Category Archives: Mark Cosgrove

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…

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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 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.