Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Glos declare record Loss

Gloucestershire have announced a deficit of £167,000 after tax for the year ending 30 September 2009 - an unconfirmed record loss.

The news comes as a result of a turbulent cricket season where gate receipts fell and squad costs grew and represents another year of deficit for the club.

The cricket season proved a turbulent one in the midst of a recession and Glos lost out with gate receipts 23% lower than 2008. This despite a Friends Provident quarter-final match and the marketing department's gladiator-themed efforts.

Naturally the recession would have impacted upon ticket sales but the club's disastrous Twenty20 campaign would certainly have turned many a punter away - reflected in very poor crowds for the games against Northamptonshire and Glamorgan, the latter being played on the supposedly popular Sunday slot.

Another interesting budget shortfall was £48,000 on membership. The club declared sales were higher than expected when the news of John Bracewell's return was made permanent so how can that spurt disastrously tail off into lower-than-expected membership sales?

One can forgive excess player expenditure because the money was wisely spent: tying Franklin down for the whole season and signing promising youngsters Gemaal Hussain and Rob Woodman. But another season's loss has seen the playing staff cut to minimal levels - the depth that everyone craves for simply isn't available because of finance and Jon Batty will almost certainly be the only close season acquisition.

With a more spectator friendly fixture list for 2010, the club is hoping to return to surplus, something which Honoury Treasurer Roger Cooke described as "imperative". 2010 will also see the club itself profit from a benefit year.

Chairman John Light has declared the ground redevelopment will not be affected, saying : "Every avenue is being vigorously explored" to fund the £10million scheme. Light suggested residential housing is being considered, the first time that idea has been presented but perhaps a necessary exercise after the initial plans for student accommodation had to be scaled down.

Light also enforced how reliant counties are on ECB handouts by saying the return of cricket to terrestrial television "would be a disaster". Gloucestershire will certainly be hoping the Sky money remains as they seek to turn round the club's financial situation but the future survival of county cricket has to lie away from handouts.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Members consulted over Constitution changes

Gloucestershire CCC is to propose several changes in the club's constitution for the first time since 2004.

Members will be asked to vote on the proposals ahead of January's AGM.

More to follow...
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Light to stand down

John Light is to stand down as chairman of Gloucestershire County Cricket Club after three years in charge.

Light said he wanted to "enjoy continued good health" and will not be seeking re-election at the AGM in January.

He told "The role of a county chairman increasingly carries greater demands. The nature of the role is changing and we need someone who can help generate the finance needed to realise our excellent plans for the ground."

Light, who will turn 70 next year, underwent major heart and prostate surgery in 2007 and is standing down due to medical advice.

He has overseen a transformation of the club, particularly in the past season, with the appointment of John Bracewell and the commitment to develop young players. He feels he will be leaving the Shire in good health: "I believe firmly that we now have the structure in place to take Gloucestershire forward in the future, both on and off the field."

The outgoing chairman stated that he was a cricket person, but someone with a background in business was necessary to continue to drive the club forward alongside chief-executive, Tom Richardson. News that may concern many who feel it is precisely a cricketing person that is required in the top job in order to ground the Shire as a cricket club.

Light will continue in his role as chair of the Cotswold Cricket Association and still be involved with the Gloucestershire Cricket Board.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Light against free-to-air Cricket

Gloucestershire chairman, John Light, has spoken out against the proposed change to protected sporting events which would see home Ashes series be returned to free-to-air television.

His comments came as the England and Wales Cricket Board welcomed a call by the government to open up a period of consultation over the proposed move.

Speaking to, Light voiced his displeasure at the possibility of the funding structure provided by Sky's contract with the ECB being "sabotaged": "The money from television contracts has ensured a clear and positive pathway from the village green to the County Club."

He spoke of the "fabric" of cricket in Gloucestershire being in danger were funding to be cut, but surely Mr. Light is taking a narrow-minded perspective? Does the chairman not want to see cricket coverage opened up to the masses, so more will be tempted along to Nevil Road? And more will be motivated to get down their local clubs? Thereby strengthening cricket in the county.

This blog believes that any opposition to cricket being taken off subscription channels is merely interested in numbers and figures: they envisage a large hole in the finances that will cause havoc to future projects. Granted, county cricket would take a knock in the pocket from reduced handouts, but surely everyone wants counties to stand on their own two feet? Is not enticing more in through the gates the best way to achieve this? And is putting the show on for all to see not the best way to go about doing so?

Mr. Light cites the financial aid given to grassroots cricket in the county as the case for Sky to continue their monopoly on the game, but providing better facilities is a wasted exercise if no-one is there to use them. Mr. Light suggests it is this that gets people playing cricket: "surely participants are better than couch potatoes?" Indeed sir they are, however, not many ten-year-olds asses the quality of their club's pavilion before deciding to take up the game. Participants are stimulated through inspiration, and only by giving people this inspiration by allowing them the opportunity to witness the game at it's best, will they wish to go out and recreate it.

Granted funding will be reduced. Granted a pavilion or two may not be built. But there are other sources of funding. And perhaps more funding could be available if the counties sacrificed their handouts? Just a thought.

The negative impact that the terrestrial turn off has caused needs to be reversed. Cricket needs to be beamed into everyone's home. Our sport needs mass coverage to gain mass popularity; to gain mass participation. Funding shortage or not, Mr. Light et al. must not be blinded by the impact of finance in the short-term. They must see that the greater good of the sport will be served by a whole nation being able to watch it and a whole nation being able to revere in the wonders of cricket.

2010 Fixtures Released

The fixture list for the 2010 season has been released, and reveals some key changes to the cricketing calender.

Gloucestershire will begin their 2010 season with a County Championship match against Northamptonshire on Thursday 15th April at Nevil Road and the new ECB 40 League will be played out across the whole season with a break for the new Friends Provident Twenty20 competition, which begins on Friday 4th June.

A key change to the County Championship matches is the shift to midweek cricket: many of the games are Monday or Tuesday starts. This was the wish of many clubs who cited Saturday's as a non-cricket watching day due to the numerical strength of club cricket. Although a curious insertion of a Saturday evening fixture - T20 v Hampshire at Bristol - will be an interesting experiment.

The Saturday fixture will be part of the new Friends Provident T20 that will be played out over a much larger period - from the opening fixture at Sophia Gardens on Friday 4th June until Sunday 18th July when Surrey are the visitors to Nevil Road; respite is found in two County Championship matches that break-up the barren six-week period of the shortest format.

The fixtures show potential for the Gloucester festival to be renewed - with two Twenty20 matches highlighted as "TBC"; a return to Gloucester is subject to a sponsorship deal being arranged. This blog sincerely hopes a deal can be arranged to secure cricket back to the heart of the county.

The Shire will visit far fewer outgrounds next season: Arundel for a championship match and Uxbridge for a T20 are the only temporary away venues scheduled. This blog is most pleased that Lord's is back on the agenda, although disappointed at consecutive trips to the capital for back-to-back championship matches.

The Cheltenham festival is set for a slightly reduced format; two championship matches are flanked by two 40-over games from Thursday 29th July until Sunday 8th August. The Thursday start is very curious; one would have thought beginning on a Friday would have kickstarted the festival well, and is bound to be a more attractive day for commercial sales and supporters to take a day off work. This becomes all the more strange as Tuesday 3rd August is a blank day - the whole schedule could therefore be moved along a day to provide a Friday start.

The season will finish a week earlier than last year in order to accommodate the T20 champions league - a shame that the ECB have bowed to India's insistence once more, but allows for the final of the ECB 40 League to provide a grand finale to the season.

The fixture list appears nicely balanced; the ECB 40 League has been given an opportunity to develop across the course of the season and should provide a good competition, although this blog advocates for a quarter-final stage also. The longer format, and a Lord's final - under floodlights for the first time, is rightly back at the pinnacle of one-day cricket.

Key Fixtures
OPENING MATCH: Thursday 15 April v Northamptonshire, Bristol, LVCC
FIRST ONE-DAY MATCH: Sunday 25 April v Derbyshire, Bristol, 40L
POTENTIAL GLOUCESTER FESTIVAL: Friday 11th June & Sunday 13th June, T20
LOCAL DERBYS: Friday 18 June v Somerset, Taunton, T20
Friday 16 July v Somerset, Bristol, T20
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL: Thursday 29th July - Sunday 8th August
FINAL MATCH: Monday 13th September v Surrey, Bristol, LVCC

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

David Shepherd passes away

The former Gloucestershire cricketer and international umpire David Shepherd, has died aged 68 after a long battle with cancer.

A most popular and well respected man, Shepherd's skills on the cricket field combined with his wonderful attitude to the game made him a much loved character. In a 14-year career, Shepherd scored 10,672 runs in first-class cricket for Gloucestershire, including 12 hundreds and scored 3,330 runs in 173 one-day appearances.

After beginning umpiring in 1981, his rapid elevation to the international circuit was testament to his ability, and his individual idiosyncrasies, particularly his aversion to 'Nelson', produced joy everywhere he went. He stood in three consecutive world cup finals amongst 172 one-day internationals, and 92 tests; his last appearance coming at the Oval in 2005.

Gloucestershire chairman, John Light, paid this tribute: "He was friendly, outgoing and straightforward. He believed cricket was a simple game and he took a straightforward approach to it in his cricket and his umpiring; he always put a smile on your face."

A sad loss to the game, he will be truly missed; sympathies go to his wife and family.

Glos swoop for Batty

Gloucestershire have signed wicketkeeper-batsman Jon Batty from Surrey on a three-year deal.

The deal comes days after Steve Adshead was released and is a quality signing that will add much value to the squad, albeit not the most forward-thinking move.

35-year-old Batty, who described the move to link up with John Bracewell and Jack Russell as an "exciting opportunity", is a quality cricketer who will fill the hole that Glos have at the top of the order, and his attributes, particularly in one-day cricket, are cause for excitement.

John Bracewell described the signing as "the missing link between the first and second divisions" and claimed his versatility in the batting line up will give Glos "great flexibility for all competitions".

Batty, who has spent his entire career at Surrey, played 179 first-class matches for the Oval-based club averaging 34.05; his 20 hundreds made him the leading Surrey wicketkeeper-batsman by some distance. He will bring the valuable experience of winning championships in 1999 and 2002 and the Sunday League and Twenty20 Cup in 2003.

Many hoping for a younger signing, such as ex-Hampshire Tom Burrows, will be disappointed, but Batty was a signing that could be afforded and is able to come into the side and provide a major impact while working with the younger wicketkeepers in the squad and aiding their development.

Official report:

Monday, October 26, 2009

Adshead's contract not renewed

It has been announced that Gloucestershire have decided not to renew the contract of wicketkeeper Steve Adshead.

The move almost certainly confirms his move to Worcestershire, a deal many believed was done well before the end of the season, and is a further cricketer that has been on the staff for a reasonable amount of time, to depart Nevil Road.

Having joined the club in 2004, Adshead served the majority of his time as the one-day wicketkeeper and played in 89 matches, scoring 1,378 runs at 23.36 with 92 catches and 26 stumpings.

A fairly average set of statistics are replicated in his first-class performances, where he played 70 matches, scoring 3,077 runs at 32.05 with three hundreds; 185 catches and 13 stumpings also.

2009 saw a much improved Adshead, and he recorded highest scores in both forms of the game. His 156 not out at Southend was a remarkable performance as he shared a partnership with James Franklin that set up a memorable victory against Essex.

He will depart having never fulfilled his true potential at Glos, but the decision to release him was motivated, in the words of John Bracewell, by a need to "continue to strengthen the squad at every opportunity." Words that suggest a direct replacement is being sought, and the club won't simply persist with Steve Snell and Richard Coughtrie.

Already names such as Jon Batty from Surrey and the exciting youngster Tom Burrows, recently released by Hampshire, have been bandied around as potential targets, and certainly the latter of those would be very much a coup for Glos.

Official report:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Draw for ECB 40 League made

Gloucestershire have been drawn alongside the Netherlands in group B for next season's revamped 40-over competition: the ECB 40 League.

Trips to Derbyshire, Essex, Middlesex, Northants and last year's 50-over opponents Yorkshire are also in stall for Glos following the draw made at Lords. Derbyshire in particular, are pretty unfamiliar to Glos in one-day cricket, but plenty of matches have been played against Northants in recent times.

The format was eventually decided after months of review; each team will play each other home and away with matches predominantly on Sunday afternoon's (one can only assume a standard and sensible start time will be arranged). The final returns to a showcase September slot on Saturday 18th September - an excellent move, with nearly all club league fixtures having been finished by then.

But in a poor move, only semi-finals are scheduled, therefore just the group winners and a best runner-up will qualify, potentially creating countless dead rubbers - why the ECB have not learned from the failed north/south group system in the Friends Provident Trophy is a mystery.

Gloucestershire; Derbyshire; Essex; Middlesex; Netherlands; Northamptonshire; Yorkshire

Official report:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Glos players in England Performance squad

Ian Saxelby & Vikram Banerjee have been included the category C England Performance Squad for the winter.

The squad, for young emerging players with little first-class experience, will give the players opportunity to develop their games at the national academy in Loughborough and the Glos players will be joined by talented youngsters including Kent's Sam Northeast and Max Waller of Somerset.

The squad will also attent the CSA high-performance centre in Pretoria in December, with the possibility of being included on the England Lions tour after Christmas.

Another plus for the youth developing through the Gloucestershire ranks, it will provide both players with a platform to improve during the close season, and, for Banerjee in particular, to attempt to gain a regular first-team place for next season.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Kirby named in Team of the Year

Steve Kirby was named in the Professional Cricketer's Association's team-of-the-year at an awards dinner last week.

The accolade follows being named Gloucestershire player & bowler of the year, and is further reward for a fine season by the 32-year-old, in which he claimed 64 first-class wickets.

Kirby has performed magnificently for the Shire this season, and led the line wonderfully well with his raw determination providing some memorable spells throughout the season, most notably his 5-44 in the second innings against Kent at Beckenham, when he fought Glos back into the match despite a good batting wicket and unbearably hot conditions.

Steve Kirby is a fantastic character to have on a cricket field, always wears his heart on his sleeve and will hopefully continue to spearhead the attack next season.

PCA Team of the Year:

Marcus Trescothick (Somerset), Andrew Strauss (Middlesex & England, captain), Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire & England), Ed Joyce (Sussex), Ian Blackwell (Durham), Craig Kieswetter (Somerset), James Foster (Essex, wicketkeeper), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire & England), James Tredwell (Kent), Graham Onions (Durham & England), Steve Kirby (Gloucestershire)

Friday, October 02, 2009

Spearman ends Glos career

Craig Spearman has ended his Gloucestershire career by deciding to leave the club a year in advance of the expiry of his contract.

His eight years at Bristol brought some wonderful cricket to the West country, and his record 341 will be his lasting legacy on the club.

It was his ability to completely dominate an attack that made him such a prolific batsmen and few would argue that Spearman in his pomp was one of the greatest sights one could wish to witness on a cricket field, such was his strokemaking ability. He made 7,176 first-class runs for Gloucestershire at 38.79 including 20 hundreds and 28 fifties.

After leaving New Zealand for a banking career in London in 2001, John Bracewell tempted him down the M4 to resume his cricket and so began the entertainment, the high-point of which came in 2004 in the leafy setting of Gloucester's Archdeacon Meadow. Like the Indian's flocking to watch Sachin Tendulkar, the Glos faithful hurried into the ground to admire Spearman's mastery in becoming only the third Gloucestershire player to record a triple century on his way to the club record first-class score.

The King's school ground was also the venue for the New Zealander's highest one-day score, as he struck 153 from just 123 balls against Warwickshire in 2003. It was his ability for fast scoring that made him such a threat in the shorter form of the game. 4,211 runs at 36.62 doesn't exactly do justice to Spearman's impetus at the top of the order - he was able to drive over the top in total control and he played a vital role at the top of the order.

Hindsight will tell us that his Glos career was ended in 2008 when struck on the eye by a Johannes van der Wath bouncer at Milton Keynes. Such was the impact of this blow, Spearman would never appear on the pitch the same again and it was a disappointment to see him desperately trying to resurrect his game, but continually failing. A sad slide to the end for a wonderful player who brought so much joy to those who watched him.

Craig Spearman will always be remembered as a player who was able to provide a miraculous innings, and we did get a final hurrah with his innings at Headingley in the Friends Provident Trophy earlier this season. His 92 from 71 balls was vintage Spearman and, like many of his majestic innings, helped Glos to a memorable victory.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Brown to leave Glos

David Brown has agreed to leave Gloucestershire one year ahead of the end of his contract.

The all-rounder's departure continues the cupboard emptying exercise that has occurred since John Bracewell arrived back at Bristol, and will hopefully pave the way for quality signings.

Grant Hodnett, Matthew Gitsham, Tom Stayt and now Brown have been offloaded, and with continuing rumours over Craig Spearman's future, there certainly appears scope for the calibre of signing member's are hoping for.

Being a small county on a very limited budget, it is sensible that players are not kept while only providing a limited impact at the top level.

With a strong academy set up and many youngsters breaking into the first team, the second eleven can now become an even better breeding ground for the future of the club, and quality can be added to strengthen the club as a whole.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Glos blitz Notts in season finale

pro40: Gloucestershire 58-1 beat Nottinghamshire 57 by nine wickets

Gloucestershire gained only their second pro40 win of the season, as they destroyed the Nottinghamshire batting and won by nine wickets at Trent Bridge.

Bottom-placed Notts were overran to be dismissed for just 57 in the 18th over, a quite remarkable performance by the Glos attack. There was still time for another Will Porterfield failure, before Kadeer Ali waltzed the Shire home with six boundaries and the West country fans were back on the M42 by 3.30.

Fears another Glos one-day struggle were completely dispelled by Gemaal Hussain, who fired out both openers before Anthony Ireland began a remarkable spell of 8-4-10-3.

It was very pleasing to see the back-up bowlers taking wickets at first team level. It is vitally important that the club has depth, and in Ireland, Hussain and young David Payne, the Shire are developing a useful band of bowlers, with all three able to come into the side and perform competently.

The batting had an easy task chasing down just 58, and the task over the winter will be to develop the batting into a more effective unit, but a grand end to a season of competitiveness for Gloucestershire.

Official report:

Friday, September 25, 2009

Glos romp to final match Victory

LVCC: Gloucestershire 552 beat Kent 264 & 265 by an innings and 23 runs (PTS: Glos 22, Kent 4)

Gloucestershire completed a memorable win over the champions Kent inside three days at Bristol.

A huge victory margin was just reward for some excellent cricket and demonstrated what might have been this season as they picked up maximum points for the second successive home match. 22 points was not enough to gain promotion however, as Northamptonshire claimed victory to move out of reach.

The West country sunshine provided the ideal backdrop for a quality performance; the batting atoning for their feeble efforts at Beckenham to destroy the champions. But it was again the bowling today that wrapped up the win and demonstrated why it is the best attack in the division.

The wickets again spread around, it was Steve Kirby that set the ball rolling with a ripping delivery that flattened Rob Key's stumps; his 64th wicket of the season would come when castling Mat Coles later in proceedings. But pure determination from Kirby blasted away a rapid opening stand of 101.

Hamish Marshall again got amongst the wickets. The New Zealander's usefulness with the ball again on display as he produced two breakthroughs: enticing Darren Stevens into a loose drive to be caught behind, then nipping one back into Justin Kemp as he played on.

Jon Lewis and Anthony Ireland claimed two wickets each - the victims spread around demonstrating how well this attack has performed as a unit this year; Glos have claimed more bowling points than any other side in the division.

The sun sets on another championship season, but Glos can be proud of their achievements. Although the batting has struggled, they have competed in all matches and have been a pleasure to watch; this final victory a testament to how far they have come in a year and supporters can be extremely encouraged for next season.

Official report:

Franklin called up by NZ

James Franklin has been called up by New Zealand for the champions trophy & has flown out to South Africa.

He will therefore take no further part in the match & effectively retires on 104.

Under competition regulations he can be replaced. Anthony Ireland comes into the side & can take a full part in the match.

Franklin therefore ends a wonderful season with Gloucestershire. 31 championship wickets at 29.12 was an excellent contribution to an attack that was arguably the most potent in the division, and his 904 runs at 50.22 invaluable. At times he has provided a much needed lower order boost, and has shown much of his international calibre in some wonderful knocks; yesterday's 104 oozed class.

The all-rounder is in talks to return to Bristol next season, and the Glos faithful will certainly be wishing him back to the West Country.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Glos in command at Bristol

DAY 2 Close: Gloucestershire 439-5 lead Kent 264 by 175 runs (PTS: Glos 8, Kent 3)
LIVE ball-by-ball commentary on

Gloucestershire enjoyed a wonderful day two against the champions Kent at Bristol; racking up 439-5, they have built up a commanding lead and will look to complete a maximum-points victory still with two days to play.

For the first time, the Glos line-up continually recovered from set-backs, rebuilt the innings and meaningful contributions can be found all down the card; Alex Gidman the only major failure.

Scoring above four-an-over throughout the day, Marshall's 86-ball 87 was one of four sumptuous innings in the day but he again gave it away with a loose piece of cricket, falling caught behind hanging his bat outside off stump and falling to the gentle seamers of Darren Stevens. Chris Taylor also played a poor stroke, top edging a pull stroke seven balls after tea; a hundred was there for the taking for both players.

It took the more focused mentality of James Franklin to bring three figures up. Franklin often has the awe of a higher class cricketer, and it was on show today, as he displayed admirable discipline. His patience was tested by James Tredwell regularly, but the New Zealander devised a plan to score against him and was able to work the off-spinner well, including the shot of the day - his lofted drive over extra-cover for six was truly the shot of an international player.

Steve Adshead cashed in late in the day, as Mat Coles had a championship debut to forget. 17 overs 1-121 for the 19 year-old, while Adshead made his merry well to 86 not out and will have high hopes to extend that tally, and Gloucestershire's dominance, tomorrow.

LIVE coverage continues:

Official report:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Decent opening day for Glos/Franklin set to stay

DAY 1 Close: Gloucestershire 21-0 v Kent 264 (PTS: Glos 3, Kent 2)
LIVE ball-by-ball commentary on

Gloucestershire will be pleased with their efforts on day one of the final county championship match against Kent, as they bowled their visitors out for 264 and closed on a solid 21-0.

On a green pitch, it was a good toss to win but Rob Key & Geraint Jones played well, but Jon Lewis found some extra movement to get a breakthrough and the wickets then tumbled. Lewis swung his way to four wickets, and James Franklin also exploited useful conditions to claim 5-30.

The tiflex ball again worked it's 30-over trick, and Lewis found some extra bounce off a length to catch Rob Key's glove on the way through to Steve Adshead, before Darren Stevens and James Hockley were both out LBW to Franklin shouldering arms.

At 139-6, Glos would have fancied rolling the champions for an extremely low score, but Alex Blake played some beautiful strokes for 47 and Simon Cook thrashed his way to 60 not out from just 39 balls to push Kent to a respectable score.

The boundaries are extremely small & runs can come very quickly, therefore Kent's 264 is only a par one, & Glos will see over 300 tomorrow as a realistic target; they desperately need three batting points.

  • James Franklin looks set to return as overseas player next season after Tom Richardson declared talks were taking place and the New Zealander is keen to stay.

The all-rounder's signature will scupper the hopes of many for a world class opening batsmen; however, few will be available due to the IPL and Franklin's contributions this season cannot be disputed. It will a dabble into the domestic transfer market to attract two batsmen that this squad certainly needs.

LIVE coverage continues:

Official report:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Final week set for Drama

Gloucestershire v Kent
LIVE ball-by-ball commentary on

Gloucestershire enter the final week of the LV county championship season as one of five teams that could claim the second promotion place into the top flight of English cricket.

All the promotion-chasing sides are in action and there will be plenty of key moments that will determine the outcome of the second division.

Essex currently hold second place by just three points, but they travel to Derbyshire who are also in the mix - an Essex win would almost certainly see them promoted; a Derbyshire win would open the door for all the other sides - particularly Glamorgan, who travel to the Oval to play a very downbeat Surrey side, and will certainly fancy their chances of picking up maximum points - a lot will depend on whether Surrey can produce a response to their recent poor performances.

Northamptonshire are in the prime position. They play last-placed Leicestershire, and will be expected to claim victory at Wantage Road - a result that would leave only Essex able to overhaul them. Therefore the betting must surely be with Northants; the chasing pack will be hoping Leicestershire's glimpses of competitive cricket this season - notably against Glos at Grace Road back in August - can hold their opponents.

Gloucestershire need to beat Kent at Bristol, probably with maximum points. They will not be facing Martin van Jaarsveld, who has flown home for personal reasons, nor Ryan MacLaren, who has also returned to South Africa.

A result wicket is likely at Bristol, therefore Glos will most probably go with the side that beat Surrey, as they will not want to provide Kent spinner James Tredwell with any encouragement and they will back themselves to out-bowl Kent in the seam department. Those tactics however, would make batting points a touch trickier to come-by, but a four-day draw cannot be risked given the circumstances.

Gloucestershire will be looking to avenge defeat at Beckenham earlier this season, where they competed well against a Kent side then below them in the table; how their respective fortunes have differred since that fixture.

The narrowest league table since the divisional split in 2000 could see any one of several very well matched teams gain promotion - who will be able to seize the opportunity in this final round?

Gloucestershire (from): W. Porterfield, K. Ali, H. Marshall, A. Gidman (c), C. Taylor, J. Franklin, S. Adshead (wkt), R. Dawson, I. Saxelby, J. Lewis, S. Kirby, A. Ireland, R. Woodman, G. Hussain

Kent (from): R. Key (c), S. Northeast, G. Jones (wkt), J. Hockley, D. Stevens, J. Kemp, A. Blake, J. Tredwell, S. Cook, A. Khan, M. Coles, F. Edwards

Follow the final round of the county championship LIVE on from 10:25 on Wednesday.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Glos battle out Cardiff Draw

LVCC: Glamorgan 410 & 171-8dec. drew with Gloucestershire 286 & 281-9 (PTS: Glam 12, Glos 9)

Gloucestershire fought hard to grind out a draw on the final day against Glamorgan to claim nine points from the match.

For a while, victory was a distinct possibility, but no batsmen could respond well enough to Will Porterfield's grafted 81 and it took a 31 ball defiance from Steve Kirby to secure the draw at the death.

Victory was very much in the Shire's sights, with Will Porterfield's painstaking progress gathering the innings along. It was an essential innings from the Ireland captain, who batted the time necessary to present a shot at the target - once again, no-one batted enough time to get Glos over the line. Hamish Marshall, Alex Gidman and Chris Taylor all came in and looked good, but failed to remain with Porterfield long enough to win the match.

It was difficult batting against the turning ball and experienced hands of Robert Croft and Dean Cosker - particularly for the left-hander - and the home side were able to chip away at the wickets to move themselves into favouritism as the final hour began. Captain Jamie Darlymple introduced himself sporadically, and broke partnerships with his three wickets - including the late dismissal of Jon Lewis, which saw a nervy final seven deliveries for the Glos final pair to survive.

Between the sides, they conjured a wonderful final day spectacle that showcased the county championship in fine style. Glos will be pleased that their promotion hopes were not killed off in the final scene, but it will take a favourable run of results for the Shire to win promotion in the final round of matches.

Gloucestershire's final match of the season will be broadcast LIVE on from 10:25 on Wednesday 23rd September.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Glos gain ground on day three

DAY 3 Close: Glamorgan 410 & 169-8 lead Gloucestershire 286 by 293 runs (PTS: Glam 8, Glos 5)
LIVE ball-by-ball commentary on

Gloucestershire came back into this county championship match at Cardiff with a spirited day three, but still face a tough ask to take a positive result.

A great effort in the field has presented a platform for the batsmen to go and win the game and propel Glos back into the promotion mix. It was a much more determined effort with the ball and greater consistency, together with a poor Glamorgan attitude to their second-innings, saw Glos run through the second-innings batting to reclaim some initiative.

Three wickets each for Steve Kirby and Jon Lewis - the latter who bowled to a precise plan of attack outside off-stump - has brought Glos back into contention and while a disciplined and measured batting effort will be required to win the game, the like not considered capable of by the current Glos line-up, the Shire do have a chance to win and they will need to grasp it to bring themselves back into the promotion shake-up.

LIVE coverage continues:

Official report:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Batting stumbles as Glam take control

DAY 2 Close: Glamorgan 410 lead Gloucestershire 251-7 by 159 runs (PTS: Glam 7, Glos 5)
LIVE ball-by-ball commentary on

Another miserly batting display by Gloucestershire has seen their promotion chances all but disappear after day two at Cardiff.

Gloucestershire proved that their performance against Surrey was merely a brief improvement, as a lack of discipline again saw the top order fired out, and they still trail by a significant margin with just three wickets remaining.

It is games such as these that good sides convert into their favour, but Gloucestershire continually roll over under pressure. And so it proved as Will Porterfield had everybody questioning his selection with the worst shot of the season; he hung the bat outside the off stump, chipping a catch to point to record a duck and pile the pressure onto Hamish Marshall - who's nervous lack of footwork saw him again dismissed for a single figure score.

Again there were brief fightbacks; Kadeer was undone by personal frustration and was bowled by the patient seam bowling of Jim Allenby, to end a partnership of 81 with Alex Gidman - who himself then reached yards outside his off-stump & feathered a catch behind to bring another batsman's platform to a premature close.

Just when a manageable situation had been achieved, James Franklin missed a sweep and was LBW to Jamie Dalrymple to plunge Glos further into the mire.

The day had actually began well for the visitors: Richard Dawson polished off Glamorgan inside 45 minutes, but another immature batting display has left the Shire on the brink.

LIVE coverage continues:

Official report:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Glos struggle on day One

DAY 1 Close: Glamorgan 380-7 v Gloucestershire (PTS: Glam 4, Glos 2)
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Gloucestershire suffered a major setback in their promotion chances as Glamorgan enjoyed an excellent first day at Cardiff.

Sporadic fightbacks saw Glos slightly balance out the day, but the rapid progress Glamorgan have made has put them into a very advantageous position.

After being inserted, following a good first half-hour, the bowling became wayward & both spinning options were attacked well & the runs flowed in a wicketless morning session.

It was the soft dismissal of Mark Cosgrove that sparked a Glos revival. The spinners then found rhythm & a wicket each threatened to change the day, before a luckless period of play drew Glamorgan into the ascendancy.

Edges past the slips, sweeps over the 'keeper, chinese cuts & balls falling wide or short of fieldsmen were aplenty in the fifth wicket partnership of 112.

But back came Glos with the new ball and three wickets after tea has given them hope of containing the Glamorgan total tomorrow morning.

LIVE coverage continues:

Official report:

Glos set for crucial match

LVCC: Glamorgan v Gloucestershire
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Gloucestershire have picked two spinners to face Glamorgan in what is a crunch match as the LV county championship season comes to the boil.

Alex Gidman lost the toss and Glamorgan decided to bat first on what is expected to be a turning wicket - spinners dominated last week's match against Essex - and as such Glos have included both Richard Dawson and the recalled Vikram Banerjee in their line up.

It is the biggest test for Banerjee, who will be operating on a helpful pitch for the first time this season, and a fantastic chance to grab the first choice spinner's slot. Dawson has been poor ever since he wandered down the M5 and he desperately needs to find some kind of form in a match that could make or break the Shire's season.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

TV nightmare again for Glos

pro40: Yorkshire 173-2 beat Gloucestershire 172 by eight wickets

Gloucestershire took absolutely nothing out of their penultimate pro40 fixture against Yorkshire, as they were totally humiliated at Headingley.

A fairly experienced side simply produced very ordinary cricket; the atmosphere of the team was in stark contrast to that which claimed a memorable win at the same ground earlier in the season, and the cricket reflected that attitude - another television embarrassment for Glos.

The match should have been a glorified practise for next week's crucial county championship match against Glamorgan, however, confidence will have simply taken another blow in this fifth defeat from seven matches.

Richard Dawson looks set for inclusion at Cardiff, after he was picked ahead of Jack Taylor, who missed out on a first team debut; but Dawson was at his inconsistent best - batsmen are never troubled by his bowling and comfortably worked six-an-over from his stint.

Jon Lewis gained a competitive workout, and bowled tidily with 0-15 from six overs, but never fashioned anything to provide hope; Yorkshire negotiated Lewis and picked off the rest of the attack to cruise home and pile more misery on the Glos one-day batsmen.

The top order again blown away - a requisite three wickets down during the powerplay - formed the basis of another display that lacked any of the fundamental skills necessary to play one-day cricket, and was part one of night's catastrophe.

Official report:

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Glos complete best victory of the Season

LVCC: Gloucestershire 523-7dec. beat Surrey 183 & 339 by an innings and one run

All-round cricket saw Gloucestershire complete an excellent victory over Surrey at Bristol and propel themselves back into the promotion shake-up.

It was a professional job in the second innings by Glos, who remained patient with such a commanding lead, and chipped away at the wickets to complete a maximum points victory on the fourth afternoon.

There were plenty of excellent performances to take out of the game; runs for Hamish Marshall and Chris Taylor, and a return to runs for Alex Gidman after a lean spell; Anthony Ireland also took his opportunity and contributed well with the ball.

It was the way in which the Shire recognised an opportunity and brutally seized it to punish their opposition that was most impressive.

Surrey were crumbling against the swinging ball on day two, and Gidman regularly changed his bowlers to keep things fresh and ensure their was no let-up of the assault that began the dominance.

All the bowlers found a consistent length, first morning aside, and allowed their captain to confidently rotate and maintain pressure - credit must go to Stuart Barnes for preparing the best seam attack in the division.

The batting showed exactly what it is capable of. John Bracewell described how all his batsmen have shown glimpses of what they're capable of, but in this match they came right to the fore and played themselves back into form ahead of the crucial last two matches.

Official report:

Friday, September 04, 2009

Glos dominate day three to set up victory

DAY 3 Close: Gloucestershire 523-7dec. v Surrey 183 and 136-3 (PTS: Glos 8 Surrey 2)
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Gloucestershire rammed home their advantage on day three against Surrey at Bristol, driving their opponents into the ground with their highest total this season.

It was wonderful stuff in the morning session as Alex Gidman, Hamish Marshall & Chris Taylor played some marvellous strokes and battered a toiling Surrey attack. Three wickets were then whipped out to give the Shire sight of victory.

With a lead of 340, patience prevailed as the bowlers nagged away, but were frustrated by a 75 opening stand. It was Marshall that continued his usefulness with the ball, producing an edge from Jon Batty to provide the breakthrough.

Alex Gidman again passed his highest first class score with a powerful 176, and shared long partnerships with Marshall & Chris Taylor.

Marshall also had a hundred at his mercy as the overnight pair continued into the morning untroubled before a ludicrous second-run saw the New Zealander run out by a Regana Herath direct hit and brought to and end a 183 stand.

Taylor was dropped on nought and made Surrey rue their error with rapid scoring. Playing shots all round the wicket, he emphasised the Glos dominance against a Surrey attack that simply lacked interest; the "star" Sri Lankan spinner Herath was completely blown away on his Surrey debut - he didn't deserve his two wickets.

In a must win game, Gloucestershire have responded with some great cricket and are on the verge of pulling themselves back up the table.

Coverage continues:

Official report:

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Day Two joy for Glos

DAY 2 Close: Gloucestershire 224-3 lead Surrey 183 by 35 runs (PTS: Glos 4 Surrey 1)
LIVE ball-by-ball commentary on

Gloucestershire brought themselves back into promotion contention on day two at Bristol against Surrey.

A magical morning in which they took 8-73 was followed up by a majestic partnership of 130 between Hamish Marshall and Alex Gidman that grabbed the match by the scruff of the neck.

It was almost as if all the Shire's wishes were answered on a very blustery but sunny day. The bowlers simply operated with far greater consistency & exploited the conditions. The key was length; Saxelby, Ireland & Franklin all bowled fuller & as such posed serious questions of the batsmen, who crumbled as Surrey were dismissed for just 183 after being 102-1.

In reply, a rare solid opening stand of 77 was ruined with three wickets going down for just 11 runs, but an even rarer batting recovery has brought Gloucestershire into the driving seat in a game they must win.

Not without the occassional false stroke, it was back to classic Marshall as he played some delightful strokes. The yardstick is his placement and at times this was sublime, as he pierced the off-side field with regularity and used his feet against Sri Lankan spinner Rangana Herath - one extra cover drive was the essence of footwork, timing and placement against spin bowling.

Alex Gidman was naturally more regimented in his strokemaking, but he too took total control of the bowling, and by six o' clock was pulling back-of-a-length deliveries. He played the shot of the day with a sumptuous back-foot drive as the close came at the wrong time for Glos, with Surrey completely on the ropes.

The bowling succeeded by bowling as an all-round unit, and the batting is threatening to follow suit; if over 400 can be made then the Shire will have a great chance to complete victory - tomorrow morning is crucial.

Coverage continues:

Official report:

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Rain ruins opening day at Bristol

DAY 1 Close: Surrey 96-1 v Gloucestershire
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Only 28 overs were possible on day one of Gloucestershire's county championship match against Surrey at Bristol; a major blow for Glos who need to win the match to bring themselves back into the promotion race.

They won the toss and elected to field, but bowled poorly in favourable conditions. In the absence of Jon Lewis, ruled out with a shin injury, it was Ian Saxelby that took the new ball and he disappointed for the first time.

None of the bowler's opening spells were consistent enough - indeed, Surrey were given a flying start by Jon Batty and Mike Brown. The latter was LBW to James Franklin, a wicket that changed the course of the morning.

The flow of runs stemmed & Steve Kirby worked both batsmen over before bad light & then rain forced the day's abandonment.

Coverage continues:
Official report:

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fifth defeat in seven for Glos

LVCC: Middlesex 342 & 273-7dec. beat Gloucestershire 210 & 225 by 180 runs (PTS: Midd 20, Glos 4)

Gloucestershire slipped to another defeat and continued their disastrous period since the Cheltenham festival began, losing five games from seven as the excellent cricket at the start of the season has been wasted.

The masters of not being able to consolidate, the Shire lost two successive wickets three times in their second innings and slid out of contention for promotion on the fourth afternoon after never looking capable of saving this match.

The failures with the batting have been well documented on this blog and their confidence now shot, one cannot see how improvement will be made in the remaining fixtures - all which would have to be won for a dramatic turnaround to win promotion.

Kadeer received another good delivery but played well for his 48 - despite many calls I do not feel he should be dropped. I would retain Rob Woodman also; he is a good young player feeling his way into first-class cricket.

It was a career-best 5-55 from Gareth Berg that saw Middlesex home. He used the slope extremely well & produced edges from Kadeer, Richard Dawson, Ian Saxelby & Jon Lewis, and produced a wonderful inswinging yorker to hand Steve Adshead a golden duck.

An all-round miserable match for the Shire who have some serious soul-searching to do if they are to compete in the last three games.

The positives were Chris Taylor's runs, Franklin's second-innings 80 not out and the fightback with the ball in the first-innings; promotion isn't out of the equation just yet.

Official report:

Glos stumbling towards defeat

DAY 3 Close: Middlesex 342 & 273-7dec. require seven further wickets to beat Gloucestershire 210 & 55-3 (PTS: Midd 6 Glos 4)

Gloucestershire lost three wickets before stumps to place them on the verge of consecutive defeats on day three at Lords.

After Middlesex declared to set 406 to win, the visitors lost Rob Woodman cheaply, before Alex Gidman recorded a pair and Hamish Marshall again failed; the top order once again crumbling with the best part of four sessions to bat to save the match.

Some big partnerships are required to save the match, something Glos have failed to produce regularly this season, and from somewhere they have to produce rearguard action that none of the remaining batsmen are accustomed to.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Miserable day two plunges Glos into despair

DAY 2 Close: Gloucestershire 196-9 trail Middlesex 342 by 146 runs (PTS: Glos 3 Midd 6)
LIVE ball-by-ball coverage on

John Bracewell gathered the Gloucestershire batsmen on the Lord's outfield before the start of play on day two, and had a serious finger-pointing conversation about their responsibilities; what unfolded totally contradicted the instructions of the director of cricket.

The batting has struggled all season, but has turned into a disgrace since the start of the Cheltenham festival; whenever the ball has swung the batsmen have got into serious difficulties through a lack of foot movement. The performances have seen the Shire playing catch-up in all their fixtures and there has been an reliance on the lower order to bail the side out.

A bail out of sorts occurred as Jon Lewis and Steve Kirby sneaked the total over the follow-on mark, but it was scant consolation for another day of hideous shot making.

Hamish Marshall and Rob Woodman fended at balls they should have left, while James Franklin and Richard Dawson played round deliveries attempting to attack instead of occupy the crease and play the situation.

Chris Taylor was the only man to show the necessary patience. He kept himself out in the middle and steadily accumulated by reverting to the under 11's batting mantra - waiting for the bad ball. He hit 13 boundaries and demonstrated that concentration is of the essence in first-class cricket.

Once again it will take a major recovery act for Gloucestershire to save this match, and with the confidence of the batsmen shattered, it is the dark days of last year rather than the possibility of promotion which is most on the mind.

Coverage continues:
Official report:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Glos fight back after tea at Lords

DAY 1 Close: Middlesex 307-6 v Gloucestershire (PTS: Midd 3 Glos 2)
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Gloucestershire fought back in the evening session to bring themselves back into the game on day one at Lords.

Four wickets after tea brought the visitors back into the game after two sessions of dominance from Middlesex, who had won the toss and played well on a decent pitch, but they failed to capitalise on their position and only just shaded the opening day.

Gloucestershire operated poorly in the morning session, but improved into the afternoon, bowling some good areas and finding much better consistency, albeit with scant reward. The tea break changed the innings and two wickets for Ian Saxelby gave a much more balanced look to the scorecard.

However, it was Hamish Marshall who continued his usefulness with the ball, that created the early inroads. He bowled a nagging area and managed to nip a delivery up the slope to bowl Adam London, who had made a very comfortable 68.

Coverage continues:
Official report:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Adshead set for Worcester switch

Steve Adshead is looking at a move up the M5 to Worcestershire at the end of this season, after the Midlands county expressed their interest in the out-of-contract Gloucestershire gloveman.

Adshead will be expected to move to become the first-choice wicketkeeper at New Road, as Worcestershire are set to lose Steve Davis who has informed them he will not be signing a new contract.

His removal would see Steve Snell move back into the number one slot, enabling the young 'keepers to be given a more consistent chance at second team level and aid their development.

Neither of Gloucestershire's wicketkeepers could be described as outstanding with either bat or gloves as neither has brought any real consistency to their games in recent times; it appears that the intense competition has never brought the best out of either men, and Adshead will perhaps see a change of county as the best path to his continued development.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Glos given lesson in professionalism

pro40: Hampshire 185-7 beat Gloucestershire 184-8 by 3 wickets

A trip to the Rose Bowl was to view a county that had successfully modelled itself into a modern professional club and gave Gloucestershire a real lesson.

The Shire have struggled with the bat all season, and their hosts demonstrated how to measure an innings and played a wonderful one-day chase and matched their Friends Provident success with another second-innings triumph under the Southampton floodlights.

Glos fought only in periods and they never seemed to gain the upper hand at any stage in the contest; their fairly competitive target was easily overcome, despite the unflattering margin.

It was again the failure of the batsmen to develop partnerships and apply themselves on what was a sluggish pitch that saw the visitors post a slightly below-par total. Poor shot selection was again the culprit as simply, not enough patience was shown; Will Porterfield stepped across his stumps and was LBW after gathering the innings together with his 47 - he simply got frustrated and played a poor shot.

184 could have been defended, but the Shire wrote the match off as a practise game. The players they rested would have been ideal given the circumstances. Jon Lewis in particular would have been extremely effective; his swing and accuracy would have caused many problems - likewise James Franklin, and Steve Kirby was required to fire out a couple of early wickets because the hosts needed to be dismissed.

As it was, Gidman resorted to containing tactics and although the surprise opener Hamish Marshall bowled an excellent spell of 2-21, patience was all that was needed to move Hampshire into a position where, with the field spread outside the powerplay, runs came all too easily and although a few wickets gave Glos a sniff, the result was never really in doubt.

A side note for the Rose Bowl - what a wonderful facility. Hampshire took the plunge and moved themselves out of the small club stakes, to a clean slate of land and have created a magnificent venue that is spectacular, with facilities to make the members feel truly valued and yet still contains a compact county feel. Plans to upgrade further have secured a host of international matches and Hampshire have shown the way in the development of the modern county cricket club.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Snowy is away...

...and will not be blogging on the Leicestershire v Gloucestershire match, starting on Wednesday. will be providing LIVE ball-by-ball commentary, but there will be no podcasts this week unfortunately, so make sure you are tuned in every day from 10:55.

Hodnett & Gitsham to be released

Gloucestershire have announced that both Grant Hodnett & Matthew Gitsham will be released at the end of the season.

Both players have seen their first-team chances extremely limited and the club said in a statement they cannot see this situation changing into the future.

Hodnett's departure was almost inevitable after his outburst to the press & Gitsham has never produced any cricket to suggest he is capable of playing in the 1st X1.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Glos beaten again in Derby

pro40: Somerset 119-2 beat Glos 116 by eight wickets

Gloucestershire suffered another defeat to Somerset at Bristol this year, as their local rivals completely dominated the pro40 fixture.

The day went downhill after winning the toss, and the Shire never played with enough discipline to compete; a paltry 116 was another dreadful effort with the bat that was picked off with arrogance by Marcus Trescothick.

A good cricket wicket was exploited well by Somerset and Alfonso Thomas reduced Glos to 0-2 before shot selection totally immune to the scoreboard plunged the Shire further into trouble and at 51-7 there was no coming back.

Will Porterfield continued his miserable form by chipping a simple catch up to mid-off and Hamish Marshall had actually lead a recovery with his 23 before offering up an easy chance of his own; Chris Taylor played a one-day shot and was caught off a ball he should have left as all the batting was again exposed against the swinging ball.

Steve Adshead made 36 and shared 51 with Jon Lewis - who's hard hitting was the only bright point for the home fans on a gorgeous evening, but when Kadeer Ali spilled the simplest of chances it summed Gloucestershire's miserable cricket up in one moment.

Official report:

Monday, August 10, 2009

Kirby included in Lions squad

Gloucestershire's Steve Kirby has been selected to play for England Lions against Australia at Canterbury at the weekend.

The selection for the two-day fixture is reward for Kirby's excellent form this year - he has taken 41 wickets at 20.41 this season and has continued to work hard at his cricket.

Kirby still harbour's ambitions to play for his country and appears to tick all the boxes for international cricket. His pace and aggression are constant threats even on the flattest of pitches and the Yorkshireman continually backs himself regardless of the situation.

Although the side has been selected from players not otherwise engaged, it will be a ideal opportunity for Kirby to test himself against some of the world's best batsman and remind the selectors of his ability.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Glos suffer mauling at Horsham

pro40: Sussex 192-1 beat Gloucestershire 189 by nine wickets

Gloucestershire suffered a dreadful defeat by nine wickets against Sussex at Horsham.

The elation of Saturday's victory at Southend was quickly overshadowed by a dreadful one-day performance; the batting was blown away in two quick spell and the bowling replicated the poor effort at Hove in the Friends Provident semi-final.

Batting has been the downfall for the Shire on many occasions this season and once more a poor display set up a defeat as Glos were bowled out for just 189 - never enough on an excellent out-ground pitch with small boundaries.

A middle-order recovery provided the rapid contributions asked of it, but in order for this to yeild a big total, it requires one of the top three to guide the innings throughout and make a large score - this didn't happen, and a Yasir Arafat hat-trick fired Glos out for a well below-par total.

Luke Wright showed the Shire top order how to do it. He dealt almost exclusively in boundaries, striking the innings he is renowned for: his 95 from 62 balls soared the home side to victory with 13 overs still to be bowled.

The bowling simply had no answer to the onslaught and suffered complete humiliation with no-one able to stem the flow of runs that washed over the celebrations of the previous evening.

Official report:

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Victory to reignite Promotion Push

LVCC: Glos 498 & 40-0 bt Essex 300 & 236 by 10 wickets (PTS: Glos 21, Essex 5)

John Bracewell described Gloucestershire's county championship match against Essex as a "watershed" fixture in their season, and the team responded to tip themselves back into the promotion race.

A comprehensive 10 wicket win was achieved through a miraculous first-innings recovery and developing scoreboard pressure - something Glos have achieved in all four victories this season.

The bowling attack was perhaps at full strength, with Ian Saxelby claiming three second-innings wickets in a consistently accurate spell of reverse-swing bowling. Saxelby got the old ball to swing into the right-handers & his wicket of Ryan ten-Doescathe after lunch set the Shire up for their victory.

Richard Dawson's return to form - albeit due to encouraging conditions - has sealed his place as first-choice spinner for the time being. He kept his lengths full and posed problems for the batsmen; he had Tom Westley caught at backward-short leg early in the morning to start the ball rolling.

21 points could not have even entered many minds on the second afternoon, when at 170-6, an uphill battle ensued. It was overseas player James Franklin that showed the necessary backbone to rescue such a plight; the New Zealander fully justified his recruitment with the best innings of the season, demonstrating the discipline required to make a big innings in championship cricket - a lesson to the top order, Kadeer Ali aside.

Indeed the top order again failed which is still a major concern, they were well untruly bailed out at Southend. Poor strokes accounted for Hamish Marshall and Alex Gidman while Chris Taylor was undone by an out-of-ordinary swinging delivery.

The final word is reserved for Steve Adshead. Recognising that he had to make runs, he dug in well and solidly supported Franklin in the dramatic recovery act, before taking over as the senior batsman into the third day and worked positively with the tail to extend the Glos' lead. It was an excellent innings, one which shall allow Adshead to enjoy perhaps the remainder of the season with the gloves in four-day cricket.

Official report:

Friday, August 07, 2009

Glos within sight of victory

DAY 3 Close: Essex 300 & 75-3 trail Gloucestershire 498 by 124 runs (PTS: Essex 5 Glos 7)
LIVE ball-by-ball commentary on

A momentous day three for Gloucestershire has seen them take total control of this county championship match at Southend.

A career-best 156 not out from Steve Adshead brought the Shire up to 498 all out, as they extended their lead to a score many could only dream about.

Adshead will be extremely pleased to have taken his chance on an excellent batting pitch, he filled his boots with measured batting and led his side to what could be a match-winning lead.

198 ahead, Glos fired out three Essex wickets to leave the possibility of a day three finish, but skipper Mark Pettini again led the fightback and a stand of 44 has delayed the Glos charge. He managed the recovery on day two and could well extend the Essex resistance, the home side probably needing to bat until at least tea to make the game safe.

Richard Dawson sent down the most threatening spell since his return to Gloucestershire, and was extremely unlucky not to have Tom Westley LBW, but he bowled with not enough attacking fielders and for large parts of his spell with a deep point which appeared a wasted exercise.

Glos have plenty of time to take the remaining wickets, but if a partnership can develop, we have seen what can be achieved, however, tomorrow's day four pitch could pose different problems.

LIVE coverage continues tomorrow:
Official report:

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Record stand puts Glos ahead

DAY 2 Close: Gloucestershire 319-6 v Essex 300 (PTS: Glos 6, Essex 5)
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A record stand for any wicket at Garon Park has rescued Gloucestershire from a position of struggle into one of supremacy as James Franklin and Steve Adshead dominated the second afternoon.

James Franklin played the innings of the season as he made 92 imperious runs before confusingly walking off for bad light with a century at his mercy, but it was his control and acceleration that was impressive in hauling the Shire back into this game.

Two huge slog-swept sixes off Danish Kaneria demonstrated how Franklin asserted himself on the bowling and he provided the platform for Adshead to quietly accumulate and cash in on pitch where batsmen should be expected to fill their boots.

Hamish Marshall, Alex Gidman and Chris Taylor had all fell in dreadful fashion. They were extremely poor dismissals that demonstrated the team's recent poor form with the bat but it was fantastic rearguard action that rescued Glos.

A lead of 19 and four wickets left is a platform for the Shire to build a lead tomorrow and work themselves into a winnable position.

LIVE coverage continues tomorrow:
Official report:

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Glos let Essex off hook

DAY 1 Close: Essex 300 v Gloucestershire 13-1 (PTS: Essex 3, Glos 3)
LIVE ball-by-ball commentary continues on

Gloucestershire again failed to capitalise on their strong position on day one in the county championship as Essex recovered from 47-5 to make 300.

Admittedly the weather was the key factor; the early morning cloud saw extravagent swing and the Shire exploited the conditions well with two wickets apiece for James Franklin and Steve Kirby.

The afternoon was almost a completely different game, as the clouds rolled away and the sunshine created the platform from which Essex launched their comeback.

Mark Pettini eventually fell for 91 but not after he had led his team out of the abyss, sharing stands of 91 with Ryan ten Doescathe and 88 with David Masters, who enjoyed the sea air, making an Essex-best 55 and then removed Rob Woodman in the 7 overs Glos faced before the close.

The Garon Park pitch is hard and flat and without the overhead conditions, was excellent to bat on. The Shire will hold high ambitions of gaining a first innings lead into tomorrow.

Coverage continues tomorrow:
Official report:

Monday, August 03, 2009

Day Four slumps to draw

DAY 4 Close: Gloucestershire 400-9 dec. & 168-2 drew with Glamorgan 350-8 (PTS: Glos 11 Glam 11)

The expected excitement on the final day at Bristol failed to materialise as Gloucestershire settled for a draw against Glamorgan.

11 points will seem a fair return after three heavy defeats, as Glos batsmen enjoyed time at the crease, playing themselves into some kind of form with plenty of cricket remaining in the season.

It was pretty lethargic stuff at Nevil Road as the Shire continued their overnight defensive stance and played out the final day; Will Porterfield plodded his way to 31 from 106 balls and Kadeer Ali also enjoyed a glorified net with 67 before bad light curtailed proceedings.

It had been a slow, unresponsive wicket that produced a flat game; the weather preventing proper preparation of the wicket and taking three sessions out of the match. And batting was a pretty easy task as even the extra pace of Steve Kirby and Garnett Kruger, although only Alex Gidman truly capitalised and converted his start into a century.

The afternoon's cricket did bring out cricket's more frustrating side, however, as a ludicrous interruption for bad light saw a 20 minute session before the tea interval and then 20 further minutes before the players were dragged off again for light. Everyone wanted the game finished, but it took a further half-hour until the cut-off point for the game to officially be declared a draw - a quite agonising waste of time when common-sense should have prevailed.

Official report:

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Declaration leaves outside chance of result

DAY 3 Close: Gloucestershire 400-9dec. & 19-0 lead Glamorgan 350-8dec. by 68 runs (PTS: Glos 7 Glam 7)
LIVE ball-by-ball commentary:

Gloucestershire toiled away throughout day three at Bristol, but failed to take maximum bowling points as Glamorgan declared on 350-8.

The flat, docile surface allowed Glamorgan to rack up 216 for the first wicket - although Will Bragg did retire hurt on 92 - and for times it seemed a wicket would never arrive, but Jon Lewis struck with three wickets in eight balls to reignite Glos' chances.

The Shire currently lead by 69 and would need to extend that to 250 in order to dangle a carrot to their visitors while remaining safely enough in front; the draw is still the banker.

South African Herschelle Gibbs provided the afternoon's entertainment, as he struck 96 from 120 balls, before falling as one of three Steve Kirby victims with the second new ball. But until the second new ball, Kirby was largely uneffective on the slow pitch; it had been Lewis that conjured something with the old ball and he picked up a five-for.

The only loser of this match could well be Steve Adshead. After failing with the bat he posted himself at the bottom of the wicketkeeping pecking order with an afternoon to forget with the gloves. Balls were dropped with unnerving regularity, including a very straightforward catch, and a simple stumping opportunity was spilled off Chris Taylor.

Coverage continues tomorrow:
Official report:

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Maximum batting points for Glos

DAY 2 Close: Gloucestershire 400-9 dec. v Glamorgan 35-0 (PTS: Glos 5 Glam 3)
LIVE ball-by-ball commentary on

Gloucestershire claimed maximum batting points for only the second time this season on a rain-affected day at Bristol.

The first two sessions were washed out leaving only 30 overs possible, but the Shire passed 400 and then declared, but couldn't claim a breakthrough as Glamorgan closed 35-0.

Glos were in danger of collapse as James Franklin, Alex Gidman and Steve Adshead departed in an all too unfamiliar brisk fashion, but Ian Saxelby, on his return, made 33 to steer the home side to five very welcome batting points.

The bowlers then found some swing under laden skies, but the visiting openers dug in and survived a very tricky 11 overs.

Coverage continues tomorrow on
Official report:

Friday, July 31, 2009

Gidman ton gives Glos day to smile at

DAY 1 Close: Gloucestershire 337-5 v Glamorgan (PTS: Glos 3 Glam 1)
LIVE ball-by-ball commentary on

Gloucestershire captain Alex Gidman struck his third championship century of the season as he led his team to three batting points on day one against Glamorgan at Bristol.

Gidman's 122 not out led perfectly from the front, and where other players got starts and failed, the skipper converted and now is set to take the Shire to maximum batting points.

In a game that is likely to only yield bonus points due to a poor forecast, it was essential that a changed Glos line up performed with much more purpose than in recent matches; Kadeer Ali set out to recify this and played some excellent strokes - particularly down the ground - in his 53, although a very poor dismissal soured his efforts.

Hamish Marshall and Chris Taylor shared good partnerships with their skipper, but both failed to capitalise on their starts and a position of dominance turned into one of only advantage with those two wickets.

Coverage continues tomorrow on

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Changes for Glamorgan need to revive Glos

Gloucestershire v Glamorgan
Bristol, LVCC, 11:00
LIVE ball-by-ball commentary on

Gloucestershire have brought Steve Adshead, Ian Saxelby and Rob Woodman into the squad for the county championship match against Glamorgan at Bristol.

After three consecutive defeats, the Shire urgently require a more concerted batting effort if they are to resurrect their promotion challenge; the batting in the last three games has been the cause of defeat and, particularly at Cheltenham, nothing short of a disgrace with deplorable shot selection and basic errors being made.

The ball will swing again this weekend, with cloud forecast for the whole match, and unless the batsmen move their feet more positively in order to counter the swing, they will run into the same problems as they found at the festival.

Adshead will keep wicket in his first championship appearance of the season, in a change for Steve Snell that will come as no surprise to anyone - he has simply not scored any runs all year and thoroughly deserves to be dropped.

Bizarrely, the abandonment of the 2nd X1 match has perhaps allowed Hamish Marshall to keep his place in the side, given that he had no chance to fail.

Glamorgan are not a great side. They have a young, fragile batting line-up, and their bowling is headed up by an off-spinner well into the twilight years of his career; they are there for the taking if the Shire play proper championship cricket, and only a much improved determination with the bat will see them achieve this.

Gloucestershire from: Ali, Porterfield, Woodman, Marshall, Gidman (c), Taylor, Franklin, Adshead (wkt), Dawson, Lewis, Kirby, Saxelby, Ireland

Monday, July 27, 2009

International sports venue set for Nevil Road

Plans have been outlined for the development of Nevil Road into an international sports venue.

A 20,000 seater stadium and "world class" media centre are the integral parts of the plans to ensure international cricket stays in Bristol beyond 2011 - now while this is essential for the long-term development of Gloucestershire CCC, all that comes to mind is that such ambitious plans are fraught with danger.

Obviously, it is impossible to comment properly until one has seen the full details, but a plan such as this has to be so wonderfully thought through with much sensitivity in order to retain the identity of the Shire; no-one wants the soul to be sold, as we have seen at Glamorgan, who have been left with a football ground and many frowns from the cricketing fraternity.

One has to wonder why anyone would want to create an international sporting venue in the middle of a residential area with no parking and relative inaccessibility to major public transport routes, particularly, as has been touched on before on this blog, when generating revenue outside of sporting events plays an integral part of the profitability of sporting venues and conference and banqueting makes up a large part of this.

Tom Richardson has talked of achieving the best within the restrictions of the site, and the mention of Nevil Road being the Glos' home for the past 130 years gives a nostalgic angle for staying on in BS7; the reasoning is purely financial, given the deal with Royal & Sun Alliance on the ground and the obvious advantage that a clean slate elsewhere would bring.

Being one for history, romance and tradition, I would welcome a plan to see the Grace gates included in a plan to provide the best future for the Shire, and a deal to include student accommodation is an innovative way to help achieve that. But further innovations will be required to ensure Nevil Road retains it's county ground status and not morph into a superdome.

On a recent visit to New Road, I glanced around and admired their developments: the tasteful contemporary new pavilion and the modest Basil D'Oliveira stand and envisaged a similar development at Bristol - tasteful is the key, and I have my concerns as to how 20,000 seats can be tastefully raised.

However, I believe that with the space available to develop at Nevil Road - pavilion end aside, there is a pretty large plot to work with - a facility can be arranged that could achieve international sports venue status while maintaining some quirks that a county cricket ground deserves: a balance that must be appropriately achieved.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Poor batting again sinks Glos

pro40: Durham 206 (39.4 overs) beat Gloucestershire (39.1) by one run

Another Cheltenham thriller, but this time it was the Glos batting that saw the home supporters go home agonisingly disappointed as the Shire lost by just one run.

Steve Kirby faced Liam Plunkett's final over of the match with two required for victory, but the number eleven gloved Plunkett behind to give Durham victory; it should never have reached that scenario.

Glos bowled well to dismiss a strong batting line up for just 206 - far less than a par score for Cheltenham. Kirby bagged four wickets before falling last man in the chase.

Will Porterfield led the reply with a great controlled innings of 62, but played a very poor shot under the circumstances & was fourth man out with another 104 still required.

Another pathetic run-out sparked a Glos collapse. Porterfield unsuccessfully calling James Franklin through for the sharpest of singles to point, and the New Zealander's excellent knock of 21 came to an end.

Another run out, this time of Chris Taylor, saw the home side in a real fight. Having been cruising, at seven down the game looked up, before Jon Lewis & Richard Dawson came together to haul the Shire back into the contest.

Lewis again showed his all-rounder pedigree with some lusty hitting, and the Cheltenham masses believed again and grew in voice as the cider flowed in the sunshine, but his very soft dismissal brought the pressure onto the final pair and neither Dawson nor Kirby could support an ailing Alex Gidman to steer the Shire over the line.

A failure to consolidate and rebuild the innings cost Glos, and has done so far this season - in many Twenty20 chases the fall of a wicket has almost seen the end of the Shire's chances; in the Friends Provident semi-final, Glos never recovered from the calamotous run-out of Hamish Marshall, and so it proved in this match. From 79-1 no front-line batsman was able to take the innings forward with purpose and that cost Gloucestershire a match they should have won.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Embarrassing batting sinks Glos

DAY 3 Close: Northamptonshire 232 & 58-1 beat Gloucestershire 147 & 142 by nine wickets (PTS: Northants 18, Glos 3)

Arriving at Cheltenham college this morning was to turn back the clock 12 months, with Gloucestershire trying to play catch-up in a championship match, and eventually rolling over in defeat.

A purely deplorable batting display has seen only 289 runs scored in two innings on a great batting pitch; the Shire showing their flaws against the swinging ball & if radical changes were only threatened before this match, this result must surely bring those about.

A defeat inside two days has left Glos' supporters wondering whether the early season form that saw Gloucestershire top the table was merely a dream, as a horrendous drop in form with the bat as seen a slide down the table & promotion ambitions beginning to wane.

The Shire seem to have a plethora of bowling options: Stayt, Saxelby & Banerjee all played second team cricket this week, but the batting cupboard remains rather bare.

When looking for top order replacements, one can only really produce Grant Hodnett as a suggestion, and for his recall it would take some pride swallowing.

There are many candidates worthy of replacement. Hamish Marshall has only one notable score to his name this season; Kadeer Ali has only a one-day performance to show; Chris Taylor has scratched around all year, but first innings runs may earn him a reprieve for the visit of Glamorgan.

Steve Snell must be dropped. His low scores have come about via poor judgement and his wicket-keeping could only be termed average at best; it is time Steve Adshead got a chance in the four-day arena.

It is certainly time for change & I believe Rob Woodman, Hodnett & Adshead would provide radical enough change to try & induce more solid batting displays.

Last season the holy grail was 20 wickets: the Shire may have cracked that, but have not scored enough runs in any match this season & change must occur if improvement is to be found.

Official report:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Another batting failure leaves Glos on back foot

Close DAY 2: Gloucestershire 147 v Northamptonshire 175-6 (PTS: Glos 2 Northants 3)

No play was possible on day two due to rain

Bowled out for just 147, Gloucestershire again faced an uphill battle on day one of their county championship match against Northamptonshire at Cheltenham.

Only two teams in division two have achieved fewer batting bonus points than Gloucestershire this season, and these poor batting displays are threatening to prevent a push for promotion.

Kadeer Ali received a serious blow to the head and was forced to leave the field and this set the tone for the innings as the top order were all quickly forced to leave the field courtesy of accurate swing bowling under laden skies.

Will Porterfield replicated Andrew Strauss in following a majestic innings with a poor piece of judgement the following morning; he too shouldered arms to become the first dismissal. Steve Snell also failed once more and only brief application from Chris Taylor prevented a total rout.

Once batsman engaged themselves at the crease, batting became far easier on the flat hard Cheltenham pitch - albeit with a little grass left on. Nicky Boje displayed such application to make 57 not out.

The Glos attack performed well in less helpful conditions than those in the morning and had reduced the visitors to 8-3. James Franklin in particular, beat the bat with regularity and was unfortunate not to break the Boje-Andrew Hall partnership, which nudged Northants into a lead by the close with four wickets still remaining.

Official report:

Glos to bat first at Cheltenham

Gloucestershire v Northamptonshire
LVCC, Cheltenham, 11:00

Gloucestershire have been inserted by Northamptonshire on the opening morning of the Liverpool Victoria County Championship division two match at Cheltenham.

The same team that beat Essex in the pro40 fixture will take the field for this match, and Ian Saxelby will play for the second X1 as he continues to return from injury.

After the morale-boosting pro40 victory, the batting will again be under pressure to perform; their shortcomings being the major contributor to several defeats this season. Will Porterfield will look to build on his wonderful 97 not out yesterday.

Glos Cricket Radio will not be broadcasting this match due to difficulties out of their control, but coverage will return for the match against Glamorgan at Bristol.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Glos swoop to dramatic victory over Eagles

pro40: Gloucestershire 193-4 (17.3 overs) beat Essex 191-5 (18 overs) by six wickets

When Gloucestershire's pro40 match was reduced to a 20-over affair, Cheltenham College grew with fear over the county's shortcoming in the shortest form of the game, but a wonderful batting display saw the home side claim a memorable victory.

Beneath the gloom, Essex racked up 191-5 off just 18 overs after a further delay, but Will Porterfield played the innings of the season; his 97 not out steering the Shire home in the last over.

Having won the toss and fielded, Alex Gidman would have again been cursing his judgement as the visitors posted a mammoth score courtesy of Ryan ten Doeschate's 88. He played strokes all round the park and lifted six maximum's out of the college ground.

Glos would have been extremely disappointed with their efforts; David Brown and Anthony Ireland in particular, received some treatment for unintelligent bowling. Ireland has not learned from the experience against Somerset, and once more offered up consistent length bowling that ten Doeschate and Grant Flower greedily tucked into.

Cheltenham is a very difficult ground to defend on, and Porterfield exploited his opportunity, hitting 15 boundaries to bring the Shire into contention. James Franklin's promotion again worked well; the New Zealander shared 135 with the Ireland captain and his lusty hitting kept the home side up with the required rate.

Glos' supporters began to believe, but Franklin was run out and 17 required from 12 balls. Chris Wright went for the surprise bouncer and Porterfield top-edged a hook into the college lawn-end boundary and Gloucestershire waltzed home for a fabulous, morale-boosting victory.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Snowy is away...

...and will not be blogging on the Derbyshire or Worcestershire matches.

Fear not, however, follow his thoughts on twitter:

and snowy shall return for the Essex pro40 match!

Due to unkown circumstances, Gloucestershire CCC are not able to accomodate GlosCricketRadio for the Derbyshire match, robbing us all of ball-by-ball commentary. Hopefully, there will be coverage of the Northamptonshire match from Cheltenham.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Glos bowl first and lose again in semi-final

FPT Semi-Final: Sussex 326-7 beat Gloucestershire 292 by 34 runs

Gloucestershire lost their Friends Provident semi-final as they failed to chase down Sussex's 326-7 as the pressure of chasing again got the better of them.

A large westcountry contingent were treated to a beautiful day, over 600 runs and two wonderful innings that almost ended with a miraculous Glos chase, but Sussex always seemed to hold the aces and went through to play Hampshire in the final.

Having scored over 300 batting first in the rained off group match, and seeing the straw coloured pitch and bare outfield, everyone was again totally bemused by Alex Gidman's decision to bowl first.

Gidman did attempt to redeem himself with a career-best 116 in reply, as he shared a 155 partnership with Hamish Marshall, the completely avoidably runout of whom, again proved the turning point.

Marshall late cut to short-third man and set off for the run, only to be sent back by Gidman who realised the shot had travelled straight to the fieldsman. The New Zealander turned but the throw beat him and the stand that was almost winning Glos the game came to an end.

Then came the difference between the sides; whereas Sussex recovered to produce further notable stands, the Shire lost their way, wickets tumbled and the required run-rate eventually got the better of them.

However, once again, it was Gidman's unusual decision to bowl that set up the predicament. Ed Joyce and Chris Nash made hay in the powerplay - the outfield was lightning and anything past the fielders simply raced away. Wickets would have stemmed the runs but the Sussex top three rebuilt excellently after Glos made a breakthrough, as the third wicket went down at 262.

Joyce was eventually run out for 146, however, when on 91 Vikram Banerjee claimed a catch on the boundary after tossing the ball in the air as he was about to fall over the rope before reclaiming it. Joyce walked, but then halfway there was informed that a television decision was required and duly gained a reprieve from the third umpire.

Granted the correct decision was made, but Joyce was happy to accept Banerjee's appeal until he was sent back by his balcony - the incident left a bad taste in the mouths of Glos supporters and was another example of an abuse of television coverage: had Sky not been present, Joyce would have walked and the remainder of the match may well have been different.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Spirited Lewis can't prevent Glos defeat

DAY 4 Close: Kent 231 & 266 beat Gloucestershire 166 and 255 by 76 runs (PTS: Kent 18 Glos 3)

Gloucestershire were defeated on the fourth morning at Beckenham as the failure of their batting cost them a match that they could easily have won.

Only amassing 421 runs on a flat hard deck was a very poor effort and while the bowling attack has now progressed into a successful unit, the batting has now become the shortfall of this team.

Players with quality are not scoring the runs required and many got themselves out in this match; the type of which will need to be converted into victories if Glos are to achieve promotion and then success into division one.

The morning got off to the worst possible start as Vikram Banerjee played a back-foot drive into silly point's thigh, the ball rebounded to present gully with a simple catch. Then Snell shouldered arms and was given out LBW to completely remove any thought of victory for the Shire.

But Jon Lewis played the innings of the match to provide some entertainment for the visitors. His 61 from 49 balls was achieved with 52 in boundaries and included some lovely strokes, but the removal of James Franklin prevented further Lewis hitting as Steve Kirby edged his third ball to second slip.

The match was lost with the Kent 10th wicket stand yesterday, but such a poor batting display meant that Glos were up against it for the majority of this match.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Glos struggle on day three

DAY 3 Close: Gloucestershire 166 & 131-5 trail Kent 231 & 266 by 201 runs (PTS: Glos 3 Kent 4)
LIVE ball-by-ball commentary:

Gloucestershire look on the verge of defeat at the end of day three at Beckenham as they fell five wickets down with still 201 to beat Kent.

Having taken three quick wickets on the morning of day three, the possibility of Gloucestershire putting themselves into a winning position was strong, but the game slipped away from the visitors and now only one result looks realistic.

A record tenth wicket stand between Ryan MacLaren and Simon Cook of 89 pushed the target up to a daunting 332, but the Shire began well as Kadeer Ali and Hamish Marshall put a good stand together.

But the partnerships could not progress; Kadeer fell to a James Tredwell arm ball and Alex Gidman shouldered arms to the off-spinner to be adjudged LBW for just 12.

Several times Glos had the chance to survive until the close and find themselves in a useful position on the final day, but quick wickets have dispelled those notions and now only a dramatic turnaround in fortunes will change the likely result.

MacLaren and Cook showed everybody how to bat on this surface. They got into line well, ran the singles and punished loose bowling: simple batting but extremely effective and it has bee Gloucestershire's failings with the bat that has seen them slide to the verge of defeat.

Official report:
LIVE ball-by-ball commentary continues tomorrow:

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Kirby claws Glos back into contention

DAY 2 Close: Kent 231 & 149-6 lead Gloucestershire 166 by 214 runs (PTS: Kent 4 Glos 3)
LIVE coverage on with new improved sound quality

Gloucestershire were bowled out for just 166 on day two against Kent at Beckenham, but Steve Kirby's heroics late in the day have clawed the Shire back into the match.

The visitors still have four wickets to claim in Kent's second innings, and the first hour tomorrow will be absolutely vital. If Glos can wrap the innings up quickly, a very gettable score of around 250 may be the target; if Kent bat until lunch, then above 300 may be asked to win.

One can never find enough praise for Steve Kirby - what a cricketer. On a baking hot day, he steamed in and produce some really intense bowling and claimed 4-25 blasting out the top order and setting up the comeback.

Martin van Jaarsveld and Justin Kemp compiled 55 together and just started to ease Kent away, but back came Kirby producing an effort ball that hurried van Jaarsveld and saw him top-edge a pull stroke that Steve Snell pouched.

Not only that, but a sweating panting Kirby then came for a chat on the boundary; quite a character and his efforts as John Light mentioned in an interview with are being monitored by the England selectors.

Kirby hauled Glos back into the contest, after the batsman completely tumbled. A marvellous catch from Darren Stevens to dismiss Alex Gidman sparked a collapse, as the Shire lost eight wickets for just 97; a far better effort will be required for the Shire to win this match.

Official report:
LIVE ball-by-ball commentary continues tomorrow on
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