Category Archives: Robert Croft

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…

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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) #8

Mark Cosgrove at Richmond115 deliveries and it was all over for the Middlesex Panthers. With just five more to face before they could retreat to the safety of the Richmond dressing rooms for the innings break, the hosts could take no more against Glamorgan. In returning all out for 102, Middlesex recorded their lowest ever Twenty20 score.

It was a torturous innings, particularly once the openers departed. Paul Stirling’s six into the scoreboard – after three deliveries – was to be only of the day. And the departure of Chris Rogers for 30 induced the death throes of Middlesex at 58/3. From then, the Dragons twirled the Panthers into a bit of a spin.

Dean Cosker and Robert Croft took three a-piece; Cosker with 3-11 off his overs. Meanwhile, Alviro Petersen chipped in with Tim Murtagh’s wicket and Graham Wagg turned to spin in his second stint and claimed a second scalp. It was to be the Dragons’ to lose – but if anyone is capable…

Initially I feared for planes descending over the ground into Heathrow Airport – if Mark Cosgrove got hold of a bad ball, who knows what could have happened. Therefore, perhaps Cossie meant to give up his wicket with the first delivery of the reply for the sake of air traffic passing overhead…

It was left to an assured Alviro Petersen to rebuild the innings from there. Jim Allenby played a rotten shot to get out, while I completely missed Ben Wright’s departure as it was quite warm and the Guinness was calling. Then the skipper was out… oh my, surely Glammy aren’t really going to throw this away.

I should do better than to distrust Mark Wallace. In the situation, his knock of 40 was quite imperious as another two wickets fell before the Dragons reached the safety of the victory target. Sitting square to the wicket game no idea of how the pitch was playing, but something must’ve been amiss.

(Although I continue to be intrigued as to how a sub-standard pitch reduces the professionals to the ability of… well, utter rank amateurs like me…)

It was the third victory against Middlesex this season for the Dragons, something that appears to becoming a habit. It also offered some momentum for the visit of the reigning Friends Life T20 champions – Hampshire – too. However, I think the game was a bit of a side attraction to the SWALEC’s Welsh Night.

Just one over could be squeezed in – Hampshire 5/0 off the first – before rain did a boo-boo and washed out the game. Incey Wincey Spider’s whereabouts are also unknown. He certainly wasn’t to be seen when the sun came out and enabled the game against Essex to go ahead last night (21 June).

After scratching around in vain for a) whether S4C was on Virgin Media and b) if it would be showing the game, despair took over. Sky Sports was plonked on, and any old T20 would’ve sufficed. If I’d had bothered to do research, it wouldn’t be a surprise to find Glamorgan and Essex on my screen. And yet it was.

Corporal Jones

Simon's new look was a bit strange -
but at least the hat helped with catching

It was the first time in a couple of years that Simon Jones had turned out in the majestic red of Glamorgan. Mind you, I don’t actually think it was red when he last turned out for the Dragons. It might have been some blue concoction. Either way, if it is considered a debut to be judged, it wasn’t far off the Jonathan Woodgate/Real Madrid standard.

In 2005, Jones dropped Brett Lee down at third man in the second Ashes Test – it nearly cost England victory against Australia. In an unfortunate flashback to that nearly-fateful moment, Jones dropped Shah in the deep with Essex needing five. Mind you, it wasn’t as bad as Ben Wright’s drop earlier. EPIC SIGH.

You and me both know that this latest defeat could have just ended Glamorgan’s hopes of getting out of the group stage. But then again, there are still 1,584 group games left and therefore the possibility lives on. Like The Bill did after it cut Reg Hollis and Tony Stamp from the cast… and look how that ended up.

Finally, England’s series win against Sri Lanka owes much to that result in Cardiff. Funny how it all works out. What’s going on with that dodgy pitch at HQ too? 23 wickets in a day. Tsk. Straussy would have taken that a week or so ago…