Category Archives: Cricket

2012 – Year of the Glamorgan Dragon?

Chinese Dragon

Multiple batsmen are now permitted in CB 40 games following the Morgan Review

It is the Year of the Dragon. Not my words, but those of the Chinese and I would strongly advise arguing against them – the phrase “you and whose army” comes to mind. Ancient astrologers may not have given much thought to county cricket in the Shēngxiào (or Chinese Zodiac), but let’s clutch at a few straws here, eh?

Firstly, we need to be comfortable with an inescapable and rather crushing fact – Glamorgan have never “won” anything in past Years of the Dragon; not in terms of the current three formats. Mind you, Twenty20 was but a glint in the eye of an ECB official during the last Year of the Dragon (2000). The lack of precedent, thus, allows for your own interpretation.

With that reality check out of the way, we move on and look for omens – positive ones of course. Notable events from 12 years ago centre on Colwyn Bay, with 309 not out propelling Steve James to the top of the club’s individual batting records. We’ll come back to 2012’s batting prospects in a bit as I’m not done yet.

In compiling that triple-ton at the expense of Sussex, a 374-run partnership with Matthew Elliott also become a record-breaker. And with the help of the duo, 718 for the loss of three wickets (declared) was etched into the record books as a new highest team total. I told you there was something in this…

There is certainly a common theme if you look hard enough. Another Year of the Dragon was 1928, in which D.Davies and J.J.Hills shared a 202 stand – eighth in the list of the club’s highest – against Sussex at Eastbourne in 1928. It seems that the Sharks might be grateful for giving the Dragons a wide berth this year.

But, as promised, we come back to 2012’s batting prospects. Glammy won’t be in a position to call on Marcus North for the first month of the season as he and his wife are expecting a second child. Nor will Alviro Petersen be bringing his 1,000 first-class runs back to the SWALEC after committing to South Africa.

Ah. Hopes of 800-1 declared in the season opener at Grace Road now fade a tad.

It appears a temporary solution is being sought to cover North’s absence, but the news that Alviro won’t be returning has opened up a gap at the top of the order. I don’t think Matthew Mott was too pleased to hear about the decision either, with his descriptive term of ” incredibly disappointed” rarely used to positive effect.

Who do Glamorgan turn to? Unless there’s a surprise up Mr Metson’s sleeve, you would think little wrong of calling Mark Cosgrove and asking if he fancies taking some Division Two bowlers to the proverbial cleaners this season. But then it will also rather depend on whether Cossie is inclined to give up his Australian dream.

The southpaw’s boisterous approach to opening the batting would certainly offer a boost to his colleague, while meeting the Chinese characteristics of the Dragon. I’ve not given up this contrived trail just yet. If the Mayans and Nostradamus can be interpreted to justify the price of cheese, I’ll find Glammy glory in the zodiac.

After all, we don’t yet know how the Shēngxiào reacts to Twenty20 cricket, and it is Cardiff that hosts Finals Day this year. You never know…

Glamorgan – The 12 Innings Of Christmas (2011, Pt.6)

Alviro Petersen, 72 (vs Middlesex)
Friends Life T20 | The Swalec Stadium, Cardiff |
03 June 2011

Huw Evans Agency

Cooke and Petersen lit up the game (ARF!)

As we have already seen, it’s not the first time skipper Alviro Petersen has stolen the show with the bat. This time it is away from the County Championship and in the first Friends Life T20 game of the season. Not even the lights going out could take the shine off this little cameo from the South African.

These days, the Dragons beating Middlesex isn’t much of a surprise. After seeing off the Panthers in a four-day game already, the addition of Mark Cosgrove to the team for this fixture strengthened Glammy’s hold over the London-based side. It was another toss won by the hosts, and into bat they went.

It had been hoped Cossie would be the marauder-in-chief for Glamorgan. But his start failed to materialise into a substantial score, and it was down to his opening partner Petersen to move the innings along. Jim Allenby and Graham Wagg gave fine support as the captain stormed his way to 72 off 48 deliveries.

The only danger of the captain being upstaged was when Chris Cooke raced to an amazingly quick 22 off six balls. Had Cooke stayed for the last three deliveries of the innings, who knows if we’d be discussing another South African here. Either way, Glamorgan won the game – eventually – and that’s all that matters, OK?

Glamorgan – The 12 Innings Of Christmas (2011, Pt.5)

Alviro Petersen, 210 (vs Surrey)
LV County Championship Div.2 | The Kia Oval, London |
24-25 May 2011

Alviro Petersen at the Oval

Alviro finds life easy at the Kia Oval

For part five, it’s back to the skipper and it’s once again at the expense of Surrey. A month after the reverse fixture in Cardiff, the prospect of following on was not an issue on this occasion, with Glamorgan winning the toss and electing to bat at the Kia Oval. When in Rome, dear boy, when in Rome…

And what we have here is arguably the juiciest innings of the season for Glammy, with Alviro Petersen putting in a fine shift. It had started rather strangely; Alviro had done little when Gareth Rees was out for 25 off 21 deliveries; the score 28/1. Then, with Will Bragg and Mike Powell, the skipper’s tally began to climb.

A 225-run partnership for the third wicket with the latter, who was later bowled for an agonising 99, was pretty much evenly shared. A 17-run partnership for the fourth wicket was all Petersen’s doing, with Ben Wright lasting 23 balls before he returned to the hutch without scoring. It is unclear if a cup of tea awaited him.

Where Zander de Bruyn and Tom Maynard had failed to push on the Swalec just a few weeks before, Petersen took his innings into a second day before departing. In the second innings, Glammy declared on 259/4 in a bid to force a win, but the skipper did not come out to bat – and still came away as the match’s top scorer.

Glamorgan – The 12 Innings Of Christmas (2011, Pt.4)

Gareth Rees, 110 (vs Lancashire)
Clydesdale Bank 40 | Old Trafford, Manchester | 08 May
2011

Gareth Rees

The second 50 came up like 'Reesed' lightning.

Much has been said, and perhaps more could be added, about personnel changes made following the 2010 season. It was made explicitly clear that Glamorgan had up their game in terms of limited overs cricket, not that it mitigates the public fall-out after Jamie Dalrymple was removed as captain.

Three games into the Clydesdale Bank 40 campaign, and nothing seemed to have changed. Two defeats and a no result – had it all been it worth it? Probably not, it seemed. Before despondency fully took control, however, a win was found! And Gareth Rees had a lot to do with setting the Dragons on that victorious course…

Glamorgan won the toss and elected to bat at Old Trafford against Lancashire, a side who included some Ashes hero called James Anderson in the line-up. It did little to stir Rees, however. A 78-run stand with Alviro Petersen settled Glammy, before the Swansea southpaw powered on through to the end of the 40 overs.

The first 50 came off 64 deliveries, but the second took just 32 more. Three sixes catapulted the strike rate up on his way to what was an imperious ton. It was just the second time that Rees had managed a century in one-day cricket, but it was a valuable one, it was an assured one and, crucially, it was a match-winning one.

Glamorgan – The 12 Innings Of Christmas (2011, Pt.3)

Gareth Rees, 89, and Mike Powell, 65 (vs Surrey)
LV County Championship Div.2 | The Swalec Stadium, Cardiff |

23 April 2011

Huw Evans Picture Agency

No way past Gareth Rees for Surrey

More often than not, 395 all out is an imposing enough first innings total in the County Championship. Not today it wasn’t. Glamorgan found themselves following on after Surrey’s 575/7d. If I had some of that ruthless endeavour shown by the visitors, I’d be winning big in an internet casino right about now.

Like blackjack, cricket has that element of being able to fine-tune when to twist and when to stick. Zander de Bruyn and the returning Tom Maynard went with the former and were rewarded with uncompromising hundreds. Chris Schofield went close with a brisk 99 and the Dragons were right up against it.

Mark Wallace top scored with 55 in Glamorgan’s first innings but it would need something more substantial from someone second time around to save the game. After a solid start, Petersen and Bragg fell in quick succession and it was then left to Gareth Rees and Mike Powell to repel Surrey’s victory charge on the day four.

Rees stayed in the middle for more than four hours; Powell for two-and-a-half. It took the sting out of the game, consumed more than 40 overs and led Glammy to safety with a partnership of 129 runs. It was hardly record-breaking stuff, but the best cricket is sometimes seen when played under the most testing of times.

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.

Glamorgan: All Quiet on the Western Avenue

The SWALEC in the snow

Think Bjork. Shhhh.

‘Twas the month before Christmas,
all through the SWALEC;

Something was stirring,
becoming a wreck;

The skipper was hung out
to dry without care;

By the next season,
who still will be there…?’

It’s quite remarkable how some things can change from one year to the next. There are those among us who would argue that ‘no news is good news’, and for Glamorgan, I am quite content to go along with that. It’s now a little over 12 months since the ousting of Jamie Dalrymple as the Dragons’ skipper, and to say it upset the balance would be putting it mildly.

It started a chain of sweeping discontent that led to the departures of coach Matthew Maynard and president Peter Walker, as well as Tom Maynard albeit a bit later down the line. A regime change instigated by chairman Paul Russell; he’s no longer there either, although on an unrelated note, it must be said. The tranquillity of this year’s close season, therefore, is somewhat welcome if you pardon gross understatement.

There have been player movements, but not on such a seismic and destructive scale as once seen. Rather than wallowing in the ‘outs’, Glamorgan now talk of the ‘ins’ and the ‘staying-puts’. Stewart Walters has signed on for an extra year, having showed decent touch with the bat during the second half of the ’10 season. Jim Allenby too, and I don’t really care if he’s been given the T20 captaincy as a sweetener if it means he stays.

And the ‘ins’? Firstly, there is Simon Jones – an older and wiser bowler from his travels around Worcestershire and Hampshire. Opponents won’t like dealing with his 90mph rockets, but that’s not Glamorgan’s problem. Together with Graham Wagg, Jones will be the invaluable source of experience and knowledge for Glammy’s relatively young pace attack spearheaded by James Harris (massively thankful he’s still at the county, by the way).

Marcus North

Sixth county

Marcus North is another recruit, having signed a two-year deal to be the county’s international player. I’m not North’s biggest fan; indeed, I viewed his selection during the 2009 Ashes as a massive positive… for England. But this is county cricket, not one of the oldest international rivalries which transcends life and death. And on that basis, North will be at worst, just fine.

Regrettably there have been departures. My long-time batting hero Michael Powell has moved onto pastures new with Kent, and not without something of a parting shot. Meanwhile, Alviro Petersen leaves after one year and hands over the captaincy to Mark Wallace. If that was too straightforward for you, there’s a murmur that Alviro could come back in as a Kolpak player next summer. Those 2,000 runs would do nicely, that’s for sure.

So. Glamorgan is rather lacking in the soap drama-esque controversy and subterfuge that seemed to shepherd the county towards the end of 2010. Not one player has signed and then decided to retire, and wholesale changes have been left to another Division Two county. It’s been relative stability all the way for the Dragons this winter (so far, don’t want to pre-empt anything here) and it’s good.

I couldn’t tell you how I think Glamorgan will do next season – there’s a reason I don’t bet on sport these days. But Matthew Mott now has freedom to mould the squad as he would want with the benefit of a full pre-season, as opposed to the full solitary day he had last season. OK. It was an exaggeration, but still. Mott delivered the Pura Cup in his first full season with New South Wales Blues in Australia – you see why the Glammy hierarchy moved to sign him?

And now perhaps there is a chance that history might repeat itself, albeit in a different country, using different players, with a different team. The Friends Life T20 Finals Day is being held in Cardiff next summer, and it would be nice if Glamorgan involve themselves in a greater capacity than simply laying on drinks and hospitality for four other visiting counties. I’ll take promotion to Division One of the County Championship, personally…

RS Thomas once wrote: “There is no present in Wales, and no future; There is only the past” — It’s about time Glamorgan shrugged off any lingering turmoil, grasp the daffodil by the neck, and use this winter of quiet content as the platform to start writing the latest chapter of the club’s history. Anything’s possible if you wish hard enough…

Originally posted on Clear Cricket