Category Archives: Michael Powell

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.

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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

The Ballad of Michael Powell

Michael Powell

Michael Powell - He'll be ready...

The news last week that Michael Powell was in talks with Kent over a potential switch to the St Lawrence Ground for the 2012 season is good to hear, but also serves as an abrupt reminder that he is no longer Glamorgan’s. Not that I’m in denial about his release, more the regret that all things must pass.

Having pledged allegiance to Glamorgan and deified Matthew Maynard during the formative years of the 21st century, England were busy winning the Ashes in 2005 and I needed a new batting hero in Glamorgan colours: Michael Powell was that man. Big runs, elegance, style: What more could you want?

I can even recall a time that he took to the field in an England shirt. Edgbaston, I think (prove me wrong kids). Ignoring the fact that he was merely a willing 12th man, here was a Glamorgan man playing in a Test match. Such rare moments will be held dear, until James Harris eventually gets his timely call up, right?

And there was something else too. Not so much a je ne sais quoi really, more a rugged appearance with the flowing blonde locks that made him Baywatch-esque to look at. I can’t help but feel that Glamorgan’s red limited-overs attire made the pretence somewhat more lucid than it actually was in reality.

With nearly 12,500 first class runs and 25 centuries at an average of 38.34, Mikey P’s contribution to Glamorgan since 1997 speaks for itself. His 2006 player-of-the-year-winning season: 1,327 runs including back to back double tons an obvious highlight. Massive, as Mark Nicholas would no doubt exclaim.

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) #4

Royal Wedding

And there's the declaration...

10 – I think you’ll agree that welcoming a defeat with relief and a sordid sense of joy is somewhat unusual, but if you consider that a 10-run defeat to Somerset in the Clydesdale Bank 40 is 25 times better than the outcome of last year’s match, you might just see where I’m coming from. Yes. Literally 25 times better.

Had the rain not arrived, however, I dread to think what the damage could have been inflicted on the Dragons. Somerset were trundling along nicely at 200-odd for the loss of just two men. With 10 overs left. A score of more than 300 looked ominously likely. It doesn’t do me well to think about how much more than…

But you can only chase what Vera Duckworth and our Lewis put before you, and it was nearly a successful chase; Wright, Allenby and Rees the main protagonists in getting the Dragons to within 10 runs of the 196 needed in 19 overs. But it still leaves Glamorgan win-less in the CB40 so far this year.

And it came after Ravi Bopara and Matt Walker defied the prospects to guide the hosts Essex to a six-wicket win in the latest County Championship game. Having assumed that the win was a likely outcome for the Dragons, I watched the bloody wedding and went on holiday. If you want something doing…

It’s not the worst start to the season, certainly. Yet it probably will not do a lot to ease the tensions displayed by skipper Alviro Petersen on Twitter last week. The South African batsmen described his current form as the worst of his career – if he has any concerns about his contribution to the Dragons, he needn’t have.

Sure, he wants a big score with the bat to get his confidence flowing. All batsmen go through such phases though, no? However, he can be quite satisfied with how he has managed the other players – especially the bowlers. With the exception of Surrey (and perhaps Essex away), he has brought the best out of the attack.

Ben Wright and Will Bragg have chipped in with useful runs, while Gareth Rees and Michael Powell are starting to find their feet. There is no concern – at least there shouldn’t be – about Petersen’s form with the bat. Current season form is a temporary matter, the underlying class will shine through.

As you can see, a career in motivational speaking is not awaiting me. But Alviro should keep the faith… he’s doing just grand. And it’s only May.

Diary of a Glamorgan Fan (Aged 25 1/2) #2

John Lewis, Cardiff

Cardiff already has one John Lewis, thanks...

1 is the next exciting magic number in a series that scarcely deserves mention. It could well be the number of batsmen that Gloucestershire were deficient, after a broken finger kept Chris Dent from taking guard in either innings. But it isn’t. It is actually in honour of that first batting bonus point of the year. We’re away…

The 189-run victory, which gets this summer’s County Championship campaign up and running, was as imperious as it was remarkable. For Glamorgan have an irritating tendency to flirt with the hopelessly inept at times. Times like the first day, when Jim Allenby’s wicket left the scoreboard showing a bemused 54/6.

Ben Wright earned his cap in this game and responded by rebuilding Glammy’s shattered innings with 83. Together with Graham Wagg – who half-tonned it up, the pair helped the hosts creep over the bonus point threshold. Given the speed at which the changing room door was revolving earlier in the day, I’ll take that.

I certainly wouldn’t swap it for Gloucestershire’s card, after both James Harris and Adam Shantry helping themselves to wickets – the former taking five. Oh. I forgot to mention St Jim of the Taff End also marked his return with the wicket of Gidman. The title stays, even if he bowled at the Cathedral Road End…

And this is where the frustration surfaces. With a slender lead of 14, Glamorgan then found their batting form. Gareth Rees finally clocking up a 50, and a hearty 63 from Allenby. I can’t help but feel there may be a little seed of doubt over the place of Michael Powell, with 37 runs at 9.25 so far this season. Walters awaits?

After declaring on 370/9, Gloucestershire were slow and steady in pursuit of the victory target. Slow and steady to the point where one random glance at Cricinfo found that the visitors had gone at 0.9 in the previous 10 overs. On what I’d vote to be a most tranquil Sunday, this win didn’t appear obvious in mid-afternoon.

I flounced to the PS3. My frustrations taken out on trying to combat Monaco in a Lotus F1 car. Three re-starts later (and a first place), I returned to Cricinfo. 177/7 were Gloucestershire. And Shantry was on a hattrick. How could I have missed a rare moment when even Alviro was in the wickets? How was I to know…?

With Gloucestershire being a man light, I was able to rest a little easier – safe that a victory was coming. Hallelujah! Messrs Harris and Shantry eventually shared 6 wickets equally between them. Shantry has come back with a vengeance after his injury woes. James Harris has come back from the West Indies…

The opening two games have provided a fair share of frustration that could last a season, albeit expected. But is second innings performances as served up against Gloucestershire that demonstrate ability and temperament in Glammy’s batting. Why it has to wait until days three or four to come to fore, I don’t know.

But it comes in good time. The next opponents at the SWALEC are Surrey. And with that comes the return of T. Maynard. Hmm, that might just be interesting.