Promotion to Division One? A first County Championship title since 1934? No… the ultimate accolade won on the last day of the 2011 season went to Glamorgan, defeating Kent in the Canterbury twilight with a pink ball. There are no trophies, but the honour of finishing sixth in Division Two. You can’t buy that kinda glory…
It concluded a disappointing campaign on a high note, that much is true. Gareth Griffiths has already provided a very astute post mortem for Wales on Sunday – the link can be found here. And naturally, the first thought that springs to mind is whether the winter upheaval was worth the public fall-out.
Glamorgan finish the season and start the pre-season break, effectively, with just one of the senior personnel still in his original role – chief executive Alan Hamer. Captain, coach, president and chairman have all altered in the past year, with the latter arguably being the odd one out and not related to the others.
For two successive seasons, Glamorgan narrowly missed out on promotion to the first division of the LV County Championship. Any ambition of “third time lucky” was unceremoniously neutered more than a month before the last day. It was the ungratifying price to pay for the changes designed to improve the Dragons’ limited overs form.
There was a little encouragement in the CB40, with an increase in the number of games won. But only slightly, with a defeat to the Unicorns and another unhappy showing in the Friends Life T20 making you ask if Glamorgan had only served to throw the baby out with the bathwater as the club’s landscape changed last year?
Where did it go wrong?
Before the season, I was concerned there wouldn’t be enough quality with the bat and that runs would not be easily acquired – due mainly to Mark Cosgrove being ousted as overseas player. However, I was much more confident about the ability of the bowlers to take 20 wickets in a four-day context.
Well, the final table makes me look a bit of a chump there. Glamorgan scored the third highest tally of batting points (44, behind Northants and Middlesex), while only bottom side Leicestershire scored less bowling points. I’m not sure that I’m altogether in the wrong though…
Glamorgan’s bowling attack was beset by injuries throughout the campaign. Not just front-line bowlers like James Harris and Graham Wagg (particularly early in the season), but able deputies such as Jim Allenby. And not forgetting that Adam Shantry and David Harrison both called time on their careers in 2011.
Dean Cosker fell one wicket short of 50 for the season, but times must have been tough if Gareth Rees was seen to open the bowling during the Friends Life T20.
With the bat, three scored more than 1,000 runs: skipper Alviro Petersen, young ‘un William Bragg and captain-elect Mark Wallace. Stewart Walters was the only to average more than 50, but he featured in half the number of innings than each of the three to pass 1,000. Gareth Rees was next nearest to 1,000 with 954 runs.
Statistically, the batting in County Championship games was fairly good, but the totals scored in limited overs games wasn’t quite enough on many occasions. The result would be, aside from a defeat, the wonder of what might had been if 10/20 more had been scored. (See also: Hampshire away, Friends Life T20)
Anyway, we’re seven months away from the start of the 2012 season and it’s time in which Matthew Mott can firmly shape the team in his image – you might call it an improvement on the limited time he had before the 2011 season. And already there have been announcements regarding personnel.
Marcus North comes in on a two-year deal, while a number of players have been retained. Nick James and Stewart Walters are two that can surely count on more game time next season after impressing in the opportunities that came their way – particularly during the latter stages of the 2011 campaign.
Simon Jones has been touted for a return, with his loan spell earlier this summer showing that the paceman still had much to offer the Dragons. Particularly when you consider how experience can rub off on the new generation of seamers. Mark Cosgrove’s return for the T20s wouldn’t go amiss either.
He’d be playing for a newly-branded team, however, with Glamorgan Dragons to make way for the Welsh Dragons. Cricketing gods reacted to this change of name by requiring the Dragons to beat 2011’s CB40 champions, runners-up and one of the two other semi-finalists to qualify from the group stage of next year’s event.
Not that I probably have much cause for complaint. I’m not Welsh – those of you who are might like the change. But if we’re talking name changes, why not chase some insurance sponsorship and change the four-day name to Gla-morethan? I jest, of course… and a rose by another name still smells like a daffodil, right?
I mean, I still call it Sophia Gardens… (who doesn’t?)