Thursday, December 18, 2008

2009 Fixture List

The new fixture list for the 2009 cricket season was released today and produced a few talking points.

The County Championship retains it's usual format with the two divisions, however the Friends Provident trophy has abandoned it's regional system. The shire will therefore enjoy fixtures against Surrey, Yorkshire, Sussex and Durham in this year's group stages; unfortunately having two derby fixtures against Somerset dropped. However, I'm looking forward to trips to some grounds we haven't played at in recent years.

There is a change to the Twenty20 cup format for this season as well. In previous years we have seen a bonanza of the short format, packed into a few weeks in June. This has seen supporters being asked to turn out as much as three times in a week, and, particularly with tighter financial times, attendances have declines. The hope is that by spreading out the matches from late May to the end of June, interest will reignite.

I also believe it will help the cricket, because the close proximity of the matches means teams often feel the full force of momentum - both positive and negative. The shire last year got stuck in a rut of losing games, and it was no suprise they reeled off five consecutive winless matches. Leicestershire also sufferred, and the double-winners finished with only two wins from nine completed matches. The break will offer teams a chance to regroup in a different cricketing environment; although the impact on championship cricket in that period could be interesting - I recall Ross Taylor at Lord's last summer flashing at one of his early deliveries and spooning a catch: that test match came after nine weeks of IPL.

The other change for the shire is the Cheltenham festival - which I am personally disappointed with. It opens on a Sunday with a championship match, followed by pro40 matches on the Friday and Sunday, then the second championship match from the Monday-Thursday of the second week and the final match - a pro40 - on the Friday.

Therefore two of the three pro40 matches - which attract the biggest crowds - are on weekdays, therefore denying many people who will be at work or school the opportunity to attend. In addition, there is no cricket on the middle Saturday - always a popular day for spectators, and the championship matches are placed on days that are unattractive to corporate customers - Friday for instance has been abandoned, where businesses like to enjoy a whole day of entertainment, and the club can offer a wider range of catering options.

There is also a lack of Sunday cricket in the latter part of the season, which is a great shame for many spectators who enjoy a Sunday afternoon at the cricket - a traditional cricket-watching environment, and the club will suffer through reduced attendances and more reliance will be placed on television money - of which made up 50% of the shire's revenue last year.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

2008 Season

(one-dayers only; 'cause it's too depressing to write the news of Championship matches!!)

**The shire storm to opening game victory in the Friends Provident Trophy, beating Worcester by 7 wickets.
**Glos slump to defeat at the Rose Bowl via Duckworth Lewis, despite racking up 350-5 in 50 overs.
**A trip to the new Swalec Stadium sees the Glaws get their second one-day win in 2008 with a thumping 6 wicket win over Glamorgan.
**Winter and "the shire" flag are there to see it!!
**A fantastic 140 from Craig Spearman helps the shire to chase down 290 to beat Somerset at Bristol.
**In a game reduced to 20-overs, The Shire chase down 144 to win to beat Hampshire at Bristol.
**Washouts against Somerset and Worcester ensure glos qualify for the FPT 1/4 finals.
**The dirty Yorkshire scum beat The Shire at Bristol to move into the semi-finals.
**Winter and the flag saw the game, the glos didn't bat well enough and Yorks were never under pressure.

**The glos get off to the worst possible start to the Twenty20 Cup with a humilating 9 wicket defeat at Worcester.
**Winter and the flag saw a batting display that had potential to post a large total, but wickets fell at bad times.
**They also saw a bowling display that defied belief at how absolutely dreadful it was. Absolutely embarrassing.
**The shire tie their first home twenty20 match against Warwickshire. A game they most certainly should have won slipped away, as Anthony Ireland was removed from the attack for bowling 2 beamers.
**Northants comfortably beat the shire in the Father's Day fixture.
**The flag was their as very uninteligent batting left too much pressure on the middle/lower order and the glaaaws went down by 27 runs.
**The misery continues for the shire as Northants complete the double in Milton Keynes. A 110-run 5th wicket stand steers them to a 6-wicket win.
**Further bad news for the glaaaaaaws as Alex Gidman is ruled out of the remainder of the Twenty20 period with an ankle injury.

**Craig Spearman's injury against Northants requires surgery and he looks likely to miss the rest of the season.

**The shire sign AJ Harris on loan from Notts. The 34-year-old took 49 wickets in Notts County Championship winning 2005 season.
**26-year-old David Wigley also signs on loan from Northants, as the shire see games at Cardiff and the big derby at Taunton washed out.
**Wigley made his Twenty20 debut against the shire in 2004. He makes the glaaaaws his fourth county.

**Club stalwart Bryan "Bomber" Wells dies aged 77. See posted article.

**Despite new faces and a 4-day break from cricket, glos lose again, this time at Edgbaston as Warwickshire claim an 8-wicket victory.
**Winter was glad he was on holiday as the shire are bowled out for a measly 131 - Chris Taylor's 66 from 60 balls the top score.
**THE SHIRE WIN!! A decent all-round performance see the glos break their Twenty20 duck with a 7-wicket win over Glamorgan.
**Ian Fisher claims 3-20 as glammy are restricted to just 130-6 and Will Poterfield's 62 lead the reply as glaaaaws got home with 8 balls to spare.
**The misery returns for the shire as they are bundled out for just 93 in reply to Worcester's 152-8.
**Winter was glad he was playing cricket as, despite having Wocester 10-2 with Hick and Solanki back in the hutch, and then 91-6, the glos let Worcs slip.
**The glaaaws top order fail again. Only 4 reach double figures as the shire lose by 59 runs.
**A miserable Twenty20 campaign ends in a miserable evening with the home derby against Somerset abandoned without a ball being bowled.
**The shire finish bottom of the Midland/West division - their worst ever finish in the history of the competition.

**The shire release Will Rudge, Ian Fisher, Mark Hardinges and Carl Greenidge for next season.
**The shire offer a trial to 19-year-old Nottingham-born Ian Saxelby. He will make his debut against Middlesex at Bristol.

**The shire's first pro40 match of 2008 at Old Trafford is abandoned 2hrs before the start of play!

**Following discussions, Carl Greenidge is released from the remainder of his contract.
**After another farce of a Championship match, the shire bring in another loanee - Oliver Newby - from Lancashire. The 23-year-old took 18 Championship wickets last season and is on loan for the entire Cheltenham festival.
**ALEX GIDMAN commits his future to the shire by signing a new contract. He said he was "very excited about working with John Bracewell again".
**Tom Richardson described Gidman as a "very important part of the team both now and in the future".
**STEVE KIRBY also commits his future to the shire by penning a new deal. He also sights the return of John Bracewell as an influencial factor: "I am still massively ambitious to play for England and I feel he can help me continue to improve."

**The shire lose to Notts by 9 runs via Duckworth-Lewis in their second pro40 match, at Cheltenham.
**Winter witnessed an improved bowling display - particularly from Will Rudge - but then failings once again in the top order batting contributed to falling behind the D/L rate once the rain arrived.
**The shire's 3rd pro40 - against Sussex - is washed out without a ball being bowled.
**THE GLOS WIN!! A dramatic penultimate-ball 2-wicket win over Hampshire in the final Cheltenham festival fixture gives the shire their first win since mid-June!
**Despite being set a formidable 237 to win in 35 overs, Marcus North's 56 from 52 ballls set up the outgoing Mark Hardinges to smash two sixes and then a four off the penultimate ball to give the shire victory!!

**STEVE SNELL becomes the latest player to commit their future to the shire by penning a new three year deal. He commented that he was "very much looking forward to John Bracewell's input as Coach".
**JACK RUSSEL described Snell as "having the world as his oyster" should he continue to work hard at his game.
**STEVE KIRBY gains an England Lions call up for the forthcoming matches against South Africa at Grace Road and Derby.
**RICHARD DAWSON, the former Yorkshire and England off-spinner has signed for the shire ahead of their championship match against Glamorgan. The 28 year-old was out of contract.

**The glos pull off an unbelievable win against rivals Somerset in the pro40 at Taunton.
**Despite a second-wicket stand of 302 - in which Marcus Trescothick made a brilliant 184 - Mark Hardinges' 80 not out steered the shire ahead of the D/L score when rain called a halt to the match.

**MARCUS NORTH has returned to Australia ahead of his Australia A tour to India.
**The shire have signed Tazmanian bowler Brendan Drew on a short-term deal.

**The glos keep their pro40 title hopes alive by beating Middlesex by three wickets at Bristol.
**After Steve Kirby had taken 4-27 to restrict the visitors to 183-9 in 40 overs, the shire stumbled along in the middle overs but Hamish Marshall smashed 102 from 97 balls to steer the shire home with eight balls to spare.

**RICHARD DAWSON has signed a two-year contract with the shire.

**Glos lose by 21 runs against Worcester in a crunch pro40 match at New Road.
**Steve Davies 119 helps Worcester to 316-5 and despite a quickfire start from Marshall and Ali in a 92-run opening stand, regular wickets saw the shire fall behind the asking rate and they fell short despite a brilliant 79 from 61 balls from Chris Taylor.

**The shire are rolled over by Durham in their final po40 match.
**ALEX GIDMAN is run-out first ball as glos are shot out for just 119 - despite being 62-1.
**And despite Steve Kirby's 3-28, Michael DiVenuto's 52 not out, sees Durham stride home with 13 overs to spare.

**A disappointing end to a poor season for the shire. The final match told the story of the season - a distinct lack of runs from a seemingly talented batting line up; and poor back-up bowling.
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