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.

Where's Bobby Dawson when you need him?

There is a great little story in one of Simon Hughes' books that concerns Gatting and Gooch. Gatting is preparing for one of his final seasons as he desperately tries to hunt down his hundredth hundred. Gooch is encouraging him to put in a bit more effort with his sit-ups by quipping, "Come on Mike, I don't want you to have to get them against the universities". Gatting responds with something along the lines of, "That's not fair Goochie, you scored about 10 hundreds against them". When the Jessop Tavern was younger they use to peruse the Cricketer's Who's Who every season and a surefire sign of a shit player was someone who's highest score was against the universities. Bobby Dawson springs to mind.

What we are getting at is that a game against the universities is a time to fill your boots. Get stuck in and pad that average with cheap runs. In other words, we had Hamish Marshall nailed on for a hundred.

Instead Gloucestershire were rolled over for 227. The good news. Well, a couple of injured players are welcomed back. Dan Housego and David Payne come back after a few weeks out, where as Liam 'Lazarus' Norwell is back from the dead. Norwell hasn't played since a game against Middlesex this time last year. He only played 3 games last season, but he did potentially look like an exciting prospect.

We wrote recently that last week's game against Yorkshire would teach us a lot about this Gloucestershire team. What we learnt was that there was a lot of heart in this bunch of youngsters, and a great willingness to keep plugging away. Yorkshire were clearly a team with a lot more quality. That's fair enough. Despite a slow start to the season, it's hard to not see those miserable gits getting promoted straight back to division one. Whilst it is fine to be outclassed by Yorkshire, to be outclassed by some posh buggers from Cambridge is slightly harder to swallow.

We are perfectly happy to soak up all the talk of 'learning experiences', 'improving youngsters' and 'naivety'. However, we are only happy to take all this talk if we can see the potential in the youngsters. Now we are not saying there is no talent in this team, and we are hoping that yesterday was just a bad day at the office, but we would like to see the potential in these youngsters to become good county players. We don't expect all of them to make it as county pros. But if we are going to have to build our future on the back of these youngsters, then a couple of them have to go on to be consistent performers.

Let's hope for a few Bobby Dawson-esque performances over the next couple of days!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

At least we didn't die wondering

Yorkshire forfeit and 402 for 6 (Jaques 160, Ballance 121*) beat Gloucestershire 351 for 9 dec (Williamson 111, Bresnan 5-81, Patterson 4-77) and 48 for 0 dec by four wickets

So, we lost the game to Yorkshire on Saturday. By the end it was a bit of a rout, with both Phil Jaques and Gary Ballance having scored hundreds. Some fans may be disappointed that we even set Yorkshire a target, but let's be realistic, they scored 370 in a day to win, which is good going at Bristol, even against an inexperienced attack such as ours. There is no shame in losing to such a strong side as Yorkshire, who featured Adil Rashid coming in at number nine should they have needed him. Yorkshire were also under pressure, having been relegated last season and then failing to win in their opening 3 chanpionship matches.

Phil Jacques is a quality player, with 9 hundreds in 28 matches and a first class average approaching 50. Let's not forget he also scored 3 hundreds in his 11 tests for Australia. I'm not sure that facing an attack comprising Will Gidman, Ian Saxelby, debutant Graeme McCarter and Ed Young, plus various part timers, was the greatest challenge he's ever faced. As Alex Winter mentions in his Cricinfo report, taking wickets became particularly difficult on a pitch which made taking wickets with the old ball 'exceptionally difficult'. Gary Ballance's superb unbeaten hundred should not be overlooked either. Yorkshire needed someone else to contribute alongside Jaques and the Zimbabwean delivered in fine style, ending 121* with consecutive sixes off Ed Young.

Still, a lot to be positive about from a Glos perspective. Kane Williamson struck a superb hundred (his third in successive matches, including his match-saving century for New Zealand against South Africa) and looks in sublime touch already. Chris Dent again scored important first innings runs and Graeme McCarter performed very well for a 19 year old on championship debut. Even Hamish Marshall almost got a 50!

As Alex Gidman said after the game, things could be a lot worse for such a young and inexperienced side. At least we showed some spirit to set up a run chase and bowled with a lot of heart in trying to defend the target. No championship game for the 'Shire this week, but Northamptonshire away next week should be a tough challenge.

Video highlights from Day 4 below:

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Muppets of the Jessop Tavern

The Jessop Tavern View's recent encounter with the taxi driving cousin of notorious damp run-up dodging, no ball specialist Shabbir Ahmed prompted a thought. Is he Gloucestershire's worst ever overseas player?

Christ, we thought, there must be some god awful competition for such a inglorious award. After all, Gloucestershire have had some of the very worst people to ever play first class cricket stroll about on the same turf that WG and Wally use to call home. (Just thinking that Nick Trainor can claim a Gloucestershire cap alongside these two makes our blood boil) Therefore, our thinking went, we must also have had some of international crickets very worst. Forget Proctor-shire. Forget Zaheer. Forget Courtney or Harv. We are only interested in the dross. The totally useless. In other words, typical Gloucestershire players....just from overseas!

Thanks to the wonder that is the Cricket Archive website, and (rare) credit to the official Glos website for providing direct links to the Gloucestershire pages, trawling through the great and good of Gloucestershire's murky overseas past was nowhere near as painful as we thought it might be.

So what did we learn? Well, sadly we don't have any real clunkers to reel off. In fact hardly any at all. The The Jessop Tavern View had been hoping for a black hole in the mid 1980's, between Proctor and Walsh, from which some extraordinarily dodgy names would appear. But no. Procter left in 1981. Courtney arrived in 1984. And some bloke called Franklyn Stephenson flirted with us in between. Oh, and Zaheer was still there. And Sadiq Mohammed. Heck, we even had Terry Alderman in 1988.

Sadly all this article has made us do is realise quite how far county cricket has fallen. It's not that we didn't know this, it's just that we hate to admit that we are writing a blog about a competition that fewer and fewer people care about. Would Shabbir Ahmed have been given a call in the 70's or 80's? About as likely as Walsh or Procter refusing to bowl because their run up was a bit damp. Where once the great and good of world cricket wanted to hone their skills in county cricket, now we have washed up internationals more often than not. Credit to those teams, like Glos, who are giving young international talent a chance to develop on the county circuit. But most teams are happy to sign up Simon Katich, talking about the wealth of experience he brings to the younger players. Or Brendan Nash, who doesn't even bring this.

So the only really embarrassing period of Gloucestershire's brushes with international superstars has been the last 10 years. The post Harv years have seen not only Shabbir, but fellow Pakistani Shoaib Malik (134 runs at 16, and 10 wickets at 53) or how about Sri Lankan comedy duo Upul Chandana (an awful, 16 wickets at 46) and Malinga Bandara (a commendable 45 wickets at 24). Also picking up a Gloucestershire wage have been the good, Jonty Rhodes (in 2003) and James Franklin, and the mercenary, that's you Ramnaresh Sarwan and Marcus North. It is perhaps fitting that also during this period Mr Cricket himself, Michael Hussey, also treaded the Gloucestershire boards to the tune of 442 runs at 36, with no hundreds. Considering that Hussey in the 00's was one of the county championship's leading plunderers, Gloucestershire can lay claim to be the only club with whom he failed to score runs.

What do these recruits, of varied quality, over the last 10 years tell us about Gloucestershire? Well, not too much if we are honest. For every Shabbir, their has been a Hamish Marshall (hell, he was good when he wasn't Irish!). For every Chandana there has been a Williamson....who we have a good feeling about this season. The sad thing that this period of overseas recruitment demonstrates is simply that no longer do counties have real links with their overseas players. Players come, they collect a wage, they captain you, then they turn up playing for Hampshire the next season (Thanks Marcus!) Little did we know it then, but Harv would be the last of the proper overseas players. This isn't Gloucestershire's fault. It's not likely that county cricket will ever see the world's leading players rocking up for entire seasons to test themselves in the best domestic competition in the world. Shame.

Game on in Bristol after captains collude

Yorkshire forfeit and 30 for 1 need 370 more runs to beat Gloucestershire 351 for 9 dec (Williamson 111, Bresnan 5-81, Patterson 4-77) and 48 for 0 dec

Normally when you read a headline like the above in relation to cricket, people start getting twitchy and wondering whether the likes of Salman Butt are involved. However in this case it was merely some enterprising captaincy from Alex Gidman and Yorkshire's Andy Gale. Declaration bowling, an innings forfeiture and a 'contrived' run chase- it all happened at Nevil Road yesterday as Glos and Yorks tried desperately to set up a result on Day 4.

The match was previously meandering towards a draw with Gloucestershire 299-9, having suffered a trademark collapse of 5-9 from 290-4. Instead of pushing for the final wicket however, Gale brought himself on along with Adam Lyth and they fed a selection of tasty pies in the direction of Ian Saxelby and debutant Graeme McCarter. The numbers 10 and 11 added 52 in just over 3 overs, before declaring and taking tea. Yorkshire then forfeited their first innings, before Glos crawled to 48-0 from 28 overs before declaring for a second time, to set Yorkshire a victory target of 400 from a minimum of 110 overs. The Jessop Tavern View are fans of positive cricket in all circumstances and we say 'tough luck' to those Glos supporters at the game reported to have grumbled about the contrived circumstances. What would they rather see, another tedious Day 4 peter out into an inevitable draw, or the opportunity for all three results?

The enterprising 'conspiracy' between Gidman and Gale left Glos 14 overs to have a crack at the Yorkshire batting lineup and Will Gidman duly obliged by having Joe Sayers caught behind by Coughtrie. If captain Gidders hadn't grassed Lyth at slip and Phil Jaques' inside edge had carried onto his stumps then Yorkshire could have been in a world of trouble overnight. As things stand, they managed to reach 30 without further loss of wickets. Day 4 could provide an interesting day's cricket, as a powerful Yorkshire batting lineup, led by Jaques, face off against Glos' inexperienced seam attack who were denied the chance to bowl against Kent in similar circumstances a few weeks back. The Jessop Tavern View thinks Alex Winter's Cricinfo report is perhaps too harsh on young Ed Young's slow left armers. We're not saying he's the new Monty Panesar or anything, buts let's see what impact he can have tomorrow before we write him off completely, eh Snowy?

Video highlights of Day 3 below:

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Kane Williamson's arse

Gloucestershire fans have been given a taste of the future so far this season with not a single ball being bowled at Nevil Road until today.

Eventually the rain cleared enough for 50 overs to be bowled by probably the best attack in division 2. Given our slightly flaky batting so far this season, Glos fans might well have expected to see us in a similar position to Kent's 24 for 5, but no. Kane Williamson is finally finding his county championship mojo, and is now tucking in to the meek division 2 attacks and helping himself. Chris Dent also applied himself nicely to put Gloucestershire in a position from which they cannot lose this game.

There is not a lot else to say here, other than for us to direct you over to cricinfo for Alex Winter's excellent piece, blowing hot air up Kane Williamson's arse. Our only question is, has Williamson's excellence on the cricket field seen a slump in the quality of his pilates classes? Gym members, please get in touch.

Video highlights from Day 2 below:

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Preview: Gloucestershire v Yorkshire

Jason Gillespie's Yorkshire gypsies bring their caravans to Nevil Road for an intriguing division two match-up that will teach us much about exactly what sort of season Gloucestershire fans can expect. Perhaps Kaiser Tom, and the rest of the Gloucestershire board will encourage Dizzy to leave his caravan after the match in order to piss off the locals into granting us our block of flats.

A few weeks ago Gloucestershire's squad looked threadbare, after a couple of early season injuries to David Payne and Dan 'The House'. However, the arrival of Benny and the Pilates instructor means there is suddenly some competition for places in the batting order. The bowling unit is still struggling to find a consistent attack. Whilst the better Gidders and Ian Saxelby (with 17 and 13 wickets respectively) have been excellent, the rest of the attack has struggled to keep things tight. Fourballs Fuller misses today's match, as does David Payne. Young Irishman Graeme McCarter is brought into the squad after taking wickets on debut at Lords on Monday. The Jessop Tavern View hopes he is now thrown into the 4 day team straight away, ahead of the Corporal and Paul Muchall.

Last week against Derby, Glos went into the game with four full time bowlers, and Will Gidman batting at 6. This weakened batting yielded one poor innings, and one excellent one. With the skipper sure to come back into the side it will be interesting to see how King John chooses to approach the match. Yorkshire's strength would appear to be in their international bowling attack, thus retaining all the batsmen and adding the skipper at the expense of a bowler would seem to make sense. Yet again, Glos can thank their lucky stars for the emergence of Will Gidman, and the balance that his genuine allrounder status brings to the squad. Kane Williamson came in last week and looked like the class act he is. Any man who makes proper runs against the Saffers in the test arena should be helping himself in division 2. Can O'Mish continue to claw his way back into form? Can Benny continue his fine start to his Gloucestershire career? Can Dent and Cockbain build on encouraging starts to their seasons and go on to threaten the 1000 run mark? It's still too early in the year for the skipper to be scoring runs.

Yorkshire will be without the services of Aussie quick Mitchell Starc, after he buggered up his visa. Clearly he should have said he was coming to teach Pilates. He now has to fly back to Oz to fill in the necessary forms (check out cricinfo's amusing step into the world of comedy picture captions). Yorkshire will still field an experienced international attack, with the likes of Sidebottom, Bresnan and Rashid all due to play. Yorkshires batting will also be depleted, with England Lions youngsters Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow both away to warm up the Windies. Whilst Yorkshire might not be at full strength, they still represent a considerable challenge. Glos have some how managed to play a game more than everyone else in division 2, and due to the rain, the table is currently very bunched. Thus, despite it being only early May, this is already a big game for Glos.

Monday, 7 May 2012

World's worst cricket competition up and running

Yes ladies and gents its that time of year again. Time to embark on yet another rollercoaster of emotions that is the CB40 competition. Oh yes. And if indeed the CB40 were a rollercoaster, it would be one of this shit kiddie dragon ones that applies the brakes every time it goes down a slope. Actually, the Jessop Tavern View would rather be stuck on a never ending kids rollercoaster than watch the CB40, and we have a notoriously weak stomach for rollercoasters.

Yet again the CB40 competition pioneers the 40 over game, a format of the game played nowhere else on the planet. A competition that the Morgan report described as "not working from either a financial, or cricketing perspective". A competition whose structure of only one team qualifying from groups of seven means that after the first weekends round of matches, teams can already be pretty much eliminated from the competition, yet still have 10 fixtures left to play.

Naturally, the Jessop Tavern View reserves the right to withdraw these comments should Glos reach the final.

So this Bank Holiday weekend has seen the boys lose a nailbiter to Holland and, this evening, comfortably beat a disinterested Middlesex side live on TV. Being as this second game marked the first time I have been able to watch the boys live, I continue to be impressed by the character of the team, if not quite the talent. To lose a final ball thriller against Holland at home, and then immediately to travel to London to play another game, Glos showed remarkable backbone to bounce back so impressively. After saying the same for nearly all of last season, as well as for the first month of this, the Jessop Tavern View may finally have to shake its pessimistic nature and accept that this Gloucestershire side no longer rolls over and dies.

Tonight saw impressive performances from Ed Young, our man Benny, and bugger us if Hamish O'Marshall didn't contribute for a second time in a week. Being as this is the first time we have seen Benny bat we are now wondering whether he always wanders across his stumps like he did tonight. A sort of Kim Barnett, but instead of starting a foot outside leg stump, Benny starts on about middle and leg. Anyway, his innings showed a real maturity, and some considerable common sense. Knowing when to hit the accelerator, or when to just keep the scoreboard ticking is clearly something he learnt at Hampshire. Apparently Benny is on a rolling, game by game contract. We say sign him up. The guy is from Bordeaux, so even if he goes a bit crap, he should know a good bottle of red, which is always a useful thing to bring to a dressing room.

According to the Sky pundits, Gloucestershire will be focusing on the one day games this season as we haven't a hope of doing anything in the championship (These are the same pundits who described O'Mish as the engine room of our batting!) Whilst we are not prepared to throw in the towel in the championship just yet, a nice run in a one day competition this year would make for a nice change from a never-ending series of dead rubbers in both the CB40 and T20.

Next up for the boys, however, is Yorkshire in the county championship on Wednesday.