Friday, 3 June 2016

Glos pick themselves up with a super win over Worcestershire

Gloucestershire (364-6 dec and 320-5) beat Worcestershire (439 and 239) by 5 wickets.

The crazy scheduling of English county cricket allowed Gloucestershire to warm up for their up and coming T20 games by blasting 320 from 57 overs in a little over two sessions. In particular, Maxy Klinger and Jack Taylor finished the job with a partnership of 179 in 24 overs. By itself that would be a fairly handy T20 score. Gloucestershire's run chase perfectly illustrated the wonderful cross-over of skills and mentality from T20 to 4 day cricket. Those who view the long and short forms of the game as separate entities should sit back and enjoy such matches.

A see-saw match eventually ended up going Gloucestershire's way after an impressively gutsy declaration from first year skipper Gareth Roderick. On day 1 Glos had actually reduced Worcestershire to 35 for 5 and the fact that Worcestershire then managed to add 400 for their final 5 wickets will be a concern to the coach Dawson. Miles and Shaw both proved expensive, with Miles in particular managing to get flogged for over 7 an over, a distinctly T20 figure that is less welcome in the longer format. Despite the late order butchering by the Worcestershire tail enders the Jessop tavern was encouraged to see a far more exciting and attacking bowling line-up take to the field. The impressive lower order batting of Jack taylor and Craig Miles, backed up by David Payne and Liam Norwell finally allowed Glos to have the confidence to ditch the bits and pieces role of Gourmet-Burger and Benny Howell. Instead Taylor was promoted to bat at 7 and Miles was given the important role of contributing runs at number 8. Both decisions would be fully vindicated.

In reply to Worcestershire's first innings total Glos put themselves into a strong position thanks mainly to a magnificent 172 from Graeme 'Jacques' Van Buuren in only his second match for the Shire. Having made a match winning contribution with the ball in his first game, the new Jacques looks like a very handy signing. He was also ably assisted by runs from the skipper at the top of the order, and then an unbroken stand of 134 with new number 8 Craig Miles. Miles making an important 60 not out to justify his promotion. This sudden maturity of the bowling unit into being a very handy lower order batting combination has been one of the real stand out finds for the Shire in 2016. Full praise to the guys and the coaching team for this transformation.

Poised at 364 for 6 at lunch on day 3 the game was still in the balance. Given that this is still only the second month of the season logic would dictate that Glos attempt to bat themselves into a position where only they could win. The Jessop Tavern certainly thought so. Get the scores level by tea. Then have a bit of a blast with what batting remains in the hope of building a lead of 50 plus. From that position you then hope you can run through the opposition setting up a short run chase late on the fourth day. Given the relative solid position in the table that is certainly the way you would have expected Glos to go at lunch on day 3. It is thus to their enormous credit that Roderick and the coaches decided to declare whilst still 75 runs behind. The declaration showed an enormous statement of confidence in the bowlers to get the job done and showcased that Gloucestershire are serious about pushing for promotion in the championship.

The plan worked magnificently. Craig Miles went from Jekyll to Hyde and ran in hard to take 5 for 54. Liam Norwell backed him up with 4 for 70 and Glos were suddenly chasing a fairly daunting 315 to win on a miserable overcast afternoon. Roderick and the new Jacques got the show on the road with enterprising knocks of 30 and 42 respectively, but when George Hankins was LBW with the scoreboard reading 141 for 5 Gloucestershire gutsy declaration looked poised to backfire. Again, logic would say that requiring another 174 runs, and with only the tail for support, Glos would look to shut up shop. Worcestershire would certainly have hoped so. Maxy Klinger and Jack Taylor thought otherwise. 179 runs and only 24 over later it was all done and dusted. Klinger blasted Brett D'Oliveria for another 6 and walked off undefeated on 102 from 141 balls. At the other end Jack Taylor presumably looked a bit disappointed that the fun had to end. Taylor ending up on 107 from only 72 balls. Such was the extent of the destruction that 10 overs were still left to be bowled.

It has been a fun last month for Gloucestershire fans. A dramatic late afternoon bowling display to beat Glamorgan was then followed by the disappointment of not being able to take 7 wickets to defeat Northants on the final day of play. And now this victory. In that time Glos have ditched the conservative and welcomed in an aggressive new lineup. They discovered the new Jacques Kallis as well as seen the second coming of Lock and Laker, with our spin twins tweaking Glos to victory against Glamorgan. Oh, and Maxy Klinger has returned, walking off the plane and strutting around like it is 2015 with back to back hundreds. In 3 innings Klinger has 250 runs at an average of 125.

Incredibly, as the T20 Blast ruins everyone's fun with another round of matches, Gloucestershire now sit second in the table. Is the fun just getting started?

Day 4 highlights:

Day 3 highlights:

Day 2 highlights:

Day 1 highlights:

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