The return of the county championship every year is always like the return of a lost friend to your life. The comfortable, warm feeling of familiarity has an immediately relaxing impact, only to fairly shortly be replaced by the realisation that nothing much has changed.
For 2015, it appears not so much has changed yet for Gloucstershire under the new coaching regime. Glos get themselves into a good position. Glos allow the opposition off the hook. Glos fight back and get themselves into a good position. Glos collapse. Glos fight back. Glos crumble. It's a well-worn pattern that leads to 7th place in division 2 and the occasional excitement of a quarter final in a one day cup.
We won't get too down on the boys (we'll save that till July) but yesterday was a disappointing day. After a promising start from the top three who all got themselves in, Gloucestershire then lost a clatter of wickets to find themselves struggling on 185 for 5. Captain Jones led the recovery, to get Glos right back in the mix at 296 for 7 only for David Willey to take 3 of the final 4 wickets without a run being sored to leave Gloucestershire trailing by 37 runs. Craig Miles then took two quick wickets to give the Shire a sniff of a chance, only for Alex Wakely to shut the door and leave Northants a comfortable looking lead of 105. The first session on Tuesday will be vital.
On paper Gloucestershire's batting is very definitely the strength of this team, however a slight suspicion remains as to whether there might be a few too many dashers in the current line-up. Will Tavare aside, the rest of the top 7 all look like players happy to swish around for a bit before departing for a slightly unsatisfying 20 or 30. Yes, we are looking at you Hamish O'Marshall!
Hopefully several of them will run into form and negate this observation with a summer of highly entertaining cricket where the sound of leather thudding into boundary boards follows Gloucestershire around the county circuit. And not just when we are bowling.
So, a crucial first session for Glos today. We will make no mention of the fact that we told you that lower order looked shaky yesterday!
Video highlights from Day are below: