Sunday, 17 April 2016

Lack of bowling depth starting to look like a real issue

Gloucestershire v Derbyshire, County Championship Div 2.
Derbyshire won the toss and elected to bat.
Day 1: Derbyshire 242 - 3. (Norwell 2 for 55)

The World T20 excitement feels a long time ago after a fairly turgid day of attritional cricket at the Brightside. Gloucestershire's inexperienced attack bowled tightly. Derbyshire's batsmen, in their first knock of the season, weren't to be lulled in and quickly realised that tight line and length is less of a threat without wicket-taking deliveries.

Liam Norwell, continuing to lead the attack, was the most threatening, and ended the day with two hard-earned wickets.  Payne, Shaw, Gourmet-Burger and Taylor all kept control of things and the plan will be that early wickets on day 2 will allow Glos to restrict Derbyshire to around 300. Having managed a similar escape against Essex this isn't completely beyond the realms of possibility.

The Shire's squad continues to be a point of major concern. Benny batting at 6 always makes the batting look a shade too thin, particularly when Klinger isn't one of the men ahead of him. The bowling also looks strained with young Josh Shaw as first change with only Benny, Gourmet and Jack Taylor to pick up the strain. Any team turning up to play a Gloucestershire side containing both Benny and Gourmet-Burger must surely be licking its lips.

Benny made a very definite step forward last season and we continue to enjoy his angry Twitter posts aimed at both us and various other people who dare to voice an opinion questioning the club's decisions. However, Gourmet-Burger is still to show us anything that suggests he isn't doing anything other than filling Mark Hardinges' much missed demonstrations of what village cricketers look like when placed into first class matches.

Glos still have Craig Miles to walk back into the side when fully fit. Beyond that there is very little else and in essence Glos have entered the 2016 season with a bowling attack that has to play every game. Over the last 2 years this bowling squad has lost Will Gidman and James Fuller without seemingly replacing them. Admittedly the club will argue that Norwell, Payne and Miles are now able to take on the extra responsibility.

But this isn't the concern. We like all 3 of these guys and think they all can do a very good job in division 2. The concern is that there is no one backing them up and thus we are reliant on them staying fully fit. And not of them have good fitness records. Maybe Josh Shaw will have a real breakthrough season whilst on loan with us. Maybe Gourmet will take 30 plus wickets. Maybe. We will see. It would be handy if they started tomorrow.

Day 1 highlights

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