Only 51 overs were possible on the final day of play at Chelmsford as Gloucestershire's opening match of the 2013 season petered out into a draw. Tom Westley went on to complete his hundred after a let off from older Gidders in the second over of the day. Gloucestershire thus had to settle for 9 points and a highly encouraging start to the season, and certainly better than last year's debacle in the opening round of fixtures.
Scoring over 400 after being put in speaks for itself, and heres to hoping that the batting continues to produce the runs that, on paper, it really should be producing. The bowling on the other hand; well, it's hard to read too much into things. Fuller looked dangerous with the new ball, but it must be a slight concern that both Norwell and Payne went round the park a bit. Still, it's early days, and both of these bowlers have shown enough over the last few seasons to mean this isn't too much of a concern.
After the match Essex coach Paul Grayson made the point that he was happy with the squad he had assembled at Essex for this campaign. Added to the team for this match can be international cricketers such as Owais Shah, Ryan ten Doeschate and Saj Mahmood along with promising youngster Reece Topley. This perhaps emphasis' exactly how tough things will be for Glos this season. Paul Grayson's quote perhaps sums up the challenge best,
"If you achieve things it's not down to 11, 12 players, it's down to 15, 16. We might have to use a rotation system at some time, if guys are a bit tired we might be able to rest one or two at certain periods, especially with one-day cricket. But I'm pleased with the way the squad is shaping up."
So who are Gloucestershire's 15 or 16? Of the squad members who could be added to the XI that played here only Ian Saxelby would walk straight in. Ian Cockbain represents decent batting cover, but the only other players who might be considered are the two spinners, Jack Taylor and Ed Young. It's a painfully thin squad, and represents the difficulties Glos face this season.
We also enjoyed Alex Winter's creation of the new county championship division 3 in his match report.
"Realistically, they are part of an unofficial Division Three with Glamorgan, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire. Bettering those three sides this season would be a start but Klinger will have seen enough talent on show in the opening game to suggest Gloucestershire can secure a mid-table finish."
Excellent! After round one of matches, Glos sit proudly atop the newly formed division three.