Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Allenby and Goodwin make the most of Glos selectorial error

Day 1: Glamorgan 318 for 5 v Gloucestershire.

Gloucestershire's strange selection of 6 bowlers seems to have backfired pretty spectacularly as Glamorgan closed day one on a commanding 318 for 5.

If you select a team with only five recognised batsmen then we guess you are basically relying on being able to blow the opposite away with the ball and not have to worry too much about how many runs you're going to score. However, with the sun baking down and pitch flat you do have to wonder whether its a case of being a little bit too clever and not really just sticking to the basics.

Despite all this, the young Gloucester attack stuck to their task manfully. David Payne and Craig Miles both struck early with the new ball to have Glamorgan teetering on 85 for 4. Unfortunately Jim Allenby and Murray Goodwin then put on 185 for the fifth wicket. In this context we shouldn't be too critical of the decision to bowl first. Glos had the opportunity to roll Glamorgan over but just couldn't get the job done as the shine went off the ball. It was still the wrong decision to bowl first.

None of the bowlers disgraced themselves, and all 6 of them returned respectable figures. 17 year old off-spinner Miles Hammond bowled 20 wicketless overs that cost him 64 runs. Not bad for a man who spent the morning pretending to be sick to his mum so that he could blag the day off school in order to play in the match.

Glos are now right up against it in this match. They must finish Glamorgan off for less than 400 tomorrow to have even the remotest chance of getting anything from the game. With both Glamorgan and Gloucestershire occupying the lower middle table of division 2, this match represented a key moment in Gloucesters season. Win it, and you can look to consolidate a position in the middle of the pack. Lose, and suddenly you're spending the rest of the season fighting to avoid a second consecutive wooden spoon. Thus it is very disappointing to find ourselves with our backs against the wall in a key encounter due principally to some harebrained plan to pack the team with bowlers and let them have it.

We have pointed out on numerous occasions that only victories really count in division 2. A draw is as good as a defeat, and defeat comes without any repercussions in the form of relegation. Therefore you might as well set out your team to win the game. Packing the team with all these bowlers was clearly an attempt to win the match. We mustn't be critical of that. However, Gloucestershires coaching team can be criticised of perhaps having ideas above their station. It's a bit like the village team captain who insists on having two men back on the hook on a Sunday afternoon cos he's seen it on the telly, when in reality he has a team full of middle aged plodders who haven't got a ball above shin high for 20 years. It's all well and good to fill the team with bowlers if, a) your 5 bowlers have the quality and experience to blow teams away, and b) you have high quality batsmen who are capable of shouldering the burden of scoring all the runs. Gloucestershire have neither of these things.

Gloucestershire effectively chose to roll the dice with their selection. Unfortunately they rolled the dice needing to get two sevens and don't seem to have realised their mistake.

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