Category Archives: Twenty20

Twenty20 Vision

A colleague of mine asked me on Thursday if I still did my blog. “Oh yes” I declared, before realising the last piece I’d written was in late April. It does not say a great deal for the events in May, where Glamorgan continued to find wins as elusive as Lord Lucan. Yeah, even now, digging up the old Lord Lucan gags.

I don’t really like hyperbole and rash predictions, but things are DEFINITELY on an upward curve. The annual trip up north to Colwyn Bay yielded the first win of the season against Durham, and now the Friends Life t20 is underway and things suddenly appear a lot brighter.

Which is more than can be said for the weather.

The crashbangwallop format will no doubt be dominated by the usual suspects in the hunt for a place at Finals Day. If we concede that Somerset will be turning up to the SWALEC to claim their silver medals, there’s three spots left and I’m of the belief that Glamorgan could nab one of ’em.

And I’m not just founding this belief on blind loyalty. There are people – proper, real people – out there who believe Glammy are in with a shout, describing their prospects in hallowed terms such as “worth a punt”, “alright” and “Chelsea won the Champions League, didn’t they”.

The rain prevented a result at Northants, which was a frustrating start to what is going to be a glorious Friends Life t20 tournament for Glamorgan. Sunday is the day when we’ll finally (or perhaps not, weather) see whether my 35/1 punt on the Dragons is a worthy investment. Or as useful as a bailout to the Greeks.

So. Yes. Glamorgan are capable of doing something special this season. And I’m going to stick my head out of the parapet and insist that the Dragons will appear at finals day. And not as ball boys, before anyone gets cheeky. I believe it. And I am sure that, one day, someone else might do too…

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Glamorgan – The 12 Innings Of Christmas (2011, Pt.6)

Alviro Petersen, 72 (vs Middlesex)
Friends Life T20 | The Swalec Stadium, Cardiff |
03 June 2011

Huw Evans Agency

Cooke and Petersen lit up the game (ARF!)

As we have already seen, it’s not the first time skipper Alviro Petersen has stolen the show with the bat. This time it is away from the County Championship and in the first Friends Life T20 game of the season. Not even the lights going out could take the shine off this little cameo from the South African.

These days, the Dragons beating Middlesex isn’t much of a surprise. After seeing off the Panthers in a four-day game already, the addition of Mark Cosgrove to the team for this fixture strengthened Glammy’s hold over the London-based side. It was another toss won by the hosts, and into bat they went.

It had been hoped Cossie would be the marauder-in-chief for Glamorgan. But his start failed to materialise into a substantial score, and it was down to his opening partner Petersen to move the innings along. Jim Allenby and Graham Wagg gave fine support as the captain stormed his way to 72 off 48 deliveries.

The only danger of the captain being upstaged was when Chris Cooke raced to an amazingly quick 22 off six balls. Had Cooke stayed for the last three deliveries of the innings, who knows if we’d be discussing another South African here. Either way, Glamorgan won the game – eventually – and that’s all that matters, OK?

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

CricLit – The Sum-erset Of All Fears

Alfonso Thomas

SCCC-IA agent Alfonso Thomas

Tom Clanc-ingdownthewicket comes to the fore in this CricLit entry, lending his pen to a thriller that would put the world on a precipice. Perhaps one from which it might not recover as a new world order threatened to break into existence…

Chapter 17

The days were shorter now back home, Alfonso told himself. It wasn’t that the season had gone on late in India, just that days were shortening back in England. The earth’s orbit around the sun, and the way the axis of rotation was not perpendicular with the plane of the… ecliptic? Something like that.

The team coach dropped them off in front of the Chennai stadium, and he walked in, wondering when the last cup had been, aside from the 2005 Twenty20 Cup, when Graeme Smith was in flight and outlined by the Oval floodlights. Blackbirds.

About the only good news was that he didn’t bring the video of the CB40 final or the Friends Life T20 Finals Day – but that wasn’t quite true either, was it. He brought no videos home, but it was less easy to clear out the mind than to clear out the dressing room at Lord’s or the Rose Bowl or wherever…

Alfonso heard the sounds of the Chennai crowd, the TV was tuned to ESPN Star. The Mumbai dressing room was making noises. Toshiba Power Sixes. He walked into the Somerset dressing room to announce the team.

“Alfonso!” Kieswetter ran over to deliver his bat, followed by a plaintive appeal. “Alfonso, you promise we can win this tournament?”

Oh, shit… the kids were back in school and there was the matter of the other game up in Bangalore. Somerset had to, had to, had to… when! When could the run break loose. The semi finals were now half-done, and Somerset were currently his baby and the England players had come out a week behind, and he had to get them over the line if it was going to end this trophy-less run.

“I’m going to try, Craig,” Alfonso promised his wicketkeeper, who was too young to understand about any obligation beyond Somerset’s promise.

“Alfonso, you promise?”

“I don’t know.”

“Game time,” Trego announced. ” And tomorrow’s the Final day.”

Alfonso hugged each of his team mates, but the exercise in affection merely left a nervy spot on his conscience. What sort of a captain was he turning into? The start of the 2012 season was next April or May, and who could say if Somerset might have a trophy, finally, to their name for that? Better find out

Better find out the date of the Friends Life T20 and CB40 finals so that he could schedule it now. Try to schedule it now. Alfonso reminded himself that little things like promises to his team mates on the matter of trophies were – little things!

God, how did this ever happen. He watched the players talk in their dressing room, then himself headed out to the umpire. The toss was won. He elected to bat, before walking back to his team. He was banking on Trego and Kieswetter now. It was much more likely they’d get a good start, and his other batsmen were also more selective in their shots of late. The cool boxes held a bag full of – Red Bull, wasn’t it.

About where Lucozade Sport had been twenty years earlier. The taste in question was very fruity, to mask the amount of sugar it had, and lack of alcohol content, which wouldn’t have done any favours.

Alfonso looked at the scoreboard. If he were very lucky, Somerset might get 140/150 on the board before the Mumbai Indians chased. He needed those runs. At the ground, he lived on the hope that Somerset might win and his system was becoming saturated with expectation. Once he’d been able to nap in the dug-out, but no longer. By the start of play, his system was wired, and by late afternoon his body played a strange melody of fatigue and nerves that sometimes left him wondering if he were going a little bid mad.

Well. As long as he asked himself that question… A few minutes later, a wicket had fallen. Pity the sun had dried out the pitch. Trego had beaten himself for pace – he’d planned to be there for at least an hour, but… it was always something for Somerset, wasn’t it?

When he walked, there was that look of discomfort from the dug-out. On the way into the dressing room, he opened the locker door to pull a Jelly Bean from his kit bag. These he chewed and washed down with an energy drink, starting off his third bottle in less than 13 overs.

Trego was no longer there, though he’d left some foundation on which for Somerset to push on in the powerplay. Alfonso watched and saw some good running between the wicket. It was fine. He took the team sheet and flipped the batting order around, making the power-hitters his priority. Jos Buttler was now coming in next.

Alfonso settled back into his chair and allowed himself a smile. It was working. Going hard at the start would be the resurgence of Somerset’s trophy hopes. Shop owners in Chennai were loading up Scrumpy in anticipation of the extended stay of their English tourists. The team, explained Tresco who’d opted to stay in the town of Taunton, was after all of fairly decent potential with good players. The Champions League was a tour that would prove this. Champions League? Alfonso thought. Well, why not?

It’s worth it, Alfonso told himself. You helped bring that about. You helped make that happen. You took tickets, and if nobody else knows it, the hell with it. You know. God knows. Isn’t that enough? No, Alfonso told himself in a quiet flash of honesty.

So what if the idea of Somerset winning a trophy had not been completely original? What idea ever was? It had been his thought that would make it happen in Chennai, his captaincy had gotten the team through this far, his… he deserved something for it, some recognition, enough for a little footnote in Somerset’s history book, but would he get it?

Alfonso snorted into his Red Bull. No chance. Kieron Pollard, that clever chap, would be hitting everybody to all parts when Franklin, Symonds, Kanwar were all done with it. If Alfonso ever tried to get his bowlers to get them to play straight, it’d look like a poor line, bowling either to leg or off side – and not a good length.

Cheer up Alfonso. You’re still alive. You have the CB40, you have the Friends Life T20. You have the County Championship.

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 3/4) #10

T20 - not a success for Glamorgan this year

1 more game to go until the marathon Friends Life T20 group stage ends and the Glamorgan Dragons are left to mull another failed bid to reach the Finals Day jamboree. Six matches squeezed into the last 10 days; most of them producing the same, consistent outcome: “… beat Glamorgan by …”

And so it was to be: Surrey (1 July, 18 runs); Kent (3 July, five wickets); Somerset (5 July, five wickets); Sussex (7 July, four wickets); Essex (8 July, five wickets) – I see a pattern. There was cause for cheer with the 10-wicket win against Gloucestershire Gladiators. In fact, it wasn’t a win – it was a ruddy great mauling.

I won’t even start to indulge in Arul Suppiah’s world record haul of six wickets at the expense of five runs for Somerset. Nor Tim Southee’s hattrick for Essex…

Washing machine innit

Suppiah had the Dragons in a spin (ARF!)

I make it that six out of the nine T20 defeats this season have followed a pattern; one that was alluded to above. It has three elements: Dragons bat first and post a score probably 20 runs below par (ish); bowlers put in brave effort to defend that low target; opponents eventually go on to win the game in the final over.

If I were a braver soul with my money, I might have considered seeing what odds I’d get for that against Gloucestershire on 15 July. Mind you, after making a hash of the last encounter, I’m wondering whether I should expect the Dragons to do a win thing on Friday. Either way, Saturday is the start of the rest of the season.

Not for the first time, I write amid the Dragons’ best efforts to naff it up against a team that took the wooden spoon last year – Derbyshire. Before the game started, Glamorgan sat in fourth on the brink of triple figures in the points column. But it is looking like a battle for the last of two promotion spots in the four-day game.

The last couple of seasons have been nail-biters to the end, specifically to do with the search for promotion to Division One of the County Championship. But there is a part of me that fears this campaign might peter out into mediocrity before we reach that point – or is this just a natural sentiment for a Glamorgan fan?

Entering a crucial period for the Dragons, the second half of July will allow us to know if promotion is still a possibility in the County Championship and whether qualification from the Clydesdale 40 Group Stage is achievable. The issue is that I’m not sure if my glass half full, half empty, or filled with an end-of-barrel lager.

ADDENDUM: It seems that I had got ahead of myself and not put faith in Mark Wallace and Lord Jim of Allenby to turn things around against Derbyshire. The prospect of a first innings lead was a small one… but it is a “funny ol’ game” and other assorted clichés badda bing badda boom.

At this time, all three outcomes are possible and it seems likely that there will be a winner. Stopping the hosts getting much of a lead now is imperative.

Diary of a Glamorgan Fan (Aged 25 5/8) #9 – Woe Edition

Golf Swing

Swing. Miss. Bowled.

17 hours (roughly) between the end of Sunday’s Twenty20 match with Somerset down at Taunton, and the start of the County Championship fixture versus Derbyshire. An example of ECB scheduling at its most frantic and neither of the outcomes have been to the liking of the Glamorgan Dragons.

Aware of the fact that Derbyshire also had Twenty20 duties on Sunday too, it’s a point that extends across the county spectrum and not one fuelled by frustration. OK, so it is a little bit, but where is the sense in wedging a four-day game into the Twenty20-dominated schedule during June and July.

If the ECB wants to flog the Twenty20 beast to death, continue with a two-month group stage if needs must. But is there not a concern that interrupting that with a four-day game during that period – and in such a short turnaround – will have the consequence that players aren’t easily managing the transition between formats?

I only make the point based on one or two (maybe more, that’s how exciting it is) sentiments emanating from the SWALEC over the past couple of days. I am sure, as sure as I can be (not much), that poor shot selection cropped up on a couple of occasions when describing Glamorgan wickets against Derbyshire.

Now, I can’t be there and not for the want of trying. The work of Gareth Griffiths (@gazg2000) and Edward Bevan (@EdBevanCricket) – sterling efforts all round – keep me up to speed. And by putting 2 and 2 together to get 5, I could question the sanity of interspersing Twenty20 games with County Championship ones.

And to lose to Derbyshire with a flimsy batting performance doesn’t fill one with too much happiness. They screwed up the promotion charge on the final day last year, and they might have torpedoed this year’s one ‘n all. All I want to do now is make loud, vowel-based wailing noises and bang the table like a small child.

It came after a topsy-turvy run of fortune in the Friends Life T20, but I won’t spend too much time indulging in the competition as it bores me rigid now. After a flying Alviro Petersen helped the Dragons edge to victory against Sussex, it was a rather futile effort trying to defend 166 at Taunton that came next.

T20 Highlight Of The Week: A Man Falls Over

I’ve bored myself just talking about it. And the Rubicon Moments of the Week or whatever-you-call-it video on YouTube/Facebook seems to struggle to find items of note from the recent T20 games. This week sees a Glammy shot going for four… only included ‘cos a middle-aged man fell over the fence.

But to end on a lighter note, Cardiff has been stripped of the right to host the Test match between England and West Indies next summer because of the club’s late payment of a staging fee for last month’s rain-drowned Test match versus Sri Lanka. I wonder which ground named Lord’s will get to host it instead…

ECB chief executive David Collier said: “This decision has been taken… with a view to assisting the club in developing a sustainable long-term business plan for staging international cricket.” There are alarm bells and they are going off. I can’t tell if it’s a drill or the real thing.

Glammy chief executive Alan Hamer came back with: “The ECB have agreed to extend the deadline for Glamorgan Cricket to meet the financial terms of the match agreement.” As long as the repayment period isn’t as long as the time it’ll take me to pay off my student loan, perhaps things aren’t so bad after all.

Anyway, the Test is out to tender again. ECB continues to persist with the rather ridiculous policy of getting clubs to bid against each other until the wealthy ones win and the not-so-wealthy ones reach for a HUUUUUUUGE red felt-tip pen to fill in their financial reports for the year. Don’t ever say cricket isn’t progressive.