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: www.gloscricket.co.uk