Saturday, 22 June 2013

Touring 'A' side versus the Shire.

Writing a blog about Gloucestershire county cricket means that you are about as far removed from matters of international cricket as if you were to be blogging about cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We have little to say on matters of England. We don't even host poxy England one day games against minnows.

Thus the current match against the touring Australian A team has provoked little curiosity from us regarding possible indicators of form for several Aussie guys who are still hopefully of chasing leather to all parts of various test match grounds over the coming 6 months.

Predictably Gloucestershire have been comprehensively outplayed with no real signs of any Gloucester youngster taking the opportunity to make a bit of a name for himself.

The Jessop Tavern View did however find itself going misty eyed when reminiscing of past encounters with international 'A' teams.

If anyone ever wanted to know what were the signs that might indicate you to would have nothing better to do on a Saturday evening in your early 30s then let us present exhibit A. Gloucestershire v Pakistan A at the 'Royal and Sun Alliance County Ground', Bristol, 1997. Having searched for a scorecard for this match we were amazed to discover that a cricket match actually took place at all. The Jessop Tavern Views memories of this game consist of us turning up on a truly hideously wet third day to try and watch a fledgling Shoaib Akhtar learn his trade. You know you are in trouble when the guy on the gate doesn't make you pay, and just waves you threw with a sympathetic smile. Not that the Jessop Tavern View minded. Several very enjoyable hours were spent bowling some wonderful leg breaks underneath the old media centre followed by a trip to Special Reserve. Happy days. As much as we would love to admit that we were there to watch Shoaib, we had no idea who he was. In fact, until we checked out the scorecard we didn't even know he had played. Now that we do we'll be sure to add it to the list of boring pub stories about people we saw before they were famous.

The Aussie 'A' also made us think back to a sunnier time. The visit of the West Indies 'A' to Cheltenham in 2002. The Jessop Tavern View was there to watch CH Gayle help himself to 83 runs from 79 balls. To be honest though, we don't remember Gayle hitting moon shots out of the college ground with quite the same ferocity as Philo Wallace a few years previous. We also remember a young and raw Tino Best entertaining the guests in the marquees with the most ludicrous follow through we have ever seen. Time always adds pace to bowlers and elegance to cover drives, but its not exaggeration that Tino revved up and then didn't stop till he was past the stumps at the other end. Tim Hancock never looked liked he fancied the speed of Tino as he backed further and further away to leg, doing a Kim Barnett in reverse. Jessop Tavern View favourite James Pearson also opened with Hancock. An opening pair of Nick Trainor and James Pearson was something we will always feel sad that we never got to see.

So there we go. A completely pointless post and a purely self indulgent stroll down memory lane.

To any kids who did attend the first couple of days of the Aussie 'A' match; beware this is your fate.

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