Category Archives: Jim Allenby

Glamorgan – The 12 Innings Of Christmas (2011, Pt.7)

Jim Allenby, 113, and Mark Wallace, 104 (vs Derbyshire)
LV County Championship Div.2 | County Ground, Derby |
12 July 2011

Stand-and-deliver for the sixth wicket

I’m still not sure how Glamorgan contrived to lose this one by such a heavy margin, especially after a first innings lead of 86 runs. A lot that went on had the head-scratching in full flow. For Derbyshire to reach 360 after being inserted on day one was mainly due to Jonathan Clare’s 130 from number nine!

If Glamorgan were demoralised by the lower order onslaught, it was apparent. It was difficult to see how the Dragons would post anything challenging following a woeful slump to 69/5. The much-needed backbone was provided by Jim Allenby and Mark Wallace, however, and the counter-offensive was on!

Wallace, in particular, wasn’t hanging around. His half-century came up first off a mere 55 deliveries. Allenby was much more patient, waiting for 93 balls before raising his bat. It was the latter who was to reach his ton first, as the partnership racked up a mammoth 217 to put the Dragons into the ascendancy on day two.

But. There is no happy ending here. A promising start for the bowlers was rather nipped in the bud by Chesney Hughes, and runs came all down the order. It left the visitors needing more than 350 for victory; a dismal 167 all out not really the ideal shift. Allenby and Wallace’s partnership was in vain, but it was ruddy good.

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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

Diary of a Glamorgan Fan (Aged 25 353/365) – End of Term

Sixpence None The Richer

Sixth Place None The Richer

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.

Middlesex LVCC2 Champions

Congratulations to Middlesex CCC

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…

Will Owen

Hover Bowling. Not such a success.

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.

Welsh Dragon

Walking out to bat...

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?)

Diary of a Glamorgan Fan (Aged 25 3/4) #11

1,000 runs and Alviro Petersen is closing in on the milestone. Although I reckon – by his own admission – the effort will ultimately be in vain. Promotion from the second division of the County Championship is looking bleak. Although not quite as bleak as some other things at the moment…

The Friends Life T20 has long become a faded memory. Concentration switched. Although annoyingly, to no better tales. A run of three straight LVCC defeats has pretty much terminated the chance of getting back into Division One. And while there have been wins in the Clydesdale 40, that’s another trophy off the radar.

Knowing where the Glamorgan team currently stands is a difficult one. Matthew Mott gets his first real crack at the team next year and will be using, surely, what we have left of this season to help guide his thoughts. Number one will be a new captain, or so it seems – Jim Allenby the front-runner perchance?

This is a Glamorgan team that never seems to age though, which might play into Mott’s hands. James Harris is still 16 and studying for his GCSEs, and Crofty is a sprightly young 32 year old. Everyone else is in between… if you believe that. The point is that there is probably no real need to break up the team.

It is a shame that Adam Shantry has called time on his career due to injury. A top bowler on his day, I still remember him and Crofty giving the Leicestershire boys what for in Colwyn Bay not so long ago. With the bat, you understand. And with the ball, but the 11th wicket partnership put on 1,854 runs together.

Anyway, we’re already a month or so from the end of the cricket season. Already. And that means the football season hath cometh aroundeth seth. Hence why my evenings have involved nurturing my favourite baby for the past month or so. A job lot of hundreds of clubs and player profiles yadda yadda.

But yes, that is why this blog has been pretty shabbily maintained recently. It is, admittedly, the case that after my messy divorce with all things football etc, I’ve run back to the harlot like the Frank Butcher that I am – avec motorised bow-tie mais sans cheeky Cockney wit. I’m not that fortunate.

Anyway, what’s coming up? After bemoaning a lack of cricket this summer, I’ve actually seen a fair bit. Lord’s, Scarborough, Dublin… they’re next. It’s just that I’ve not seen much cricket where I’ve supposed to be i.e. using my ruddy MCCC membership. That’s Middlesex to us normal peeps. Yes. I used the word peeps.

For Glamorgan, well, it has to be about as high a finish in both the LVCC2 and Clydesdale 40 group as possible. And we’ll take it from there. But if we may go through this season without losing to the Unicorns, I’ll take that. Now then, are we the world’s number one Test team yet?

Diary of a Glamorgan Fan (Aged 25 5/8) – T20 Special

Lights go out at Glamorgan v Middlesex

The lights are all out. And so are Middlesex.

15 July. Until then, two LVCC2 matches with Derbyshire are the sole respite from the beast that is the Friends Life T20. Glamorgan Dragons are now four games into their campaign, and are to play one game every 15 minutes to ensure all their group fixtures are finished by the middle of next month.

It had started quite promisingly, we thought. Although in hindsight, a win versus Middlesex is nothing much to write home about. It’s obligatory. A 45-run margin was, nonetheless, a comfortable one in the end after the hosts piled on 199. Chris Cooke perhaps standing out with 22 runs from six deliveries.

It was Jamie Dalrymple’s first return to the SWALEC since his acrimonious exit during the winter. The game was delayed during the Middlesex chase due to the failure of the floodlights. If you’re a fan of wild, unfounded conspiracy theories – it’s like a create-your-own right there.

The second game of the campaign took the Dragons to the reigning champions – Hampshire. Batting first, Glammy’s 120 rarely inspired confidence in armchair fans around the, hmm, country. And yet, the hosts were almost so willing in the near-choke that was the two-wicket win with four to spare. If only for 140 runs.

Glamorgan’s batting was back on track at the Oval. But then again, it is a ground that rather treats batsmen. Mark Cosgrove and Jim Allenby propelled the guests to an interesting 167-7 before biblical rains swept across south London. In doing so, Surrey were denied the chance to reply.

It would have been interesting to see how Surrey fared in response. Would Dean Cosker give the media something to chew on by taking KP’s wicket? Would Tom Maynard give Glamorgan something to chew on by taking them to the cleaners. So many questions. Well, two. But unanswered all the same. We’ll never know…

And onto the fourth and final game to catch up with. You can accuse me of being tardy. I would protest that I have been busy. Either way, it didn’t stop Glamorgan losing to Kent at the SWALEC. Mark Cosgrove and Alviro Petersen provided fair grounds for the Dragons to push on, but it was a laboured innings afterwards.

A partnership between Riaz and Northeast eventually did for the hosts and eased Kent past the target of 155 with two balls to spare. The visitors now join Glammy and Surrey on three points, with the Dragons travelling to Richmond to do battle with Middlesex tomorrow evening. That’s bottom-of-the-table-Middlesex.

Alviro Petersen has called for a response from his players and I am sure that it is going to be forthcoming. The dynamic of the top three – Cosgrove, Petersen and Allenby seems settled and fairly pro-active, while the bowlers have so far refused to let opponents get away. But now is the time to start forcing the results.

I say that now is the time, but it’s such a long group phase. Last year’s T20 quest started with a bang and finished with a whimper. I won’t mind too much if that’s reversed this year. Finals Day is not something that I’m ruling Glamorgan out of just yet… Stop laughing back there.

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) #6

Open Top Bus Cardff

Three wins on the trot is reason enoughfor a Glamorgan open top bus ride

40 overs. It’s a format of the game that Glammy have become strangely good at in the past two weeks. And when I say good, I mean alright. After all, it’s foolish to get carried away by wins over Gloucestershire and Lancashire. And let’s throw in the abandoned game with Essex for good measure.

Now third in the Group C table, it’s a position that only Blue can empathise with after shooting to the top of the Eurovision pile after Bulgaria awarded DOOOZE POINTS in the second round of voting. More importantly, the Unicorns have to do some to show up the Dragons this season. Don’t rule it out yet. Counting chickens and all that.

In between the gladiatorial triumphs against Essex and Gloucestershire, matters in the County Championship took precedence. And the Dragons are… third. This is consistency on a level that no-one anticipated. It follows the crushing defeat of a Kent team who haven’t managed a win since 1968. Tough times for Rob Key.

In downing the Spitfires (geddit?), Glamorgan racked up the first maximum haul of batting points since the halcyon days about this time last year when there were two back-to-back innings successes. Nothing breeds satisfaction quite like a huge innings victory. Even if Kent got within eight runs of forcing a 4th innings.

So, who were the stand out players alongside Jim Allenby in the past few games? Well, Gareth Rees anchored the win against Gloucestershire with an unbeaten 50 and Dean Cosker was the main protagonist in bundling them out for after James Harris bowled nice and tightly at the top of the innings.

For Gloucestershire, there is consolation in that they wouldn’t have had to pay to get over the bridge on their way home. It will have saved them from having to get their tails out from between their legs. I heard that Kent are still scarred from the bashing that Harris and Mark Wallace gave ’em mind.

Next up it is an extended stay in London. Someone better tell the lads that Buck House is orf the schedule as Queenie has gone overseas. But what is important is coming away from Lord’s and the Oval with wins in the LVCC and the CB40. And if Jim Allenby could put Gareth ‘Henning’ Berg in his place, t’would be good…