Friday, 21 August 2015

50 over recap: The good, the bad and the irrelevant

The Royal London Cup has surprised a few people so far this season. Very much the third domestic trophy, it traditionally takes place towards the end of the season when more than half the counties have basically given up the ghost and are merely playing for pride.

Previous incarnations saw a slightly weird qualifying system used where two groups went straight to the semi finals, which meant that early losses soon proved terminal for even the best limited over sides. Thankfully we're now settled back into an international standard 50 over format, with a quarter final stage to further help separate the wheat from the county chaff.

Even more pleasingly, Gloucestershire have proven themselves a passable side in the format thus far. The shire finished their group stage matches with a home quarter final birth secured after five wins from eight with a no result v Yorkshire. We'll discount the fact that the home draw was in fact secured following bad weather which ensured Yorkshire's match at Scarborough was abandoned without a ball being bowled.

So to a brief recap of the completed matches so far. We'll skip the Yorkshire game which we were in a great position to win until bad weather intervened.

The Good

July 29
Gloucestershire 205 for 4 (Roderick 54) beat Derbyshire 274 for 5 (Rutherford 110, Madsen 106*) by six wickets - D/L 

First up was a wild game at Nevil Road, which was secured when Benny and Jack Taylor struck an outrageous 69 from the final four overs to secure a fortunate D/L victory. Having fielded poorly in conceding two individual tons to Hamish Rutherford and Wayne Madsen, we were always going to be up against it.

Rain altered the target to 284 from 48 and again to 204 from 35 overs and at 136-3 we looked dead and buried. However, Taylor came in and immediately set about the bowling, hitting leggie Critchley for 3 sixes in an over to begin the carnage which concluded with Taylor being caught off the final delivery off which 6 were needed. Miraculously a no ball was called, for too many fielders on the leg side of all things, and a single was taken to add to the two extras, Benny Howell then smashed the final delivery for a four to complete a unlikely victory

Video highlights

July 31
Gloucestershire 315 for 6 (Roderick 104, Jones 87, Klinger 50) beat Leicestershire 314 (Aadil 84, Burgess 49, Taylor 42*, Smith 3-45) by one run

Another interesting contest and an unexpectedly tight one, given the opposition and match situation. Gareth Roderick's maiden List A hundred and Geraint Jones' career high 87 (a bit worrying when you score that in your final season, at the age of 39?) saw the boys post over 300 and we then reduced Leics to 128/5 in response.

However, a couple of fine partnerships; 96 between Aadil Ali and Burgess and then 44 from Clint McKay and Rob Taylor (in just 4.4 overs) left McKay needing 3 from the final ball to complete an unlikely victory. Luckily enough, Glos' excellent fielding came to the rescue as captain Maxi Klinger made a diving stop before running out the Aussie to restrict Leics to a single run.

A tight victory was thus secured, although the worrying James Fuller no ball beamer problem returned, seeing him withdrawn from the attack for the second time this season. Not ideal to lose one of your strike bowlers at a key moment and hopefully the Kiwi can get this under control from now on. When firing he's a fine bowler and a handy batsman, to boot.

Video highlights

August 2
Gloucestershire 247 for 7 (Klinger 107, Groenewald 3-53) beat Somerset 244 for 7 (Hildreth 85*, Gregory 62) by three wickets

The next match, against West Country rivals Somerset, saw a sight as familiar as a pint of cider in the hand of supporters on either side, Maxi Klinger acknowledging the crowd's applause for another fine hundred. The man's form this season has been nothing short of remarkable- he's averaging over 100 in this competition as well as over 80 in T20 and 46 in the championship. One could argue that if the travelling Australian circus wanted to add another performer to the troupe then they could do a lot worse than calling on our skipper.

This would obviously be bad news for the 'Shire, as Klinger runs again turned a tight game in our favour. A lowish chase of 245 proved tricky, with Dent falling early to Groenewald and Roderick also departing cheaply. Klinger however anchored the innings superbly, scoring his 107 off 133 balls with nine boundaries including 4 sixes. The game was still in the balanced when he fell with 43 still needed and when Gourmet-Burger departed with the score on 213 there was work to do. Luckily Jack Taylor was at the crease and he put on a useful partnership with James Fuller. Taylor then struck two sixes in the penultimate over from Groenewald and the victory was secured with two balls remaining. A good win.

Video highlights

August 4
Gloucestershire 289 for 7 (Klinger 135*, Jones 54) beat Durham 214 (Hastings 46, Payne 5-40, Miles 2-29) by 71 runs D/L

There doesn't appear to be a match report available on Cricinfo for this game, so we'll stick to the facts. A dominant batting performance saw Glos post an excellent 289 from just 41 rain-affected overs. The demon Klinger carried his bat for another hundred, his highest score of the summer so far, despite an injury requiring a runner towards the end. Geraint Jones continued his streaky run of form with 54 and Benny Howell chipped in with a quickfire 45 from 24 balls towards the end.

Durham were never really in the contest, losing wickets throughout, before a late flurry from John Hastings saw them limped past 200, before being dismissed for 214 in the final over. Sid Payne took an excellent 5-40, including most of the lower order and Miles also bowled economically in what has been a fine season in all formats for the 21 year old.

Video highlights

August 5
Gloucestershire 265 for 6 (Tavare 61, Jones 58, Roderick 56) beat Worcestershire 264 for 8 (Clark 131*) by four wickets (D/L method)

Glos secured a quarter final place with their 5th consecutive win against bottom side Worcs who lost their 5th straight Royal London fixture. The boys performed well without the injured titan Klinger, who missed out with a hamstring strain. Worcester actually posted a decent total, based around a superb 131* from 19 year old Joe Clarke. The 'Shire bowling was relatively expensive in this game, with only the wicketless James Fuller keeping the economy rate below 4 an over.

Glos managed a tricky chase well, with all of the top 4 chipping in. The recalled Will Tavare, hitherto fairly useless in white ball cricket, hit 61 and Roderick and Geraint also hit 50s. Even Chris Dent, who had slumped into a terrible rut recently, managed 43 in an opening stand of 106 with Tavare. Despite losing late wickets we got over the line comfortably and booked a quarter final place early with two fixtures yet to play.

Video highlights

The Bad

August 17
Northamptonshire 217 for 6 (Cobb 58, Taylor 3-45) beat Gloucestershire 215 (Howell 80, Roderick 57, Crook 4-37, Stone 3-34) by four wickets 

This game wasn't that important for the 'Shire and it showed. We're running out of steam on these recaps, so we'll stick to saying that Glos underperformed with the bat and did ok to reach 200 plus in the end. Northants were always looking favourites after an opening partnership of 80 took a large chunk out of the chase. Despite losing a few middle order wickets along the way, a calm 31* from skipper Alex Wakely got them over the line with 9 overs still to bowl.

Video highlights

The Irrelevant

August 18
Surrey 291 for 8 (Burns 95, Fuller 3-26) beat Gloucestershire 279 (Howell 60, T Curran 4-65) by 12 runs 

This game proved to be a complete dead rubber once Yorkshire's fixture against Northants was rained off in mid-afternoon. Good job too, as Glos again failed to chase down a Surrey target anchored by
Rory Burns' List A-best of 95. James Fuller returned 3-26 and Benny Howell continued his all round form with 2-54 from 9 tidy overs.

Glos struggled with a challenging chase, although the Frenchman again batted solidly for a team-high 60 and put on 90 in 15.4 overs with Fuller, who scored his one day high of 45. Chris Dent managed an attractive 49 before getting out as his first List A 50 of the year seemed on the cards.

It ended up mattering little as the weather allowed Glos the luxury of a home quarter against Hampshire on August 26th.

Video highlights

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Ode to the Gidman brothers

How much of a step up in class is there from Division 1 to Division 2?

Why not ask the Gidman brothers. The two principal mainstays of Gloucestershire's team for the past several years, both headed off to try their hand in Division 1 this year. This is how they have been getting on.

Will Gidman

County Championship

7 Matches
213 runs at an average of 19 with 1 fifty.
4 wickets at an average of 89.

No appearances in either the one day cup or the t20.

In 2014 Will scored 850 runs, including 3 hundreds at an average of 53. He took 40 wickets at an average of 24.

Alex Gidman

County Championship

11 Matches
374 runs at an average of 23 with 2 fifties.

1 appearance in the one day cup. 1 appearance in the t20.

In 2014 Alex scored 1,200 runs, including 4 hundreds, at 45. In 2013 he scored 1,100 runs at 51.


Re-appearing at Nevil Road next year???

When did Dent and Tavare score these runs?

With nothing better to do on a Wednesday evening, the Jessop Tavern put the kettle on and settled down for good statistical analysis.

With 4 championship games of the season left it is quite possible that 3 of Gloucestershire's young batsmen could reach 1,000 runs for the season. Dent, Roderick and Tavare all have over 700 runs, which might not be setting the world on fire, but represents something in their young careers. Both Dent and Tavare have reached 1,000 runs before. Admittedly only once, but in the case of Tavare he has only played one full season, and in the case of Dent…..well, frankly he has the talent to be cruising to 1,000 runs every season and just never has. Roderick has never reached 4 figures in a year.

Tavare is 25, Dent, 24 and Roderick, 23. Could these three form the bedrock of a the Shire's batting for many years to come? And more importantly, when the hell did Dent and Tavare score these runs this year!

Cruise control and radical thinking in the Royal London cup

Three County Championship victories on the bounce. Five consecutive one day cup victories on the skid. It was ever thus down at Nevil Road. Take away Craig Miles' comic long hop to Azhar Mahmood in the T20 and Gloucestershire could really have been laughing this last month. As it is, third in the county championship and a home quarter final in the the one day competition will have to do.

With Maxi Klinger leading the way with two hundreds, Glos powered their way into the quarter finals of the Royal London carnival of poorly scheduled one day cricket. Enjoying some hard earned good fortune, including a truly bizarre last ball win against Derbyshire, the Shire have looked a very competitive outfit in the 50 over format of the game. And this despite managing to carry Kieran 'Gournet Burger' to the tune of 76 runs and one wicket spread across all 8 one day games.

Its good to see a Gloucestershire one day team operating as a unit once again. Whilst Klinger has been the obvious standout there have been vital runs also coming from Gareth Roderick, Benny, Will Tavare and Jack Taylor. Hell, even Geraint Jones has contributed, which means things have been going our way. None of these guys have dominated, but all have made vital contributions at vital times. Similarly the scatter gun group of seamers have all chipped in. All of Fuller, Payne, Miles and Howell have at least 10 wickets apiece.

Such was the Shire's comfort at qualifying for the quarter finals that forward thinking coach Richard Dawson even had time to display his acute cricketing brain by pioneering a completely unseen team selection in Gloucester's final two group matches. Convention would normally state that sides need a level of balance between bat and ball, but Glos threw this to the wind when revolutionising the game with a bold selection of only two batsmen supplement by two wicketkeepers, five bowlers and two other random players that no-one was sure why they were in the team. One wonders what the team talk in both Northants and Surrey's dressing rooms went like. "Get one and we're into the tail", was probably heard emanating from the dressing room at some point, although only once the laughter had died down.

Admittedly, this team selection was forced upon Glos by injuries. But its not a great sign if two batsmen go down and you have no one else to call on. The academy has been pretty productive at producing bowlers, but it would be interesting to know if any young batsmen are floating about. The Jessop Tavern was scratching around trying to find Kadeer Ali's number at one point.

Can Gloucestershire progress any further? Well, the Jessop Tavern's glass has never known to be half full, but if both Klinger and O'Mish can recover from injuries then they will fancy their chances.

Tickets for Lords anyone!?

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Glos triumph despite lack of obvious batsmen

Gloucestershire 416 (Marshall 70, Meschede 4-89) and 108 for 3 (Dent 65*) beat Glamorgan 299 (Salter 73, Payne 4-73) and 224 (Ingram 45, Payne 4-50) by seven wickets

The 'shire interrupted their 50 over winning run for a trip down to Swansea to face 3rd placed Glamorgan at their festival ground. This was a tricky fixture, especially as injuries left the boys without much in the way of batting firepower. Ian Cockbain and Klinger both missed out through knocks and O'Mish only played after being summoned from Bristol after Craig Miles pulled up injured on the eve of the match.

This proved a handy move however, as the Irishman struck a useful 70 in Glos' first innings in partnership with all round genius and newly-promoted number 4 batsman Benny Howell (67). Their partnership was the stand out of the entire match and again the only one above 100 on either side. Which doesn't paint Division 2 batting in a favourable light, but there you are.

Glos were in the field after losing the toss and quickly struck early blows through Payne and Norwell, before Jacques Rudolph settled in for a patient 68. Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals, before an excellent couple of partnerships involving Adam Salter saw Glamorgan rebuild from 186-8. Luckily enough he failed to add to his 73 on the second morning and we polished them off for a below par 299, with Payne impressing with 4-79. A six man bowling attack with Gourmet-Burger at first change and Benny Howell fourth seamer held up well, with both spinners returning economical figures, too.

Dent (11) fell typically early in our response, as did Roderick for 19 although acting skipper Will Tavare did better, posting 47 before falling to off spinner Salter. Then came the Marshall-Howell partnership and the lower order also delivered invaluable runs- taking us to 416 all out from 262-6.

Day 3 saw another excellent team bowling effort, with Glamorgan again failing to build meaningful partnerships on the way to 224 all out. Payne added 4 more to his tally for 8 wickets in the match and even Noema-Barnett chipped in with 3 of his own. Norwell took out the dangerous Chris Cooke, breaking a handy partnership with Ingram and had the last wicket not added 59 then the game could have finished inside 3 days.

As it was, Glos finished things off with ease on the final day, despite a worrying rain delay which saw 15 overs lost before lunch. Chris Dent recovered a semblance of 4 day form with 65 not out and we cruised to victory inside 40 overs, for an impressive third win on the trot and 23 points.

The win has lifted the 'Shire to 4th in the table (albeit level on points with Northants) and was especially impressive given the limited batting resources available. Well done lads, now back to the 50 over stuff before we face Surrey at Nevil Road on the 21st August.

Video highlights of a cracking win below

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Monday, 10 August 2015

Championship review: Glos on the rise after consecutive wins

Regular readers will know that much like our beloved 'Shire, the Jessop Tavern View typically begins to slow down and lose interest in the season around this time of year. Results have begun to slide, key players are injured or out of form and our early season enthusiasm seems misplaced. What to make of the current situation then, with the boys already qualified for a 50 over quarter final and three wins on the bounce in the Championship leaving us handily place for a promotion push?

The Glamorgan game was so remarkable that it gets its own post, but first here's a brief summary of the festival games at Cheltenham last month. First up were Northants, who were dismantled inside two days, after a brutal career-best knock from Jack Taylor.

Gloucestershire 372 (Taylor 156*, Stone 4-91, Kleinveldt 4-129) and 38 for 1 beat Northamptonshire 246 (Wakely 104, Norwell 6-41) and 160 (Levi 64, Miles 5-28) by 9 wickets

This game was crazy: 4 innings inside 2 days and an easy Glos victory completed from the unpromising position of 108-6 on first innings. On Day 1 Liam Norwell took an excellent 6-41 as we bowled Northants out for 246. Glos then reached 82-4 by the close, before losing two cheap wickets to leave us well behind. Then Taylor game in and turned the game on its head, with stands of 113 with Howell and 104 with Miles on the way to a career-best 156* from just 125 balls. The last 4 wickets put on 264, a magnificent effort in the circumstances.

Then Miles got to work with the ball as well, ripping through the fragile top order alongside Fuller, to leave them 18-4. The whole seam attack contributed as Northants were skittled for 160, with Miles starring with 5-28 and only Levi (67) and Kleinvedlt (37) topping 20.

This left us 35 to win before the close of the second day and we knocked them off for the loss of just Dent. 23 points and our third Championship win of the season in remarkable circumstances.

Video highlights of the carnage below:

Day 1

Day 2

Gloucestershire 218 (Roderick 61, McKay 5-59) and 321 (Howell 102, Noema-Barnett 61, Klinger 60, Shreck 5-82) beat Leicestershire 215 (Cosgrove 74, Fuller 4-35) and 169 (Miles 3-27) by 155 runs

The Cheltenham festival concluded with another convincing  20 point win over bottom feeders Leicestershire. This was a more normal match, albeit one marked by a decisive 3rd innings partnership between hitherto run-shy pair Benny the Frenchman and Kieran Gourmet-Burger.

The pair put on a crucial 139 for the 5th wicket, comfortably the highest of the match, as Glos recovered from a disappointing first innings batting performance to post 321 on second innings and set the visitors 325 to win. Howell struck his maiden first class century (and first 4 day score over 50 this season) and the Kiwi hit 61, also his first 50 for the 'Shire before falling to Charlie Shreck. Michael Klinger continued his profitable run of form with 60 as injured skipper Cockbain 'runs' were barely missed.

The target was always likely to be too many for a poor Leicestershire side and so it proved once Miles dispatched Angus Robson and Ned Eckersley from consecutive deliveries and with just 20 on the board. The rest of the way was a team effort, with Fuller's 4-35 the pick and even the mighty Kiwi accounting for Matt Boyce. The win was completed just before tea on the final day, when Norwell got into the act by having Clint McKay caught behind to send Leics to their 8th loss of the season.

Video highlights below:
Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Final T20 group stage roundup: So many matches, so little interest

We'll keep it brief, with the exception of the Surrey match below, as Glos didn't ultimately qualify after a bad spell in the middle games cost us valuable ground on the leaders.

However, both halves of the The Jessop Tavern View were present at the Oval for one of our rare live county watching outings back on July 1st, and that game gets its own post.

July 3rd
Gloucestershire 178 for 2 (Marshall 93, Klinger 58) beat Somerset 174 for 6 (Ronchi 49) by eight wickets

A fine 93 from O'Mish saw the 'shire to a comfortable win in the cider derby. The only disappointment was that the Irishman failed to complete his ton. Klinger update: 58 more = 578 from 9 innings.

Video highlights below

July 12th
Kent 170 for 7 (Blake 59*, Northeast 49, Miles 3-27) beat Gloucestershire 166 for 7 (Klinger 75, Claydon 3-27) by three wickets

First Cheltenham T20. Alex Blake hits violent 59* as group leaders Kent (rare to hear those words in association with them) qualify after a three wicket win. Glos struggling to make the quarters at this point, Klinger update: 75 more = 653 from 10 innings @ 108.

Video highlights below

July 14th
Gloucestershire 117 for 5 (Jones 40) beat Hampshire 116 (Miles 3-25) by five wickets 

Second Cheltenham T20. GO Jones rolls back the years on his 39th birthday, after announcing his retirement at the end of the season a few days prior. Glos collapse to 44-4 chasing just 116 after Miles 3-fer, but the Welshman steadies the ship with 40 from 30 balls. QF hopes depends on favourable results in final group game v Glamorgan. Klinger update: Horrible failure as bowled for a duck by Jackson 'Dickie' Bird. 653 from 11.

Post-match video with Benny the Frenchman 

July 24th
Gloucestershire 51 for 2 (Dent 28*) beat Glamorgan 45 for 1 by eight wickets
Comedy 5 over thrash after epic rain sees easy 'shire win. Essex qualify for quarters at Glamorgan's expense. Glos bowl incredibly well, despite 17 run opening over. A Fuller maiden (!) and Howell 1 run over restrict them to 45. Dent shows rare T20 promise, finishing with a six in an unbeaten 28 in Glos chase of 46.

Shire fail to qualify as most of other fixtures around country rained off. Debate around whether Friday night T20 works continues to rage online. Klinger update: caught for 1, 654 from 12 innings @81, competition's leading run scorer in group stages.

Video with the great man below: