Thursday, 7 May 2015

Is it too early for an early season report card?

The Jessop Tavern View is not often noted for our posting frequency. Days and even weeks go by without a post, particularly once summer rolls around and we lose enthusiasm once Gloucestershire begin to plateau. Keen-eyed readers will note that we have yet to recap the final day of the Derbyshire loss last week. (For obvious reasons, given our post after Marty Guptill's assault on Day 2 effectively ended the game as a contest, despite a 2nd innings fightback from the boys.)

Instead of doing that we thought we would reflect on the first three championship games of the season, what with Glos in joint 4th place on 34 points, having won one, drawn one and lost one so far. We also have just the one more Championship match before the disruptive T20 starts on Friday 15th.

So, how have the boys done?


A mixed bag so far. We have had some issues in the first innings, with few individual scores over 50, the notable exceptions being Geraint Jones' 80 v Northants and Gareth Roderick's 56 against the same opposition and 76 v Derbyshire. The Essex game saw two fifties in a solid first innings performance, which while only totalling 245, gave us a lead of almost 100 which set us up beautifully to get at Essex in their second innings.

Roderick has started the season in great nick, but needs to ensure he starts making hundreds rather than pleasant 50s. Chris Dent has begun to exhibit overdue signs of consistency and his hundred against Northants saved the game. We are still somewhat prone to collapse and it would be good to see the senior players O'Mish and Jones scoring runs more consistently to help support the younger players.



The attack has shown signs of becoming a handy Division Two unit. Liam Norwell's 10-fer against Essex showed that he can marry his natural wicket-taking ability with a decent economy rate when the mood takes him.

Craig Miles hasn't necessarily had the chances with the new ball that we might have expected, yet he still has 12 wickets at 28 after his 6-63 in the Northants game. Matt Taylor took 5 for 89 in one of the few bright spots against a rampant Derbyshire. James Fuller has been an expensive disappointment and it was no surprise to see him rested for the Essex game in favour of David Payne.

Payne took 5 wickets against Essex, but more pleasingly he was apparently the brains behind the switch to bowling a slightly shorter length which led to Norwell ripping through Essex on Day 1. Maybe he too is maturing as a professional.

Clearly we have no spinner, but not a big issue at this stage.



This has been an unexpected weakness so far. The boys have shelled a prodigious number of catches already this season. One of the most costly was Guptill, dropped by 'cymbals' Jones on 57- he went on to add another 170 to that while also being dropped again by Will Tavare on a day when we shelled 6 catches while going around the park.

Things have improved since then, with Chris Dent taking 5 slip catches in the Essex win. Coach Richard Dawson should definitely ensure standards are raised on the fielding front though. As an inexperienced batting and bowling outfit, one of the few areas we can get an edge is in catching and ground fielding.


Up next, another tough away fixture against Lancashire at Old Trafford. Lancashire were obviously one of the pre-season favourites and can boast several players who fail the Guptill test proposed in our of our recent posts. Clear violations include Alviro Petersen (36 tests, last in Jan 2015 and also a dubious non-overseas signing after retiring from international cricket) and Ashes-bound Peter Siddle (56 tests, last in Dec 2014).

To a lesser extent there is also Kolpak signing Ashwell Prince (last test 2011). Prince may be pushing 38, but he remains a fine player, as evidenced by his 153 in this week's match versus Northants. This was Prince's 12th ton for Lancashire and he has scored almost 5000 first class runs for them in several spells as both overseas and Kolpak.

All in all more than enough firepower to give us a hammering, should they feel like it. Having come off a frustrating draw against Northants this week, they will surely be pushing for a home victory against an inexperienced Glos side.

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