Monday, 21 July 2014

Welcome back Craig Miles

Day 1: Worcestershire 299 - 7 v Gloucestershire.

Ah, Cheltenham. The Jessop Tavern View went away for a while, gorging itself on summer football. When we came back we rocked up at Cheltenham last week and stared with disbelief as Benny Howell was handed the new ball. Injuries have ravaged the Gloucestershire bowling unit this season but surely Benny Howell should never be opening the bowling. Where is Ben Gannon when you need him?! Benny, typically, bowled all right, only for the batsmen to let everyone down by collapsing in the second innings and handing victory to Derbyshire.

Disappointing defeat to Surrey was followed by Chris Dent finally finding the middle of the bat against Essex that proved that t20 at Cheltenham is far more fun when it isn't played on sticky, sub-standard pitch.
The Jessop Tavern View turned up early on Sunday afternoon and sat nursing its pint of Tribute in front of the nets. Some gangly, young blond kid was doing some bowling in a Gloucester shirt. He looked remarkably like Craig Miles. The Jessop Tavern took its pint and went and found some shade, deciding that it had clearly had too much sun for one day.

Yet lo and behold, here we are today and we can finally comment on whether Miles had the ability to follow up his wicket-laden first season with more of the same. The answer appears to be yes. Typically a young bowler's second season is usually pretty trying. Teams have had the chance to look at the film and batsmen suddenly have plans of where to score against them. Miles cleverly decided to avoid this typical second season syndrome by being crocked for most of the season. Coming back today it is fair to say Worcestershire coach Steve Rhodes was probably regretting his decision to record over those tapes of Miles' bowling with Emmerdale omnibus'.

Miles tore through the Worcestershire top order to take 4 for 53 from 17 overs. Most importantly, he was able to walk off the field at the end of play. Tom Smith also decided to chip in with 3 wickets to leave this match very evenly poised after day 1.

Miles' return from injury has almost certainly come a month too late to salvage Gloucestershire's championship season. Still, it will provide King John and the board with more ammunition to talk ruefully about what could have been this season before then failing to invest in the squad over the winter.
In a slightly more bizarre aside, Sunday's net session saw the Jessop Tavern witness 20 minutes of watching former Gloucestershire legend Ravi Bopara bat left handed. In fairness Ravi could still find the middle of the bat, and maybe he will prove us wrong by resurrecting his test career as the next David Gower. Still, it was a somewhat bizarre spectacle. With that sort of commitment to practice is it any wonder that Bopara remains a wasted talent.

Highlights from Day 1 are available via the official site here

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