1 more game to go until the marathon Friends Life T20 group stage ends and the Glamorgan Dragons are left to mull another failed bid to reach the Finals Day jamboree. Six matches squeezed into the last 10 days; most of them producing the same, consistent outcome: “… beat Glamorgan by …”
And so it was to be: Surrey (1 July, 18 runs); Kent (3 July, five wickets); Somerset (5 July, five wickets); Sussex (7 July, four wickets); Essex (8 July, five wickets) – I see a pattern. There was cause for cheer with the 10-wicket win against Gloucestershire Gladiators. In fact, it wasn’t a win – it was a ruddy great mauling.
I won’t even start to indulge in Arul Suppiah’s world record haul of six wickets at the expense of five runs for Somerset. Nor Tim Southee’s hattrick for Essex…
I make it that six out of the nine T20 defeats this season have followed a pattern; one that was alluded to above. It has three elements: Dragons bat first and post a score probably 20 runs below par (ish); bowlers put in brave effort to defend that low target; opponents eventually go on to win the game in the final over.
If I were a braver soul with my money, I might have considered seeing what odds I’d get for that against Gloucestershire on 15 July. Mind you, after making a hash of the last encounter, I’m wondering whether I should expect the Dragons to do a win thing on Friday. Either way, Saturday is the start of the rest of the season.
Not for the first time, I write amid the Dragons’ best efforts to naff it up against a team that took the wooden spoon last year – Derbyshire. Before the game started, Glamorgan sat in fourth on the brink of triple figures in the points column. But it is looking like a battle for the last of two promotion spots in the four-day game.
The last couple of seasons have been nail-biters to the end, specifically to do with the search for promotion to Division One of the County Championship. But there is a part of me that fears this campaign might peter out into mediocrity before we reach that point – or is this just a natural sentiment for a Glamorgan fan?
Entering a crucial period for the Dragons, the second half of July will allow us to know if promotion is still a possibility in the County Championship and whether qualification from the Clydesdale 40 Group Stage is achievable. The issue is that I’m not sure if my glass half full, half empty, or filled with an end-of-barrel lager.
ADDENDUM: It seems that I had got ahead of myself and not put faith in Mark Wallace and Lord Jim of Allenby to turn things around against Derbyshire. The prospect of a first innings lead was a small one… but it is a “funny ol’ game” and other assorted clichés badda bing badda boom.
At this time, all three outcomes are possible and it seems likely that there will be a winner. Stopping the hosts getting much of a lead now is imperative.