have actually managed to play any cricket against each other this season, with all 3 previous matches being complete washouts. Not that we weren't far off another washout today, with only 27 overs possible in the afternoon. Still, this was enough time for Glos to reduce Glamorgan to 64 for 6 and hopefully set up the win that will keep the boys vaguely interested in the promotion chase.

The Jessop Tavern View is praising some heavenly body for the return of Richard Coughtrie, and thus common sense, to the four day side. Coughtrie might not be brilliant, but we'd rather see a crap youngster than Jon Batty keeping wicket. We are ok with Batty keeping in the one dayers, but haven't seen any value in him keeping Coughtrie out of the championship side. Let's hope that the young keeper is allowed to develop his batting down the order, and isn't pressed into action further up the batting lineup which proved his undoing at the start of the season. Frankly, Coughtrie is probably always going to be a very limited batsman. But with seven batsmen selected for this match, he shouldn't be too exposed.

Jack Taylor also makes a welcome return to the team. Ed Young hasn't really showed the progress that Gloucester fans would have liked to have seen from his time eating pies and drinking beer at Darren Lehman's academy down under, and it's about time Taylor were given his opportunity. His two wickets  from 6 overs on a turning first day pitch was a very good return.

Bizarrely, King John has decided that seven batsmen, and thus only three full time bowlers are the way forward. We are not entirely convinced, especially since one of those bowlers, Jack Taylor, hasn't played a championship game since August last year. However, with Glamorgan already 6 down, and the pitch inspector checking himself in to the local Premier Inn in order to come back and have another look tomorrow, seven batsmen looks a very clever move.

Sadly the forecast is not exactly promising for the rest of the game and so a result may well prove beyond either side.

Day 1 video highlights below:

Concentrate on the championship boys

CB40: Lancashire beat Gloucestershire by 4 wickets.

The Jessop Tavern view probably won't be going to Lord's this year after Lancashire scraped a hard fought victory on monday night. On what was frankly a piss poor pitch that looked more like a slab of hard worn concrete Glos managed to set a competitive 184 primarily due to Ian Cockbain flogging 20 from the final over of the innings. However, such a total really required Gidders and the boys to take regular wickets in order to keep Lancashire on the back foot, and sadly a partnership of 82 for the fourth Lancashire wicket did the damage to Gloucestershire's CB40 campaign.

King John decided to roll the selectorial dice and came up with a batting heavy lineup that included seven batsmen, three bowlers and a Jon Batty. In fairness the pitch was crap and turned from the start and thus the seven batsmen also included part time spinners Rob Nicol and Chris Dent who both bowled a full complement of 8 rather tidy overs. However, neither took a wicket, which on a turning wicket proved to be the difference. Gloucestershire also weren't helped by an indifferent performance from Ed Young who really struggled to find either line or length whilst going for over 5 an over. Ed Young had a very solid t20 campaign by being able to fire his darts into the batsman's pads. However, it would appear that when he is asked to do more than this he really doesn't have the control at the moment. Time to give Jack Taylor ago we reckon.

It seemed strange that captain Gidders used only the minimum 5 bowlers and didn't decide to give either himself or Benny a bowl. Considering Ed Young's struggles, and the fact that Nicol and Dent looked about as threatening as the Jessop Tavern's own slow left armers, surely a case could have been made for the skipper wobbling down a few seamers on an uneven track. Ah, hindsight....

The defeat now leaves Glos third in the table on 11 points, a point behind both Lancashire and Middlesex, with the former still having two games in hand. With only two games left for Glos the odds are now steeped against them. The remaining fixtures are home against Lancashire and then away against Leicestershire. It will pretty much be a case of having to win both those games and then pray. Who wanted to go to a Lord's final in mid September anyway!

Friday, 27 July 2012

Come in number 38, your time is up

Gloucestershire 290 - 6 beat Netherlands 146 ao by 90 runs (DL)

Gloucestershire bounced back from Tuesday nights t20 disappointment with a comfortable victory in Holland. In doing so Glos set themselves up nicely for their final three matches in the CB40 group stage. The fact that these three matches take place over an entire month is ridiculous. The fact that two of these matches are against Lancashire, even more stupid. Honestly, why is this competition dragging on for another month? Oh, hold on. It's not dragging on for another month. That's just the group stage. The semi finals and final are played in September. As it turns out, having two matches against Lancashire is quite a good thing as the red rose county are our biggest rivals for qualification, but how the hell did the fixtures produce this scenario? Also, why are there teams who have played far less than everyone else? Lancashire have two games in hand on us, and three games in hand on table topping Middlesex. Why?

It's as if the ECB decided that since the very idea of a 40 over competition, a form of the game played nowhere else in the world, wasn't laughable enough they'd go all out to make the competition a total joke. It's hard to think of a more poorly run professional sports competition in the world.


Rob Nicol showed Glos fans what they can look forward to with a very passable Craig Spearman impression (not our description, but Mark Butcher's) and frankly we are inclined to agree. Nicol looked to be primarily all about the bottom hand and, despite offering numerous chances, showed some of the firepower Glos so desperately lacked in the t20 competition. How he goes against better bowling attacks that the Netherlands will be interesting. If we are honest, he looked pretty limited against the West Indies, but hey, he sports a comic ear stud which is sure to piss off the members, so we'll give him a chance.

Perhaps more encouraging that Nicol's hundred was Number 38's 6 for 35. It shows that the young Kiwi has a lot of character to perform so well in another televised game only days after becoming the butt of numerous jokes. It was a bit bizarre to have everyone at my club up in Edinburgh talking about James Fuller, but if you're going to go for 38 in an over then he'd better get use to it. Getting hit for 36 in an over by Yuvaraj Singh didn't do Stuart Broad's career any harm. Number 38 is starting to show signs of being a handy performer. His 6 wickets were mainly a product of him being a yard quicker than the Dutch batsmen were comfortable with and, at 22, there is scope for him getting even quicker. His 40 from 24 balls also demonstrated he has some talent with the bat. The thought of a bowling attack containing Ed Young, Will Gidman and Number 38 would make for a fairly tasty batting lineup. More signs that Glos could well be on the verge of piecing together a useful cricket team.

And you heard that here first.

Next up is another televised game against Lancashire on Monday night.

Glos challenge stutters on two fronts

A belated update on Glos' last two matches in the CB40 and LVCC, for those readers who weren't too demoralised by the T20 loss to Sussex this week.

Middlesex 218 for 0 (Rogers 122*, Malan 89*) beat Gloucestershire 214 for 9 (Roland-Jones 3-24) by 10 wickets

We always knew a score of 214 was under par on a flat Cheltenham pitch with famously short boundaries. We didn't realise quite how under par though, until a familiar ginger nemesis, Aussie opener Chris Rogers got started. Rogers began well and never stopped until he had struck an unbeaten 122 from 102 balls, to see Middlesex home with a whopping 9.3 overs remaining. Dawid 'typo' Malan accompanied him with a relatively sedate 89 not out from 81 and that was pretty much all she wrote. Middlesex have now overtaken Netherlands as group leaders and Glos slip to 4th. We thought that was pretty much the end of our chances of making the knockout stages, but having checked the fixture list, there are still a gruelling 4 group games left for Glos. We don't even finish playing them until August 27th! Surely this season's CB40 is the stupidest most ill-thought out one day competition, ever. The final isn't until September 15th. If every there was a guarantee of bad weather for a Lord's final, this is surely it.

Gloucestershire 229 and 209 for 8 (Gidman 62, Henderson 4-80) drew with Leicestershire 162 and 288 (Sarwan 93)

Let's be honest, this was a bit of a choke from the boys. Set 222 to win on Day 4, we looked well set at 176/4 with O'Mish and Housego at the crease. A trademark collapse then scuppered our chances and it was disappointing (but perhaps inevitable) to see the boys shut up shop with 8 wickets down and just 23 needed. A few lusty blows from Fuller would have done the trick, but we seemed shell-shocked from the collapse and looked like we feared losing to bottom of the league Leics. You could argue that we has already let them off the hook earlier in the day, when we let Sarwan and Boyce put on a crucial 83 for the sixth wicket before Boyce suffered a comedy run out following a mix up. A ninth wicket partnership of 48 saw the lead extend beyond 200 and this ultimately proved enough against a Glos side lacking an overseas player to help get us over the line during the chase. So, a shame not to get a Championship win at Cheltenham this year. Our next CC match v Glamorgan takes place at Swansea next week. Historically one of our bogey sides, it will be interesting if we can bounce back from recent disappointments, and a weekend of CB40 matches, to get a much-needed win.

Video highlights from Day 4:

Glos showed backbone whilst being hammered

So, what do we make of Tuesday's rather comprehensive beating in the slightly less harsh light of two days past?

The Jessop Tavern View has never shied away from criticising the boys and managing to get pumped for 230 with your three seamers going for 12, 16 and 19 runs an over seems a ripe old opportunity to sharpen the claws. However, unlike Nasser Hussain, the Jessop Tavern will resist making cheap and easy points.

Despite the Scott Styris mauling (a 37 ball hundred) Glos held their composure and produced a spirited run chase. In fact the run chased showed quite how much character and cricketing nouse there is in this young side. Needing 12 an over to win, after 4 overs Glos had galloped to 18 for 1 at which point you would have banked on the panic really setting in and the boys rolling over to die. But not a chance. Marshall, Housego and even Gidders all looked up for the fight, and all seemed to realise that if one of them could go on and score a hundred then the game wasn't completely up. Sadly none of them did go on and equal Styris' contribution, but the lack of panic indicated a side able to think clearly under enormous pressure. Housego in particular looked a quality player, and some of his play on the off side was sumptuous. We hope that 'The House' will now get a decent run in the side in all forms of the game.

If the batting restored some pride, then what to make of the bowlers. Well, firstly they are young. Saxelby is 23, Fuller 22 and Norwell 20. This was, for each of them, a first time in a big match environment. Let's not forget, they started brilliantly....for two overs. Considering the impressive start by Saxelby and Fuller's opening overs the introduction of Norwell for the third over was probably a mistake, and certainly signalled the start of Matt Prior's onslaught.

We moaned yesterday about Sky tv's pundits reckoning that Murali should have been introduced earlier, but it is unlikely that this would have had much effect. Sussex had clearly decided that the seamers were the ones who would have to go, and that Ed Young and Murali would be played out at 6 an over. The introduction of the spinners earlier in the piece would have been unlikely to have changed this tactic. Sussex would simply have bided their time knowing that the young seamers would have to come back later in the piece.

Reading Alex Winter on cricinfo, he too is obviously disappointed with Murali's contribution. He took 0 for 25 from 4 overs. Compared to Scott Styris then its obvious who got better value for money from their overseas player. During his 2 years at Gloucestershire Murali has taken 17 wickets at an average of practically 30 and an economy rate of about 6.5. In comparison, Carl Greenidge took 27 wickets at the same average with and economy rate of 8. We'll leave it at that, and won't mention that Murali has also been keeping someone like Jack Taylor out of the side.

Now, in defence of Murali, his signing clearly had very little to do with cricket, no matter how much Kaiser Tom and King John talk about him passing on his experience. His signing was a desperate attempt by Gloucestershire to sign someone who would flog some extra tickets. It's not exactly the first time that Gloucestershire can be accused of putting money ahead of cricket. Exactly how many extra tickets the 'Murali effect' had is difficult to gauge.

And before we leave the whole Murali discussion, we should point out that it was his failure to fairly simply run out Styris when he first came to the crease that basically cost Glos the game.

As much as this probably sounds like we are joining in the Murali bashing, we don't blame Murali. Yes, he's hardly proved to be a great signing, but during his two years the team have clearly improved in this format of the game and we're sure Murali has contributed to this. Lets hope that Glos can maybe add a little bit of firepower to the batting and that the young seamers learn from the experience. Like we have already said, we were actually pretty impressed with the character the boys showed, and the intelligence and refusal to panic when chasing such a huge total. On the day we were beaten by a very good, experienced, t20 team.

Glos now have to pick themselves up for two huge CB40 games over the next four days. First, against the Netherlands, then against Lancashire. At this stage of the competition nothing less than wins will do, and hell, the Jessop Tavern View would much rather have a trip to Lords than Cardiff.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Nasser Hussain: Tool

The Jessop Tavern View is too tired to give its usual thoughtful and insightful comments on Gloucestershires performance. How we are not too tired to say this. Nasser Hussain is a tool. A total and utter tool.

In trying to make the point that Murali should have bowled earlier when Prior was making hay, Hussain suggested that Murali was hiding away from 'Matty'.

Firstly, don't you hate it when commentators get all cosy and friendly when referring to players. Yes, he plays for England, and yes, clearly Hussain doesn't watch anything other than international cricket, but please Sky, stop it.

Secondly, and most importantly, Hussain's point was complete and utter tripe. So what if Murali had come on two overs earlier. He and Ed Young did a very good job of bringing Glos back into the contest. Had Scott Styris not rediscovered his World Cup form from 2003 then Glos would have given themselves a shot. It didn't matter where Murali, or Young for that matter, had bowled. The fact of the matter was that the young seamers went round the park. That would have happened wherever Murali had bowled. Prior smacked Saxelby, Norwell and Fuller round. Then Styris and Goodwin did later on. Hussain's point stank of lazy analysis. Pick on the famous player in a team. Then make a vaguely controversial point which has at its basis the sort of thought process that the bloke in the bar who only ever watches cricket when Freddie is batting. It's the sort of point my Mum would make. The opposition are doing well so bring on the only bowler that you have heard of to save the day. Lazy, rubbish punditry. Hussain has similar hair to Alan Shearer, and similar insight into the game. Tool.

With that off our chests, the Jessop Tavern View will return tomorrow when it has worked out exactly how James Fuller managed to go for 38 off one over. Only Gloucestershire.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Six for Sax

Ian Saxelby is a guy we don't talk that much about. We're not exactly sure why, although it could be something to do with ginger hair. Since acquiring Saxelby in 2008 he has quietly gone about the business of becoming a very handy county performer. He also missed the entire 2010 season after dislocating his shoulder climbing out of a swimming pool. The Jessop Tavern View is a fan of comedy injuries.

Last season Saxelby took 40 wickets at an average of 31 in the county championship. This season he has taken 26 wickets at 26. Hardly mind blowing stuff, but solid, reliable stats. Fill your team with players like this and you are well on your way to having a good side.

Yesterday Saxelby took career best figures of 6 for 48 to help Glos bowl out Leicestershire for 162 on day 2 of their championship match.

The Jessop Tavern View was chuffed to bits with this performance as it kept up to date with goings on via the ECB phone app. We were less chuffed to bits when the app then malfunctioned dramatically as Glos began their reply by indicating that Jon Batty was opening the batting for us. After shaking the damn phone to bits trying to correct what was surely an error, we resigned ourselves to looking on Cricinfo instead to confirm that this was in fact not an error, but instead a horrible nightmare return to the 2010 season.

We know that Rob Nicol has not arrived yet, and that Chris Dent is injured, but honestly! It's bad enough the man is in the side at all, let alone opening the batting. Now since the Jessop Tavern View very rarely gets to actually watch Glos in action we can only presume that Batty is keeping like an absolute God at the moment. I'm sure that the club would spout something about experience behind the stumps to help the young bowlers. Nobody ever realises that experience is only useful if you are any good. Experience from rubbish players isn't good, it's rubbish. Perhaps King John is a big fan of Bull Durham, and sees Batty as the Kevin Costner figure. Sadly Batty doesn't have Kev's home run power from that film, nor, we presume, is he shagging Susan Sarandon.

On a more serious point, do Glos have any young batsmen knocking at the door? We've been very impressed with the young bowlers who have been developed, plus we know that guys like Craig  Miles and Graeme McCarter are also waiting in the wings. But are there any batsmen? The necessity to sign Benny and The House suggest not.

With only two days left in this match there is still plenty of time for Glos to win. Whether the weather permits enough play will be another matter.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

What does second in the table really mean?

In county cricket there are several benchmarks to indicate how rubbish you are. Carl Greenidge taking wickets against you, would be one. Jackson Thompson scoring runs against you, would be another. The list is pretty much endless. Somewhere near the top of this list would be allowing Captain Gidman to take 3 for 20 from 8 overs in a CB40 game. Shame on you, Worcestershire.

Yesterday the captain rolled back the years to when he first emerged on the scene as a dashing batsman and handy medium pacer before injury and lethargy took its toll. Gidman got useful support from all the bowlers, and then, despite a little wobble, the batsmen fairly comfortably knocked off the 145 runs needed for victory.

This win takes Glos to the heady heights of second in the CB40 Group A, 2 points behind the Netherlands, but with two games in hand. For the life of us we don't actually know what this means as we haven't got the foggiest about what happens after the group stage concludes. But we presume that this is good.

Judging by the weather forecast, the boys will now get to put their feet up for the next 4 days in preparation for the t20 quarter final against Sussex next week.

*As we felt a little bit guilty about not bothering to look up the CB40 structure, here it is. Rubbish. The top team from each group, along with the best 2nd placed team progress to the semi finals. we can't even be bothered to moan about how completely stupid this format is. For some reason we thought that it had changed for this year. Fat chance. *

Saturday, 14 July 2012

5 Kane Williamsons for 1 Ed Cowan

It's Saturday morning, and what better way to spend it than by reading 'This Is Bristol' a website to whom we are not entirely sure which newspaper it is actually affiliated with.....

Anyway, today sees an interesting article concerning the relative costs of overseas players, and in particular Ed Cowan.

Firstly, whilst Ed Cowan looks a born bully of second division county attacks, Kane Williamson didn't look bad at the start of the season, averaging over 50. Williamson is also a young, exciting batsman whose potential is probably only really limited by the fact that he is a New Zealander. We'd be much happier to see Gloucester resign Williamson.

Secondly, if Kane Williamson comes at 20% of the cost of Ed Cowan, then how much have Glos ended up paying for Cowan's 6 game stint? Is this money that could have been better spent?

Friday, 13 July 2012

Cowan cashes in

We knew Ed Cowan was a good signing. We said he was test class. We said he'd have a point to prove to the Aussie selectors. Hell, all Aussies score runs in county championship. It's as certain as day turning into night. Let's not consider the fact that Cowan will basically have ended up being signed for that solitary t20 innings against Worcestershire. It's money well spent to help an Aussie get a feel for English conditions. After all, they'd do the same for us!

Anyway, the rain has ruined the first championship match at this years Cheltenham festival but not before Ed Cowan had the chance to prove to English fans that he'll be much less fun to watch in the ashes than Phil Hughes. Cowan's 103 occupied 268 balls, all be it in trying conditions. Cowan has already indicated that he would fancy playing for Glos in the future, presuming when the Aussie selectors work out that he's a 30 year old grinder averaging less than 30 in test cricket. Judging by his merciless plunder so far, we'd welcome him back!

HOM continues to look back to his imperious 2006 form. Those 5 years have been worth the wait.

Dan Housego took his opportunity to prove he is very much in the mix with a stubborn 60.

All in all, from what little play has been possible, its been all positives.

The downside is that Will Gidman was unavailable for selection due to a side injury. Much like Yoga, the better Gidders offers Glos fantastic flexibility and balance by being able to bat at 6 and open the bowling. If this injury rules him out for any length of time then it will be interesting to see how King John chooses to shuffle his pack. Ed Young has been picked for this match, and offers depth to the batting if not much of a spin threat. With Jon Batty still in the side Glos are already playing with only 10 batsmen. 9 and a half if we accept that the skipper never really fancies it when the ball moves around. As for Chris Dent? Well God himself is sat wondering what has happened to his finger injury. Is it too much to ask that when the official website posts team news (almost an hour into play on the first morning of a game) that they include a little bit of an injury update to players who would normally have been selected? What's that you say? It is too much. Fair enough.

Day 1 highlights:

Day 2 highlights:

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Preview: Gloucestershire v Essex

With the county championship set to resume again tomorrow, here at the Jessop Tavern View we thought it was a good opportunity to pose a good question. What's the state of play in the county championship?

Oi, no cheating.

The reason we ask is because we don't really remember. We have vague memories of a commanding win against runaway leaders Derbyshire. We also remember getting thumped in the opening game of the season. We are still munching our way through the humble pie we were forced to consume following hundreds from both O'Mish and captain Gidders, although we don't remember who they came against. Have we made our point? Now, we are men who write a blog about county cricket, yet still we don't really remember what has been happening in the first part of the season.

It's well over a month since the boys beat Derbyshire so impressively (Gidders hundred came in the first innings) and clearly everyone involved with the Gloucestershire website is as shocked as we are that the championship is starting back up and hence have failed to post any team information. We presume Chris Dent is still injured, but we don't know. But whether Jon Batty will keep the gloves is anyones guess. Will Ed Young be involved now that the spin option of Kane Williamson isn't available? Which of the young seamers will play considering how impressive all of them have been during the t20 campaign. So many questions. No answers.

Essex, being a professional club, have a full match preview available. Peg-legged Owais Shah is out injured but Harbhajan Singh is included in the squad.

Essex sit one place, and four points, behind Gloucester in the current table so this game will have a large bearing on which of these sides is able to push on in the second half of the season. Essex gave us a complete and thorough doing by an innings and 38 runs at the start of the season. Since then, Glos have improved steadily. Let's hope that the rain holds off, and that the 'Cheltenham Curse' doesn't return.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Sussex next to feel the t20 might of the Shire

We can already picture the panic down at Hove after Sussex's team of, relative, superstars were drawn against the mighty Gloucestershire t20 machine. Don't get too excited though. It's three weeks till the quarter finals actually take place.

Needing a win to stand any chance of qualifying for the first time since 2007 Gloucestershires biggest threat to victory came from the weather. But despite several showers, and pretty much persistent drizzle, not even God could prevent O'Mish leading the Gloucester circus act into what actually feels like a well earned quarter final.

Winning the toss Gloucestershire sensibly asked Northants to have a bat and openers Saxelby and 'sprayer' Fuller made the most of helpful conditions to basically seal the result with Northants left on 14 for 3 after 5 overs. In order to create a game, Northants folded their innings on 31 for 4 from 8.3 overs. Duckworth and Lewis then did the rest with a revised total of 23 from 5 overs. Northants then demonstrated that it will take more than firing David Capel as coach to make them a decent t20 side, conceding 7 extras in 2.2 overs as Glos romped home.

Gloucestershire thus finished second in the group. A decent effort considering that they had 4 matches with no result. Better than this, we actually look a half decent team! The Jessop Tavern View doesn't pay enough attention elsewhere to know whether any other counties have appointed a separate coach and captain for the t20 circus, but regardless, the appointment of Richard Dawson as t20 coach and O'Mish as captain seems like a very clever strategy. Listening to James Foster, the Essex captain, on Sky's coverage at the weekend he spoke of how draining it is to captain a side in this form of the game. Thus the appointment of a fresh captain and, presuming that similar demands are placed on the coaching staff, a fresh coach represents clever thinking on Gloucestershires behalf. Whether it's original thinking or not we're not too bothered.

Having moaned in a previous post about our lack of interest in the t20 competition the Jessop tavern view will admit that it took several bollockings off the girlfriend on Sunday afternoon for flicking between the tennis and the final round of games. Admittedly it helps when your team are in with a chance. It's unlikely that many Northants supporters placed their relationship under similar stress. Therefore this makes it even more of a shame that the rest of the competition is so ludicrously spread out. Why are the quarterfinals not being played this week, with the finals day this coming weekend? Still never mind. Hopefully the return to proper cricket over the next few weeks will confuse Sussex who only lost one match during the group stage. It'll be a tough ask for the boys to reach the finals.

Until then, here comes Cheltenham and the inevitable comedy collapses that happen at this time of year!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

The Hamish bandwagon is heading to Cardiff

t20: Gloucestershire beat Worcestershire by 7 wickets.

The Jessop Tavern View can picture the scene in the dressing room at Nevil road. Ed Cowan turns up. King John introduces him to the boys. Then O'Mish stands on his little soap box in one corner and reads from a piece of paper.

"Ed Cowan is a grinder. He averages 12 in t20 cricket. His highest score is 25. He's taking the place of a young aspiring Gloucestershire hopeful. He's a mercenary."

Cowan is left fuming. "I've only just arrived", he muses, "and already the press are on my back. Well fuck this. Somebody said I was signing for the county that WG, Hammond, Procter and Walsh use to play for. I thought this would be a proper professional cricket team. First they want me to teach pilates, and now this. Bollocks to it".

Seeing the expression on his face, captain O'Mish comes over. "Don't worry about it Ed", he states, leading Cowan across the dressing room to a large cork notice board on the other side of the room. "It's not the press who write this crap. It's two dicks who think they're big and clever. They just write a blog that's only read by their dad and some bloke who works in an ethnic handbag shop". Cowan scratches his head as if struggling to comprehend, then stammers, "These guys write about division two county cricket in their spare time. Christ! How pathetic can you be."

"We know" says rested captain Gidders walking over. "Look Ed. They're basically pillocks, but we've taken to using the shit they write to fire us up. They kept banging on about how Mish didn't have a hundred in 3 years. Now he's a run machine. They said we didn't have any strike bowlers. Then we ran through top of the table Derbyshire. Now they say signing you is a mistake. Just stick it to them Ed. Just stick it to them."

A few hours later Ed and O'Mish are stood in front of the notice board with a beer and broad grins on their faces. The two of them have contributed a partnership of 142 to help Glos chase down a total of 159 with two overs to spare. "Strewth, those guys really are dicks", Ed murmurs to no one in particular. Mish nods sagely. "But they're propelling us to glory Ed. They're propelling us to glory my boy".

Bring out the cheque book....

This is the moment we have all been waiting for. Having secured planning permission for the ground redevelopment Kaiser Tom is now sat in his office with the cheque book open desperately trying to find a biro that works and some top international stars who won't laugh at him when he invites them to play some cricket at Nevil road. Gloucestershire are poised to be the Man City of the county championship. This is it. Hold on tight.

With Rob Nicol not arriving for a few weeks, Gloucestershire have decided not to trust in the youngsters we have talked up, and have instead decided to go down the mercenary route and sign Aussie test grinder Ed Cowan. At the start of the season we looked as if we might go down the route of signing no overseas players. Now, with the signing of Ed Cowan for a 6 game stint, Glos have signed their third overseas superstar.

We don't have any real problem with Cowan himself. He's an Aussie, so he'll be professional and will love the opportunity to pick up some experience of sitting in the pavilion watching the rain fall on the covers. We just don't really see the point. Cowan will play in the 3 crucial t20 matches this week (despite a career average of 12 in this format of the game and a top score of 25) He will then play a championship game and a couple of 40 over games, during which we expect Cowan to stand around looking confused as to why anyone plays a 40 over competition. What are we hoping to achieve from signing him? All he will do is take the place of a youngster who could have been given the opportunity to put in some performances and create some pressure for places before Rob Nicol arrives. Presumably Cowan, O'Mish and Gidders are all guaranteed their spots in the top order. This leaves a maximum of 3 places for the likes of Benny, Cockbain, Dent, and The House. Hell, lets hope that we haven't completely given up on Richard Coughtrie. Whilst we're at it, couldn't someone like Ed Young or Jack Taylor have been given a go batting at 6 or 7. Why couldn't Jon Batty have done a job?!!!!!!! Whether Dent is fit at the moment we can't remember.

Put basically, Ed Cowan will take the place of one of these youngsters. A mercenary overseas player keeping out a young aspiring English player. One of the youngsters who is a full time squad member. One of the youngsters who presumably are desperate to have a chance to get in the first team and prove their worth. We've been full of praise for Gloucestershire's decision to trust in youth. Opportunity missed.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Twenty20 nonsense

Do you remember when Twenty20 cricket was great? Admittedly, if you blinked around about 2003 you would have missed it, but it did exist. Honest. It does seem amazing to think that this form of cricket has now been around for pretty much a decade, but surely 10 years isn't enough time for a competition to feel so boring. True, the ECB's attempts to milk the early success for all it was worth didn't help. Nor does it help that Gloucestershire have been mostly useless in this format....although that fact hasn't dampened our enthusiasm for 'proper' cricket.

We are just thinking that if the Jessop Tavern View can't really be arsed with a competition, and remembering that we are men who blog about county cricket, then who the hell can be arsed?

If the rain allows, then Glos are three decent performances away from the quarter finals. Quarter finals that will be played almost 3 weeks after the final round of group games. Quarter finals that will be played on a Tuesday and Wednesday. Before that, the championship will have started again. Oh, and we'll be playing some 40 over nonsense.

After the quarter finals, come the best part of the competition. Finals day. Having the semis and the final on the same day is great. Having it on August 25th, a full month after the quarter finals is not so great. Actually it's crap. Actually, it's worse than crap. It's f***** ridiculous. Somebody please tell us why.

Now in an ideal world we reckon this competition should be played out in as short a period of time as possible thus allowing people to really get into the competition. Something like the recent European football championships would work. Play the group games in 3 weeks. That would be 10 games in 21 days. A game every other day. A 20 over match. That's not that difficult. Then have the quarters, then the finals day. All in the space of a month, or 5 weeks tops.

Anyway, despite their inconsistency, Glos are still in with a shout. And should we get a trip to Cardiff at the end of August then this post will be hastily deleted.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Finally, some momentum? Twenty20 recap

Gloucestershire 141 for 1 (Marshall 66, Howell 55*) beat Somerset 140 for 8 (Muralitharan 2-20) by nine wickets

Your correspondents at the Jessop Tavern View realise we have been about as reliable at updating the blog as the UK weather has been recently. Our excuse (of course we have one) is the rather disjointed nature of this season's T20 competition. So far, Glos have had 6 fixtures, of which two were won, two lost and the final two abandoned without a ball being bowled. Tonight's match versus Glamorgan could well be heading that way as well if the forecast holds true. This leaves us 4th out of 6 teams in the Midlands/Wales/West group and the Jessop Tavern view none the wiser about whether we have a chance of qualification for the quarter finals. Which stupidly take place two weeks after the last group games finish. (Don't get us started on the fact that the Finals Day takes place on August 25th, a further month later)

What all of this means is that it's been bloody hard to get any momentum going in this season's competition. Unless you are Sussex or Yorkshire who have basically already qualified for the QFs. It's also been hard for us to generate any real enthusiasm for such a disjointed, rain-affected mishmash of a T20 competition.

Still, in our last match we did manage to deliver a 9 wicket hiding to local rivals and fellow cider-lovers, Somerset (Sabres). A decent effort with the ball restricted Somerset to 140, with spinners Murali and Ed Young both bowling economically. Ian Saxelby and James 'sprayer' Fuller took two wickets each, although Fuller did concede a typical 40 runs in getting them. Glos reject, Kevin 'Richard' O'Brien failed against his former paymasters, holing out for just 8 off Fuller and the dangerous Richard '501' Levi also fell cheaply.

The target never really proved too much trouble,once skipper O'Mish and Benny 'and the Jets' Howell put on a rapid 115 for the first wicket. Both reached 50 from less than 40 balls, as Marshall's was the only wicket to fall in an easy run chase that finished with more than 5 overs remaining.

So, back to our earlier point about momentum. Was this result enough to generate some much-needed wins to get us over the line and into the quarter finals? Very hard to tell, given that another no result tonight doesn't really help us and we don't really know how many points will be needed to win the group or qualify as best runner up. All this bloody rain around the country is at least keeping things tight, even if it hasn't made for much of a spectacle as yet. Still, we're nothing if not optimists here at the Jessop Tavern View. So, come on the boys in the last 3 group matches, do us proud!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

New Pilates teacher arrives

The Kane is dead, long live the.....oh bugger, some bloke called Rob Nicol.

Gloucestershire finally remembered that because Kane Williamson is good he has to go and play proper cricket against the West Indies. In his place we were told that New Zealand would send over a young, future international, packed with potential looking to broaden their experiences with some county cricket. Sadly the New Zealand cricket board couldn't find one of these, so they've sent us 29 year old Rob Nicol.

But hold on, the man averages 49 in ODIs! He also took this fairly spectacular catch:

Ok, so it's not that spectacular, but we're trying to be positive here.

Of his 391 ODI runs, 338 of them came against Zimbabwe (in 6 matches, including 2 hundreds) and 53 came against South Africa in 3 matches. So he likes to plunder against the meek.

He was picked for New Zealand's first two tests in their recent series against South Africa, the series that seems to have really kick started Kane Williamson's international career. Sadly Rob didn't get the same boost. Opening the batting he managed 28 runs in four innings before being dropped.

But fear not, King John is quoted as saying that Rob will be a "like-for-like replacement for Kane Williamson and has a very good first-class record." His very good first class record reads: an average of 34 and 10 hundreds. He's 29. Put another way, he's a perfect fit for Gloucestershire.

Ok, so we are not exactly blown away by this signing. We actually like the link we have with New Zealand and the idea that they send us their players who are borderline internationals. It's just that we were kind of hoping that this would be more along the lines of young, up and coming talents. Anyway, time will tell how Rob goes. A successful 2 months with the Shire could well see him suddenly having the same Irish grandmother that Hamish Marshall 'discovered'.

Perhaps the biggest concern Gloucestershire fans, and gym members have, is can Rob Nicol teach pilates?

Monday, 11 June 2012

Will Gidman rekindles the glory years

CB40 result: Glos beat Worcs by 109 runs.

Whisper this quietly, but Glos might be on the verge of becoming a decent one day side. No, quieter than that. Plus we did say, 'on' the verge of becoming a good one day outfit. There's no telling how long that verge stretches into the distance.

Yesterday Gloucestershire dismantled Worcestershire at New Road. We still don't know why Will Gidman is opening the batting, but yesterday he came good and got the team off to a solid start with 76 runs from 98 balls. Big brother then helped out with a rapid fire fifty to post a respectable total of 238 from the ridiculous 40 overs.

This is hardly a spectacular total. It's not mouth watering. It doesn't win a game by itself. But it is very competitive. It's also exactly the sort of total Glos use to post regularly back in the glory days of King John's first trip on the Gloucestershire haycart. It's the sort of total that good, tight early bowling makes look very good. Now unfortunately this Gloucester team doesn't have a Harv and Smudger to send down the first 10 overs whilst barely conceding a run, but yesterday Will Gidman did a bloody good impression. Heck, even muck flinging James Fuller did a good job. David Payne also continued his good form since returning from injury. After 10 overs, Worcestershire were 25 for 5. Game over.

Gloucestershire now lie third in the imaginatively titled Group A, five points behind surprising leaders Holland, but with three games in hand. The tournament now moves aside for the t20 circus, resuming again in a month's time when everyone will have forgotten what is happening and the competition will have lost all impetus. Seriously, would it be that difficult to play all the group matches before the t20. Then have a break, and have the knockout stage of the competition in the second half of the season? Why do you want to stop a competition in its tracks, and then try and resume it again. The structure of the CB40 competition leads itself very logically to playing group games first, then a break, then the excitement of the knockout rounds. Maybe that's just us. Or maybe we are just cricket administration geniuses and nobody else has the Jessop Tavern View's clarity of vision. Somehow we doubt this last point is true.

Anyway, getting back to Glos. A lot of credit needs to go to....and take a big gulp here....King John and the coaching staff. The comparisons with the magnificent one day side of a decade ago are there for all to see. Intelligent batting that sets competitive totals. Disciplined bowling that keeps the pressure on the opposition. Wonderful fielding. Ok, so the quality isn't quite the same. For Boo-Boo, read captain Gidders. For Kimbo, read Hamish Marshall. For smudger, read David Payne. For Snape and Ball, read Taylor and Young. For Jack, read (and this one is painful) Jon Batty. You see what we mean. Still, the blueprint is the same, and the real secret of Gloucester's success 10 years ago was the team ethos. The team was always better than merely the sum of its parts.

So lets hope this can continue. It will certainly be interesting to watch how the boys go in the t20.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Why every county could use a Ravi Bopara

Essex 225 for 2 (Bopara 120*) beat Gloucestershire 224 for 5 (Williamson 77) by eight wickets

The Jessop Tavern View is quite envious of Essex. Not the fake tans, white stilettos and souped up Escorts, but the presence in their side of one Ravi Bopara. Let's get one thing straight, Bopara is a good player. He may not be quite at international class, but at county level he's top drawer. He's particularly good at limited overs cricket, scoring an unbeaten 201 from 138 balls back in 2008 against Leicestershire. That's Ali Brown territory. When you couple this talent with the fact that he's constantly champing at the bit to prove to the England selectors that he's worth a recall, you're left with a man who can dismantle county attacks with ease. Essex on really lose him for occasional Lions games, ODIs  (if he's selected) and comedy injuries sustained while desperately trying to prove his worth to Andy Flower.

This is exactly what happened to Glos on Monday, as Bopara returned from 3 weeks out to strike an unbeaten 120 from 100 balls as Essex cruised to an 8 wicket victory with more than 3 overs to spare. Glos' total of 224 always looked a little light against a powerful Essex batting line-up, containing the likes of Bopara, Owais Shah, Ryan ten Doeschate and Graham Napier, and this proved the case as a partnership of 185 between Ravi and Tom Westley won the game comfortably. The bowling attack predictably went around the park, with only Jack Taylor going for under 5 an over.

The problem for Glos started with a below par effort with the bat. Will Gidman, not exactly known as a dasher, opened the innings and departed for a 5 ball duck, then we struggled, only reaching the 100 from 27 overs. Luckily Kane Williamson and Ian Cockbain managed to up the temp and put on 85 in 11 overs, before the gym instructor was out for 77. Jack Taylor threw the bat to good effect in scoring 22 from 12 deliveries and Cockbain ended on 52 from 44 balls. Cockbain looks handy in one day cricket and is actually an opening bat by trade. Perhaps we could look to make more of him as the season progresses? With only 4 points from 4 completed matches so far, we are going to need to score more runs to give the boys something to defend, if we are to progress to the semi finals.

On a separate note, whatever happened to Kevin O'Brien? Is he still on the books? Surely his buccaneering style is tailor-made for such matches? Any updates would be more than the official site provide!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Humble pie never tasted so good

Gloucestershire beat Derbyshire by 7 wickets.

The Jessop Tavern View would like to apologise for the lack of posting on Gloucestershires glorious recent victory over run away division two leaders Derbyshire. We have slowly been chewing our way through a mountain of humble pie.

First we accuse Hamish Marshall of being washed up and more interested in maintaining his perm. He responds with two hundreds and a run of consistency we haven't seen since 2006. Then we question whether there is any talent in the Gloucester youngsters and, in particular, where are strike bowlers are. Liam Norwell, David Payne and the better Gidders then all respond with spells that impact the course of the match. Then we criticise the skipper of averaging only 18 and not pulling his weight. He sticks it to us with a match winning first innings hundred. Finally Jon Batty responded to our accusations of being shit by.....ok, ok, so Jon Batty is still very definitely rubbish.

Gloucestershire demolished a Derbyshire team who, until their trip to Nevil road, had been unbeaten this season. The bowling in particular was a welcome reminder of the talent we saw last season, but which had been sorely lacking this term. Picking four seamers and disposing with the services of Ed Young looks a far better bet. Relying on just three young bowlers to consistently provide the firepower is to put too much pressure on players still learning their way. With four seamers you take away some of this pressure and encourage the lads to be aggressive. Run in. Bowl hard. Look to take wickets. If you bowl crap then let someone else have a go. With four guys doing this you increase the chance of one of them having success. The result is bowling out the lead leaders for 95 just after lunch on day one. Whether this rotation of four seamers is viable when a spinner becomes a necessity remains to be seen. At the moment Kane Williamson is probably a better bowler than Ed Young, and thus provides spin cover. When Williamson heads off for international duty this might become more of a problem. (And speaking of Williamson, any news on who is replacement might be yet.....nope, thought not!)

The other pleasing thing about this victory was the way Gloucestershire closed it out. Heading towards the end of day two Derby were poised to fight back on 200 for 4, with two batsmen well set with fifties. In steps David Payne to remove Derby captain Wayne Madsen before the close. The following day the Gloucester dressing room must have known that chasing anything over 150 would be tough, especially given what happened in 2010 against the same opponents, and knowing that they only had 9 batsmen, with Chris Dent nursing a broken finger and Jon Batty opening. Will Gidman then took four quick wickets on day three and Glos only needed 84 to win. Despite losing our man Batty in the first over of the chase, Benny the Frenchman, and Williamson set up a comfortable finish.

So congratulations to the boys. And congratulations to the Jessop Tavern View. We like to think that our constant negativity and over the top criticism of good honest pros trying their best was a source of inspiration to the shire. We can picture our latest posts being pinned up on the dressing room wall by King John in order to fire the guys up. You're welcome.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Does anyone remember Bristol 2010?

Derbyshire 95 and 211 for 5 (Madsen 72, Redfern 64*, Will Gidman 4-39) lead Gloucestershire 294 (Alex Gidman 129) by 12 runs

Regular readers will know that the The Jessop Tavern View is not noted for our optimism. Glos are in pole position to beat Division Two leading Derbyshire tomorrow, but all we can think about is this game. Yes, we're probably being unduly negative, but the precedents are there in this match. Derbys were skittled in the first innings for under a hundred, then conceded a lead of 100 plus, before recovering in the second innings to set a small target. All we need now is a repeat of our embarrassing collapse in the 4th innings and it will be, to quote Yogi Berra, 'deja vu all over again'.

To recap the match so far, Gloucestershire have played really well for 2 days. Our young bowling attack ran through a decent batting side for a paltry 95 yesterday and bowled well again today, especially Will Gidman, who tooke 4 more wickets today. The 'better Gidders' broke a dangerous partnership between Wayne Madsen and Dan Redfern by trapping Madsen LBW for 72 and also nipped out Whitely before the close. David Payne made a strong return from injury, taking 3 for 23 and Ian Saxelby conceded a miserly 13 runs from 10 first innings overs. Liam Norwell as been a bit more expensive so far, but you can't have everything.

The skipper was the main man with the bat today, striking his long overdue first ton of the season in making 129. The key thing was how he contributed to several decent partnerships, which helped out first innings to a respectable 294, a lead of 199 on first innings which should see us win the match barring a comedy collapse when chasing. That or a massive Derbyshire partnership which kills the game off. Unlikely though with two days to go. We've said before that Gidders should be leading from the front more with the bat and scoring centuries is a big part of that. Having even seen Hamish 'I'd forgotten how to celebrate one' Marshall, score a hundred in last week's tough defeat to Essex, he must have thought it was about bloody time he cashed in himself. He picked a good match to produce what was apparently a fine knock and we want to see more in weeks to come. Of course, we don't actually play another Championship game after this until July 11th, so what form he picked up today could be long gone by then.

Anyway, we'll save that rant about the disjointed domestic season, where you play almost half your Championship fixtures by the end of May, for another day. As King John said after the day's play 'there is still a lot of work to be done... the first hour in the morning will determine how easy or difficult it is going to be for us.' Let's hope the boys can keep their heads and see us to a deserved victory over the runaway Division 2 leaders tomorrow. There you go, we ended on a positive for once!

Day 1 highlights

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Preview: Glos v Derbyshire

We like Derbyshire. They are small. They've had even less success that we have. Their ground looked rubbish when the Jessop Tavern View went past it on a National Express bus recently. Plus, their website is perhaps even worse than Gloucestershire's. When the Jessop Tavern View logged on to the Derbyshire homepage this morning they were greeted with an advert for an old people's home. Then an advert for waste disposal. Still, maybe this is what it takes to be top of the league.

Derbyshire arrive in Bristol off the back of an absolute thrashing of Essex last week inside of 3 days. According to their website they arrive at full strength so we can expect 4 days of hard cricket from perhaps division two's most attritional and journeyman-like squad. Seriously, would you pay to watch any of these guys? Runs have come from the likes of Martin Guptill, Wes Durston and Wayne Madsen. All grinders. All boring. All great players for division two. Only Dan Redfern can be considered a young talent. Jonathan Clare could also be considered a youngish bowler. David Wainwright is Derby's leading wicket taker with his slow left armers. David Wainwright. Just the name is enough to make you know he's an uninspired plodder. Still, they are top of the league, which makes them better than us. A lot better.

We would love to tell you what Gloucestershire's team will be for today's match, or even what the squad is, but its 10.42 on the morning of the game and the Glos website has no team news. Seriously guys. Is it that hard to put some news up? How are fans suppose to feel involved? It really is shockingly poor, and a poor indictment of the way that the club treats its fans and fails to realise that the club has supporters dotted all around the country.

So what are we looking for from Gloucestershire? Well as we have said over the last month or so, there is plenty of heart in this team. That's a good starting point. Now we want to see some glimpses of talent. An innings that really takes a game by the scruff of the neck. A bowling spell that changes the complexion of a match. Anything!

Oh, and for the love of God, please don't let Jon Batty be playing today.......

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Another defeat with lots of positive experiences

Northants beat Gloucestershire by 121 runs.

Gloucestershire continued their slide down the table with last weeks defeat to Northants. Gloucestershire fought hard and, in fairness, came damn close to saving the game. There were only 2 minutes left when last week Liam Norwell was LBW. Gloucestershire will take lots of positives from the match, and the youngsters will have learnt a lot from the experience.....

We've heard this before this season.Put simply, Glos fought hard on the final day of a game that they had never been in. Northants racked up 300 for 4 on day one and, despite a spirited fight back with the ball that restricted Northants to just 400 in their first innings, the batting then crumbled to 133 for 6 and only a 'proper' hundred from the Jessop Tavern View's favourite Irishman scraped us past the follow-on. We always knew Marshall would come good. Class is permanent, and all that.

Northants' runs were scored by a off-spinning allrounder, acting as an emergency opener, and a Scottish bloke. That really says all you need to know about the Gloucestershire attack. The wickets were shared around amongst the bowlers. Nobody was really punished, but, yet again, the feeling is that this attack doesn't have anything even resembling a strike bowler. Gidders and Saxelby are admirable grinders, but are unlikely to rip through a top order. Liam Norwell was making his first appearance in the championship for over a year. Can he develop into that strike bowler? Ed Young appears to have learnt about as much from Darren Lehmann about spin bowling as you would expect, considering Lehmann was a batsman. Presumably though, Ed knows a few good bars in Adelaide.

The batting continues to flatter to deceive, and still fails to produce as a unit. Individuals continue to score hundreds (which hasn't always been the case.....2010 saw Glos have to wait till August to have its first centurion) but in order to set up victories you need the whole batting order to fire. Captain Gidders now has 162 runs at 18 this season. 70 of those runs came in one innings. Things are so bad that we even drafted back Jon Batty.

Gloucesterahire now lie third bottom of the second division. We don't have great hopes for this season, and we aren't going to get downhearted too early. The boys continue to fight hard in every game, which is more than a lot of Gloucestershire teams have done in the past 10 years. We will give them time to come good. The Jessop Tavern View just continues to suspect that there is not a huge amount of talent in the youngsters who have come through. Good honest pros, but not match winners. We hope to be proved wrong.....hell, if Hamish can prove us wrong, then anyone can (except Jon Batty).

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Hamish Marshall: an apology.

Here at the Jessop Tavern View we are not men who are afraid to admit we were wrong and eat humble pie. Therefore let us bury the hatchet, and praise the wonder of vice captain Hamish O'Marshall's face-saving hundred. Coming in just as Gloucestershire's second innings was on the verge of wobbling, O'Mish first steadied the ship, and then took the game away from the opposition as only a man with two test centuries to his name can. O'Mish was majestic, striking 18 fours and two sixes to compile 84 of his 102 runs in boundaries. By the time the declaration came, O'Mish had faced only 123 balls. Awesome.

Now remember that this was against a university side. Also, figure in the fact that Marshall was so desperate for this hundred that he delayed a declaration so that he could reach three figures. Now we know it was hardly a vital declaration, but should a man who has scored test match hundreds really need to reach 3 figures against a bunch of students. Clearly he did.

Now we have been pretty harsh on Marshall this season. Actually, make that the last two seasons. In fact, scrap that. Make it the last 3 seasons. You see Marshall hasn't scored a hundred for Gloucestershire in proper cricket since May 2009. That's 3 years ago. Remember, this is a man who is paid money to score hundreds. If you performed that badly in your job for 3 years, would you still be employed? Well, maybe if you were employed by Gloucestershire you would be. In fact, you may well be in the running to be chief exec.

Just look at these stats for Marshall:

2006       1218 runs at 60.9 and 5 hundreds
2007       817 runs at 40.85 and 3 hundreds
2008       850 runs at 30.35 and 2 hundreds
2009       844 runs at 35.15 and 1 hundred
2010       884 runs at 35.36 and 0 hundreds
2011       401 runs at 22.27 and 0 hundreds

Now remember that this is a man who played test cricket, and wasn't completely rubbish at test level. Now also remember that this is a man who plays in division two of the county championship and so has had the privilege of facing some of the worst bowling attacks ever seen.

It's the lack of hundreds that is particularly damning. Hundreds win you games. Hundreds save games. Hamish hasn't done either of these things for 3 years.

Anyway, let's end on a positive note. Maybe this mickey mouse hundred is the spark the man needs to score proper runs over the rest of the season. A Gloucestershire middle order of Williamson, O'Mish and Gidders is a strong one, and one that should allow the youngsters to bat around them. So come on Hamish. Prove us wrong.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

The artist formerly known as Kaiser Tom

Kaiser Tom needs our support! And knowing the Jessop Tavern View's love of fine art, the Kaiser has dusted off his paintbrushes, dug out his easel, and whipped up a few artists impressions of what Nevil road could look like. Hideous. The ground proposal, that is. The Jessop Tavern View is quite a fan of the art.

The new proposal is more environmentally friendly with exciting additions such as dual flush toilets, restricted flow taps and solar panels sure to ease the concerns of local residents who objected to the shear bloody size of the buildings. 

Frankly this proposal has gone on for so long that we are now actually fully behind it, if for no other reason than at least we can draw a line under the whole thing and move whichever direction that may be.

So if you want to back the campaign, then get yourselves across to the club website and send a message to Bristol city council. The new proposal will be heard on May 30th.