Sunday, 19 April 2015

Gritty Chris Dents Tavern Pessimism

Northamptonshire 333 (Rossington 95, Willey 62, Miles 6-63) and 416 for 8 dec (Willey 104*, Keogh 81, Cobb 58) drew with Gloucestershire 296 (Jones 80, Roderick 56, Willey 4-72) and 267 for 2 (Dent 104*, Tavare 66, Roderick 52) 

The good thing about writing a little-read blog about county cricket is that when you're wrong, only about 20 people have read your doom-laden predictions from previous posts. Thus you can change your tune and rely on the fact that few people are going to slate you on Twitter as they simply won't have read what you said a couple of day's ago.

So, it fills us with pleasure to be able to report that Gloucestershire managed to comfortably bat out the final day at Wantage Road to secure a draw in our first Championship fixture of 2015. Chris Dent batted throughout the day to score his 6th first class century- amazingly his first in the Championship since August 2013. Dent was well-supported by first Will Tavare (66), second Gareth Roderick (scoring his 2nd 50 of the match) and finally Peter Handscomb on a day when only two wickets fell.

We are pleased that Dent seems to finally be knuckling down and attempting to fulfil his potential. At the age of 24 and after 68 first class matches, he should be looking to boost his first class average beyond 34. Scoring a match-salvaging unbeaten hundred is a good way to start. Let's hope this year is the one where Chris scores a KP-equalling load of Division 2 runs to prove himself a really good batsman.

What else to take away from our first game of the season, then? It would appear that the new coaching team has already managed to instil a certain grit in the side, as evidenced by our willingness to knuckle down and bat out day 4 for a draw. This is especially encouraging after the amount of tap the bowlers took from Willey and others on Day 3, when the prospect of being able to win the match was taken away from us rather quickly. It would have been easy to roll over in the face of a huge target, but we navigated the final day with ease. Let's hope we continue to see more of this as the season wears on, it's something we will undoubtedly need, especially in away fixtures against stronger sides.

We do need to work on our fielding though. The 'shire dropped a number of catches in the game, 5 in the first innings alone and Dent subsequently shelled another on the 4th morning. This is something which can be worked on and fixed relatively easily. The bowlers also need to stop bowling endless four balls when under pressure. Easier said than down, but it was worrying to listen to the radio commentary on Day 4 and listen to Fuller get taken apart to the tune of 6-a-over by Willey et al.

Anyway, we should end on a positive note for a chance- a good away draw, against decent opposition and Derbyshire to come in our our home opener next week, Onwards and upwards!

Video highlights from Day 4 are below:

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