Category Archives: Mark Wallace

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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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: 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 11/12) – #12

And now the end is near…

Pink

Pink - just like the ball

Quicker than you could say “was summer really just that one weekend in April”, the 2011 cricket season is drawing to a close. The County Championship marks the end of Glamorgan’s campaign at Canterbury this week – and “disappointing” would probably be the word best associated with it.

With neither Kent nor the Dragons playing for anything except pride, the game at the St Lawrence Cricket Ground has an end-of-term feel about it. Remember those last days when you could bring in a game to play with your friends? Well, someone’s brought in a pink ball…

The floodlights will go on when necessary tonight as play continues well into the night at Canterbury, with play starting at 2pm each day. It will be an interesting experiment, that’s for sure. The prospect of only needing to take half a day off to see a County Championship game might help swell attendances, after all.

In the limited overs formats of the game, batting second under the lights is rarely seen as something to be encouraged by (unless you’re playing a Glamorgan team that has underscored first again). But I am intrigued to see how the batsmen look to approach their innings at 19:30, when there’s still 90 minutes left in the day.

But I suppose that’s the point. To see what the pink ball does under lights and to see whether you can realistically expect teams to play four-day/five-day matches in twilight conditions.  It certainly changes perceptions of the traditional “lunch” and “tea” breaks. And what of the “nightwatchman” now…

Kent win the toss and bat first. Here begins the great Pink experiment…

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…

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…