Category Archives: Ben Wright

The Only Way Is Up

The only way is up for Glamorgan. We could split hairs and admit that, actually, the Dragons aren’t bottom of the table in the embryonic stages of the campaign. But based on three results alone, Things Can Only Get Better – and if you can’t hear D:Ream playing at the back of your mind right now, you’re not trying…

The margins of defeat have been 52 runs, 130 runs and two wickets in that order. It’s tempting to jump in with an ill-conceived rant when things aren’t going well, but you can end up looking stupid. Just ask Tottenham fans when the gap between them and Arsenal was 10 points in their favour not so long ago.

But enough about football. It’s the cricket season, right?

A recurring theme so far this season for Glamorgan has been the inability to put runs on the board. Marcus North is currently the most anticipated Welsh arrival since Brunel brought the railway to town. And I’m pretty sure no-one was saying that as Australia came to the SWALEC Stadium for the 1st Ashes Test in 2009.

With a first-class average of more than 40, these are runs that Glammy are quite desperate to get their hands on. I am probably not alone in hoping that when he does file into the ranks, it will be like a shot in the arm for the Dragons’ batting. I wouldn’t even be surprised if he kick-started the UK economy while at it…

Of course, North probably isn’t the Saviour of all things Glamorgan as he is just one man, but his delayed arrival – for entirely understandable reasons – and the decision by Alviro Petersen not to return this year left the Dragons in a little bit of a pickle and evidently more so in the batting department than anywhere else.

Glamorgan’s six opening stands have accounted for a combined total of 112 runs so far this season. Take out the 59-run partnership in the second digs at home to Derbyshire, and you don’t need to be an Einsteiny-type chap to see how the total  falls short of Ben Wright’s second innings individual score against Hampshire.

However, it is that second innings against Hampshire that offers that hope. I’d quantify it if I could put my finger on it. Perhaps it’s an unconditional thing; an indictment of how a love of sport can impel you to think irrationally; positively; triumphantly – even when the stats conspire to paint the gloomiest of pictures.

That first win is out there for Glamorgan. It’s just about finding it now…

Glamorgan – The 12 Innings Of Christmas (2011, Pt.2)

Ben Wright, 83 (vs Gloucestershire)
LV County Championship Div.2 | The Swalec Stadium, Cardiff |

14 April 2011

Ben Wright

Wright pulled the Dragons out of the mire

Glamorgan’s first home game and first win of the 2011 season didn’t exactly start out in a promising manner. Things rarely do look good when an opener is out for nought with the second ball of the match, but oh well Gareth Rees. Within 9.1 overs, the Dragons were 20/3 and it was a fresh case of “oh b*llocks”.

Skipper Alviro Petersen had been the symbol of defiance in the first innings up at Leicestershire, where everyone else fell. But even he couldn’t resist the lure of the changing room, trapped in front by Liam Norwell for 6. If anyone would stop this latest procession, I wouldn’t have necessarily wagered on it being Ben Wright.

I’m usually proven wrong in virtually all such circumstances. Wright stayed in as Jim Allenby, Mike Powell and Mark Wallace were also liberated of their wickets – and added 138 with Graham Wagg for the seventh wicket. It wasn’t quite enough the safeguard the direction of the game at that stage, but it was needed.

Wright’s 83 came off a brisk-enough 94 deliveries before being cleaned up by Ian Saxelby. Glamorgan barely made it past the 200 mark after that, but still secured a first innings lead. And a much improved second innings ultimately led to a nice 189-run win – but much was owed to the platform Wright provided on day one.

Diary of a Glamorgan Fan (Aged 25 5/8) #8

Mark Cosgrove at Richmond115 deliveries and it was all over for the Middlesex Panthers. With just five more to face before they could retreat to the safety of the Richmond dressing rooms for the innings break, the hosts could take no more against Glamorgan. In returning all out for 102, Middlesex recorded their lowest ever Twenty20 score.

It was a torturous innings, particularly once the openers departed. Paul Stirling’s six into the scoreboard – after three deliveries – was to be only of the day. And the departure of Chris Rogers for 30 induced the death throes of Middlesex at 58/3. From then, the Dragons twirled the Panthers into a bit of a spin.

Dean Cosker and Robert Croft took three a-piece; Cosker with 3-11 off his overs. Meanwhile, Alviro Petersen chipped in with Tim Murtagh’s wicket and Graham Wagg turned to spin in his second stint and claimed a second scalp. It was to be the Dragons’ to lose – but if anyone is capable…

Initially I feared for planes descending over the ground into Heathrow Airport – if Mark Cosgrove got hold of a bad ball, who knows what could have happened. Therefore, perhaps Cossie meant to give up his wicket with the first delivery of the reply for the sake of air traffic passing overhead…

It was left to an assured Alviro Petersen to rebuild the innings from there. Jim Allenby played a rotten shot to get out, while I completely missed Ben Wright’s departure as it was quite warm and the Guinness was calling. Then the skipper was out… oh my, surely Glammy aren’t really going to throw this away.

I should do better than to distrust Mark Wallace. In the situation, his knock of 40 was quite imperious as another two wickets fell before the Dragons reached the safety of the victory target. Sitting square to the wicket game no idea of how the pitch was playing, but something must’ve been amiss.

(Although I continue to be intrigued as to how a sub-standard pitch reduces the professionals to the ability of… well, utter rank amateurs like me…)

It was the third victory against Middlesex this season for the Dragons, something that appears to becoming a habit. It also offered some momentum for the visit of the reigning Friends Life T20 champions – Hampshire – too. However, I think the game was a bit of a side attraction to the SWALEC’s Welsh Night.

Just one over could be squeezed in – Hampshire 5/0 off the first – before rain did a boo-boo and washed out the game. Incey Wincey Spider’s whereabouts are also unknown. He certainly wasn’t to be seen when the sun came out and enabled the game against Essex to go ahead last night (21 June).

After scratching around in vain for a) whether S4C was on Virgin Media and b) if it would be showing the game, despair took over. Sky Sports was plonked on, and any old T20 would’ve sufficed. If I’d had bothered to do research, it wouldn’t be a surprise to find Glamorgan and Essex on my screen. And yet it was.

Corporal Jones

Simon's new look was a bit strange -
but at least the hat helped with catching

It was the first time in a couple of years that Simon Jones had turned out in the majestic red of Glamorgan. Mind you, I don’t actually think it was red when he last turned out for the Dragons. It might have been some blue concoction. Either way, if it is considered a debut to be judged, it wasn’t far off the Jonathan Woodgate/Real Madrid standard.

In 2005, Jones dropped Brett Lee down at third man in the second Ashes Test – it nearly cost England victory against Australia. In an unfortunate flashback to that nearly-fateful moment, Jones dropped Shah in the deep with Essex needing five. Mind you, it wasn’t as bad as Ben Wright’s drop earlier. EPIC SIGH.

You and me both know that this latest defeat could have just ended Glamorgan’s hopes of getting out of the group stage. But then again, there are still 1,584 group games left and therefore the possibility lives on. Like The Bill did after it cut Reg Hollis and Tony Stamp from the cast… and look how that ended up.

Finally, England’s series win against Sri Lanka owes much to that result in Cardiff. Funny how it all works out. What’s going on with that dodgy pitch at HQ too? 23 wickets in a day. Tsk. Straussy would have taken that a week or so ago…

Diary of a Glamorgan Fan (Aged 25 1/2) #7

Rain and Swan

Insert your own Graeme Swann joke

7 is, as you have probably noticed, the number of this instalment. It didn’t occur to me when I came to muse on the last… ELEVEN DAYS?! How tardy. Yet that isn’t why this reminisci-rant being brought to you by the figure 7. It is, rather, the number of overs before the end of play that I left the Test match.

This was Saturday, I should point out. Not Monday. I’m not so foolish as to leave when Sri Lanka were on the verge of an epic collapse and one that would grant a disbelieving home “crowd” the sight of an England win. However, I am certainly feeling foolish for rushing to buy my tickets six months ago.

Having forgone the opportunity to see Stevenage win promotion to League One at Old Trafford, a morning spent underneath the SWALEC’s grandstand wasn’t exactly an effective use of my time – there’s only so much you can do with a 4/6 card. And I couldn’t lay my hands on an npower hand. But I did get a flag. Hmm.

Better people than me (i.e. Michael Atherton) have since suggested that perhaps drizzle needn’t cause play to be postponed, so no point indulging in that further. But after the action commenced, the wicket of James Anderson was all that was offered before Alistair Cook and Jonathan Trott completed their centuries.

Leaving early was no real matter of debate. The Champions League final was on the horizon. And there was a space in Dempsey’s waiting. That choice then took me on a collision path with The Two Chucks. I’m not sure if my theory on where ‘lamb shank’ originated was requested, but I offered it anyway. They took it.

That all said (I am a frightful cynic on occasion), I hope that when Cardiff stages its next Test match, the ECB have the good grace to award a June/July fixture. I can vouch for the ‘Diff’s weather at that time of year. And getting to South Wales from London costs me less than a ticket from Stevenage to London. British Rail.

And what of the mighty Glamorgan Dragons. Well, it took them half a century to win at Lord’s. Now they have two in two seasons. It was a crushing one too. Nine wickets, with Gareth Rees failing to stick around in the game’s death throes. But the damage was done in the first innings as Middlesex wilted to 150 all out.

James Harris was a driving force, trapping the England captain in front and with a delivery that screamed “PICK ME, PICK ME, PICK ME (in future, at least)”. In response, Ben Wright’s ton anchored a mahoooooosive 522. The hosts rallied on their second outing, but left Glamorgan only needing 20-odd.

Moving across London to the Kia Picanto, another full haul of batting points saw the Dragons pile on 419 – Alviro Petersen bagging a double hundred and Michael Powell left agonisingly short on 99 after he chopped on to Jordan. The hosts saw off the threat of a follow-on, but were still eventually bundled out for 284.

Rain interrupted proceedings somewhat, but not enough to prevent Gareth Rees getting in on the century action in the 259-4 that the Dragons declared on to try and force a result. It wasn’t forthcoming though. Surrey’s openers put on 150 and made it through to the close of play with the loss of just one wicket. Momentum.

Momentum indeed. It appears to have turned on Glamorgan. Northamptonshire were unfazed in their first innings of the third LVCC2 match of the last couple of weeks. Injuries are piling up and the Dragons current three-man pace attack are all of ’88 vintage – one year before Robert Croft made his first class debut.

That’s no excuse for today’s implosion though. What’s 28 short of 100? A dismal failure. The steady hands of Jim Allenby were most definitely missing today as a Glamorgan batsman came, saw, got out. Ten times. Some things you can rely on – the Dragons are always capable of a collapse; Cardiff is always capable of rain…

Diary of a Glamorgan Fan (Aged 25 1/2) #4

Royal Wedding

And there's the declaration...

10 – I think you’ll agree that welcoming a defeat with relief and a sordid sense of joy is somewhat unusual, but if you consider that a 10-run defeat to Somerset in the Clydesdale Bank 40 is 25 times better than the outcome of last year’s match, you might just see where I’m coming from. Yes. Literally 25 times better.

Had the rain not arrived, however, I dread to think what the damage could have been inflicted on the Dragons. Somerset were trundling along nicely at 200-odd for the loss of just two men. With 10 overs left. A score of more than 300 looked ominously likely. It doesn’t do me well to think about how much more than…

But you can only chase what Vera Duckworth and our Lewis put before you, and it was nearly a successful chase; Wright, Allenby and Rees the main protagonists in getting the Dragons to within 10 runs of the 196 needed in 19 overs. But it still leaves Glamorgan win-less in the CB40 so far this year.

And it came after Ravi Bopara and Matt Walker defied the prospects to guide the hosts Essex to a six-wicket win in the latest County Championship game. Having assumed that the win was a likely outcome for the Dragons, I watched the bloody wedding and went on holiday. If you want something doing…

It’s not the worst start to the season, certainly. Yet it probably will not do a lot to ease the tensions displayed by skipper Alviro Petersen on Twitter last week. The South African batsmen described his current form as the worst of his career – if he has any concerns about his contribution to the Dragons, he needn’t have.

Sure, he wants a big score with the bat to get his confidence flowing. All batsmen go through such phases though, no? However, he can be quite satisfied with how he has managed the other players – especially the bowlers. With the exception of Surrey (and perhaps Essex away), he has brought the best out of the attack.

Ben Wright and Will Bragg have chipped in with useful runs, while Gareth Rees and Michael Powell are starting to find their feet. There is no concern – at least there shouldn’t be – about Petersen’s form with the bat. Current season form is a temporary matter, the underlying class will shine through.

As you can see, a career in motivational speaking is not awaiting me. But Alviro should keep the faith… he’s doing just grand. And it’s only May.

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…

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.