Monthly Archives: April 2011

Diary of a Glamorgan Fan (Aged 25 1/2) #3

Bricklayer

Huw Waters has an unorthodox approach to taking guard. But it seems to work for him...

65 – It would have been easy to go with 123 as the latest magic number, given the amount of times that Tom Maynard plunged a dagger through my heart with that inevitable century-on-first- return-to-former-county-that-shafted-his-father-last-winter. But let’s be positive with the magic number – yes, that’s right: Michael Powell is up and running!

Yep, that’s right. This latest magic number is the number of runs that Mikey P hit in Glamorgan’s follow-on. After Surrey piled on the runs in the first innings, on a pitch that appeared to favour those who got themselves in, my fear levels reached highs normally associated with there being a wasp being in the room.

The Dragons were all out without avoiding the follow on, but there were one/two and maybe even three high points of that 395. The First: Surrey weren’t all out – the accumulation of batting bonus points helped supplement the first instance of the season where a full haul of bowling bonus points was not attained. Whoop!

The Second: Huw Waters invoked the spirit of Chelmsford 2007 after coming in as night-watchman. A carefully constructed 54 off 1,185,956 deliveries meant the visitors were kept at bay as Mark Wallace, Graham Wagg and James Harris came in to add valuable runs in the unseasonal Cardiff heat.

And the Third? Hmmm… might have been pushing that one.

Still 180 adrift when embarking the follow on is never a position that Glamorgan supporters sit well with. Especially being one game after a first morning collapse against Gloucestershire. But Gareth Rees and Powell himself lumped on the runs in an otherwise unremarkable batting card… the draw leaves the Dragons third.

If we could leave it there, I’d be a much more satisfied man with matters. But the Clydesdale 40 started this weekend. SIGH. The first limited overs collapse of the summer didn’t take long in coming, but the Dragons managed to drag their score towards the 200 mark thanks largely to Stewart Walters’ 79.

The next highest score was Ben Wright on 25. Just to give you an example of that gulf in class. Anchored by Alex Gidman’s 60-odd, Gloucestershire saw off a small wobble to come home by three wickets with 15 balls remaining. The rationale for making those sweeping personnel changes already being undermined there…

Next up for the Dragons is a four-day game at Chelmsford versus a team who has already gifted Middlesex a win this year… how hard can it possibly be? Especially when we’ve got Huw Waters. Although Glamorgan are yet to win this season with Jim Allenby absent. Oh my. So many variables. My brain hurts…

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“I’ll Believe It When ICC It…”

International Cricket Council (ICC) president Sharad Pawar has asked the suits on the organisation’s executive committee to re-examine the rather self-serving decision to lock out the Associate teams from the 2015 World Cup by limiting it to just the 10 Full Member nations, which includes the world’s top nine and #11.

“Great” may be the initial opinion, but after the “thank Jim Allenby for that” has subsided, I am left with an unnerving sensation of “yet-to-be-convinced-itis”. I’ll probably throw myself into a low mood by admitting, but I think I am old beyond my years, for my cynicism is lurking at the back of the mind and it won’t go away.

I sincerely hope that the executive committee will rethink, do a U-turn and come back towards what appeared to be a general consensus in favour of at least giving the likes of Ireland, the Netherlands et al a chance. But is Pawar’s announcement merely creating an illusion that ICC wants to be seen to be doing something?

When the committee meet in the global cricketing hotbed of Hong Kong in June, what’s to say that the same decision won’t be reached again… but drawn-out over two or three weeks. That way, it’d look like members had been so wrought with a very real sense of consternation. I warned you I was cynical.

Coming away from that dark land of mistrust, maybe ICC has been ‘encouraged’ to introduce the notion of hope back to the ‘minnows’. I’m no logistical expert – but is it so hard to have a four-way qualification tournament in the week before a World Cup? An eight-way qualification tournament might just be a bit too much.

It’s in ICC’s interest to re-consider this issue. Many cricket fans would come back onside after the initial disquiet, and a generation of Associate cricketers will have something to aspire to beyond a quick Twenty20 slash-and-burn. Then there is a rather uncomfortable suggestion of legal action if the shop remains closed.

Will the Associates get that renewed hope of competing in the 2015 World Cup? Well, as I’ve suggested, I’ll believe it when ICC it…

Diary of a Glamorgan Fan (Aged 25 1/2) #2

John Lewis, Cardiff

Cardiff already has one John Lewis, thanks...

1 is the next exciting magic number in a series that scarcely deserves mention. It could well be the number of batsmen that Gloucestershire were deficient, after a broken finger kept Chris Dent from taking guard in either innings. But it isn’t. It is actually in honour of that first batting bonus point of the year. We’re away…

The 189-run victory, which gets this summer’s County Championship campaign up and running, was as imperious as it was remarkable. For Glamorgan have an irritating tendency to flirt with the hopelessly inept at times. Times like the first day, when Jim Allenby’s wicket left the scoreboard showing a bemused 54/6.

Ben Wright earned his cap in this game and responded by rebuilding Glammy’s shattered innings with 83. Together with Graham Wagg – who half-tonned it up, the pair helped the hosts creep over the bonus point threshold. Given the speed at which the changing room door was revolving earlier in the day, I’ll take that.

I certainly wouldn’t swap it for Gloucestershire’s card, after both James Harris and Adam Shantry helping themselves to wickets – the former taking five. Oh. I forgot to mention St Jim of the Taff End also marked his return with the wicket of Gidman. The title stays, even if he bowled at the Cathedral Road End…

And this is where the frustration surfaces. With a slender lead of 14, Glamorgan then found their batting form. Gareth Rees finally clocking up a 50, and a hearty 63 from Allenby. I can’t help but feel there may be a little seed of doubt over the place of Michael Powell, with 37 runs at 9.25 so far this season. Walters awaits?

After declaring on 370/9, Gloucestershire were slow and steady in pursuit of the victory target. Slow and steady to the point where one random glance at Cricinfo found that the visitors had gone at 0.9 in the previous 10 overs. On what I’d vote to be a most tranquil Sunday, this win didn’t appear obvious in mid-afternoon.

I flounced to the PS3. My frustrations taken out on trying to combat Monaco in a Lotus F1 car. Three re-starts later (and a first place), I returned to Cricinfo. 177/7 were Gloucestershire. And Shantry was on a hattrick. How could I have missed a rare moment when even Alviro was in the wickets? How was I to know…?

With Gloucestershire being a man light, I was able to rest a little easier – safe that a victory was coming. Hallelujah! Messrs Harris and Shantry eventually shared 6 wickets equally between them. Shantry has come back with a vengeance after his injury woes. James Harris has come back from the West Indies…

The opening two games have provided a fair share of frustration that could last a season, albeit expected. But is second innings performances as served up against Gloucestershire that demonstrate ability and temperament in Glammy’s batting. Why it has to wait until days three or four to come to fore, I don’t know.

But it comes in good time. The next opponents at the SWALEC are Surrey. And with that comes the return of T. Maynard. Hmm, that might just be interesting.

Diary of a Glamorgan Fan (Aged 25 1/2) #1

Blank notepad and pen

No batting bonus points then...

89 is the first magic number of the season. That being the amount of runs which separated Leicestershire and Glamorgan after four innings at Grace Road. When many eyes were fixed on the start of the IPL, the believers were transfixed on the events unfolding in various towns and cities across England. I am a believer…

What do I believe in? Firstly, that the lord Jim Allenby was sent from Australia –  some might say a historical precedent – to be the shepherd that led the Glammy flock. There is absolutely NO sheep-related sub-text in that revelation. Any that you find is an abhorrent indictment of you, dear reader. I’m watching you…

Anyway, he didn’t play…

Friday 8 April – I set up camp with a notebook and a biro, poised to count in the bowling bonus points as Glamorgan bowled first. One. Two. Three. This season has started with promise. But I’d not be with notebook and biro for when it was time to bat. It transpired that it wasn’t necessary anyway – None. None. None…

Fast forward two days, for it is the only benevolent means by which the sanity of a Glammy fan can be preserved. There was hope at one stage, and it is hope that normally betrays the Dragons fan. It was 43-5 in Leicestershire’s second innings. Within 24 hours, it was 192-5. The deficit had gone from 143 to 284. Hope gone.

There were some highlights. Skipper Alviro Petersen almost carried his bat in the first innings before a cruel end on 91, and Ben Wright gave a glimpse of his talent in the second. With the ball, Dean Cosker was into his stride early, while Graham Wagg was also among the wickets. Such highlights, however, don’t earn points.

The phrase that sprung to mind early on Monday (11 April) was “copy and paste” – in that you may just be able to copy the Grace Road result and paste it into the remaining County Championship fixtures lined up for the Dragons this summer. I have utter faith in the batting line up. How could you think to the contrary?

Towards the end of last season, the notebook was really busy. There were about four Cricinfo windows open to feed me results as I calculated various outcomes in the promotion race. A race that Glammy the Hare lost to Worcy the Tortoise. I’m not sure I’ll need a notebook by autumn… hope otherwise may just be folly.

Glamorgan – Prologue To History?

Graeme Yorston (chief operating officer, Principality Building Society), Alviro Petersen and Mathew Mott

Image: Huw John

Friday 8 April heralds the long-awaited return of a cherished friend, an absence barely appeased by Ashes glory and the World Cup during the cold winter/early spring days. But the traffic lights light up joint red and amber with anticipation, as green for go on the County Championship season lingers ever-so-teasingly.

If I had a bet with myself that I’d get through this preview without mentioning a winter of upheaval and discontent at the SWALEC, I’d be paying out already. It’s been documented and mocked; analysed and regretted… there simply is nothing more to add. Except that we finally get to see whether change was for the better.

Glamorgan take to the field at Grace Road first up, against a Leicestershire team that – less than a year ago – crumbled to a 10-wicket defeat in a remarkable game where the Dragons conceded a first innings lead of 125. Any chance of a repeat is slim, not least because the dynamic of the batting line-up is radically different.

Last year, Mark Cosgrove gave bowlers a lot to think about, and Gareth Rees some freedom at the other end. Rees averaged a decent 35.95 in 2010, but 2011 is likely to call for an even greater contribution from the southpaw – certainly more than the two centuries that were attained last summer.

Will Bragg looks set to have a chance to stake his claim as a Glamorgan opener before new skipper Alviro Petersen comes in at number three. Bragg bagged a total of 56 runs at 14.0 across four innings in 2011; Petersen is new to the county scene. One of these will need to fill a 1,200-run gap left by Cosgrove. Ominous.

A worry is that the South African will be beckoned from the pavilion with double figures still an ambition. Glamorgan’s thwarted promotion bid last summer was – in part – down to an inability to rack up batting bonus points. Worcestershire in second racked up six more; Middlesex in seventh recorded four more.

Last week’s friendly against Cardiff UCCE didn’t instil much confidence with the bat. Robert Croft is now in his 58th consecutive season but was still needed to ton up in the first innings, while Mark Wallace is never shy of chipping in. But asking the lower middle order perform regular rescue acts is not a way forward.

If the batting card does end up being more miss than hit (literally), Glamorgan is fortunate to have arguably one of the strongest bowling attacks in Division 2. Key man will be James Harris, fresh from a stint on international duty in the West Indies and topping last season’s averages with 63 at 20.52.

But he will be supported by new recruit Graham Wagg, while Huw Waters is coming off the back of figures against Cardiff UCCE that reads 8-4-6-5. Then you have Dean Cosker and the aforementioned – and wily – Croft as the spin twins. Taking 20 wickets won’t be as much a problem as keeping them intact…

There is another man, however, who I am proposing as Glamorgan’s most crucial player this year – Jim Allenby. The all-rounder won’t bowl at Grace Road due to recent surgery, but he is a guy capable of taking a nifty three-fer with the ball (41 at 21.58) or an imperious ton with the bat (933 runs at 44.42).

Oh, and Matthew Mott has finally arrived to lead the coaching side of things. I am inclined to think that he has proved himself in Australian domestic cricket. I am also inclined to think that Glamorgan is an entirely different challenge. But I am yet again inclined to think that he could be a decent acquisition all-told.

The Glamorgan hierarchy wants promotion to Division 1. And it wants improved performances in limited overs competitions. The latter is for another day, for the main business of the LV County Championship is where it is at. Not, as I suspect many will be tempted to focus on, the IPL. BRING ON THE SUMMER!

The A-Z Guide Of… The ICC

Anatomy

"Where exactly are the Netherlands"?

Following on from the relative success (i.e. more than 5 views) of The A-Z Guide of Chokers, turnandbounce now throws itself upon you with the latest offering – Bow heads and pray silence for the I.C.C!

A – Arseholes (Bunch of)
It is only within the capabilities of the faceless, self-serving group of egits at the ICC to simultaneously alienate the fans, players and commentators of the sport it purports to serve. But whatever progress had been made in convincing the world that cricket was open for business has been blown out of the water in some style.

The illogical decision to have a 10-team World Cup in 2015 featuring just the Full Members doesn’t even ensure that the best 10 teams will compete. Ireland – at 10 in the rankings – are not invited while Zimbabwe – yep, 11th – do. Zimbabwe have played as many Tests as Ireland in the last six years. What’s in a status, eh?

But the bottom line is that Associates are excluded. Without so much as a chance to prove themselves otherwise. Hope is a wonderful thing. It is even better when you take it away from an industrious upstart who might show up the Old Guard.

More: http://www.cricketwithballs.com/2011/04/06/god-hates-the-associates-claims-icc/

B-Z – More of the same…