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!