Category Archives: LVCC2

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…

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.12)

Stewart Walters, 147 (vs Kent)
LV County Championship Div.2| St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury | 13-14 September
2011

Stewart Walters - by Sarah Ansell

Walters by a Kentish night - (c) Sarah Ansell

After 11 shining examples of the Dragons’ batting prowess in 2011 – not easy to find either – we are  at the last one. The faithful mistress that is chronological order has dictated that it will be Stewart Walters who takes us into the Christmas festivities. It even comes with a pink ball to boot; a bauble being flayed around if you will.

The inaugural day/night County Championship game was contested between two sides that had long since given up hope of promotion.  Kent opted to bat first and posted a modest 237 – in reply, affairs were evenly poised with the visitors 121/3. For the Dragons, it needed someone to take things by the scruff of the neck.

Enter Stewart Walters. A delicately constructed innings brought up his first 50 in 85 deliveries. It took more than 100 additional deliveries to work his way to a ton and drive Glamorgan forward, with the Victorian untroubled by the pink ball, the autumn sunset on day two or the Spitfires’ attack.

Walters would be called upon again following an obstinate Kent second innings. With Alviro Petersen fluent in his determination to bring up the winning runs, a small cameo was afforded to Walters. A run-a-ball 19 ensured he was present as the Dragons made their target, and ensured a triumphant end to a ‘meh’ season.

Merry Christmas.

Glamorgan – The 12 Innings Of Christmas (2011, Pt.9)

Stewart Walters, 102 (vs Northamptonshire)
LV County Championship Div.2 | St Helen’s, Swansea | 30
July 2011

Stewart Walters

Walters helped keep Northants at bay

We had started to see a lot more of Stewart Walters during the second half of the 2011 season, following his move from Surrey at the end of the previous year. The first glimpses of his ability came in one-dayers, but soon he forced a way into the County Championship reckoning and worked hard to stay there.

Innings like this one helped, mind you. Glamorgan had been timid first time out, posting a mediocre 252, before promotion-seeking Northants walloped 552 in an extremely heavy-handed reply at Swansea. So, with 300 needed just to make the visitors bat again, the question was whether the Dragons would sink or swim.

Coming out all guns blazing, there were contributions from Petersen, Bragg and Powell. But it was Walters who was alone in making three figures and did so with great patience and skill. The first half-century came at less than a run every two balls; the second coming in an unexpected quick-fire 45 deliveries on day four.

By the time he lost his wicket, Glamorgan were 47 runs ahead and Northants had eventually left themselves chasing 149 off 23 overs in the dying Swansea light (a little Dylan Thomas reference there). OK, they came unnervingly close, but tight bowling ensured Walters’ and Glammy’s second innings efforts were rewarded.

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.

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.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.