Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Preview: Hampshire v Gloucestershire

We're only a week into the season and already tomorrow's county championship game with Hampshire has the feel of a real make or break game for the young Gloucestershire squad. The basis of last year's surprising success was the impressive start the team got off to. Early wins help build a confidence in the young guns that never seemed to leave them for the remainder of the season. Worryingly, this season's difficult start, with 3 away fixtures on the trot, could have the very opposite effect of draining any left-over self confidence.

Almost the entire Gloucestershire squad faces the 'difficult second season' syndrome as they make the transition from being unknown quantities last year, to facing up to teams that have a year's worth of footage with which to analyse all the niggling weaknesses, such as Richard Coughtrie's inability to hit the ball off the square! The good players have the ability to adapt and build on their games. The Hamish Marshall players don't.

Last week's drubbing by Essex doesn't bode well. But lets not get down on the boys before we even get to May. What do we want to see over the next 2 and a bit days against Hampshire? Well primarily just a bit of fight. When you're a young player we can forgive shiteness, but at least show a bit of fight. This was by far the most impressive aspect of last season and also by far the most disappointing aspect of the dismantling by Essex.

David Payne returns to the squad and, according to the skipper, is likely to start. It'll be interesting to see if the batting order gets rejigged. We like Richard Coughtrie, but watching such a limited player at the top of the order is more disappointing than yet another pleasant 30 odd from Chris Dent. The Jessop Tavern seems to remember Ian Cockbain also opened at some point last year, yet now seems to be hidden at number 6. Likewise Hamish O'Mish also opened last year before he forgot that the perhaps of the wooden thing in his hands was to hit the ball with it. Whilst we appreciate that O'Mish has only just returned, we see no reason why Cockbain be stuck down at 6. Put Cockbain up top, then move 'the better' Gidders up to 6, with Coughtrie at 7. Christ, this selection stuff is easy!

Hampshire have overseas feline Simon Katich available having passed through quarantine, and England's latest pie thrower Danny Briggs to choose from. They also have a ridiculous website address that has nothing to do with Hampshire cricket and everything to do with their sponsors. Irrelevant, we know. But hell if you were sat here at approaching midnight writing a match preview for second division county championship cricket, then you too would find amusement in such irrelevant triviality!


  1. Fully agree about Cockbain and Coughtrie. It's really strange that despite a first season full of promise, an ability to block or hit out, and what looks to me to be a good technique, Cockbain's not only hidden down at the bottom of the batting line-up but is the first one to be dropped whenever a change is demanded, no matter who's failed (wasn't he the one who paid for a failure to win at Middlesex despite a century)? Put him up the order with Dent and we might have a half-decent combination. Meanwhile, let Coughtrie marshall the tail, where he'll be forced to play shots.

    Cockbain and Dent are batting together now - let's see how they do. It's already nearly 20 overs, which suggests a good level of application. Although in fairness, Gloucestershire are doing better than any other side with the bat today...

  2. Completely agree doctorhuw. Seems a real no-brainer to us. But then again, there are quite a few no-brainers involved with Gloucestershire it would seem! Coughtrie looks more wicketkeeper, than wicketkeeper harm in this, but let the guy develop his batting out of the spotlight of the new ball.