Friday, September 10, 2010

Rain can't save Glos at Grace Road

LVCC: Leicestershire 295 & 351-4 dec. beat Gloucestershire 159 & 158 by 329 runs (PTS: Leics 21, Glos 3)

For a while on day four a Grace Road, the poor weather looked as if it may spare Gloucestershire, especially when James Franklin and Ed Young put together some stout resistance. But Gloucestershire didn't deserve any favours.

They fell to their eighth-heaviest defeat of their history and, for the first time for a long time, were thoroughly outplayed from start to finish. Most frustratingly was everything fell into place elsewhere, with Glamorgan drawing at Surrey: a Gloucestershire win here and, despite last week's debacle, they were right back in the promotion hunt.

But there were almost no positives to take out of the game. Hamish Marshall was just about one, he played very well and showed some ability to stave off the new ball - Jon Batty did slightly in the first innings but fell back to old ways in the second. Marshall again got out when he should have gone forward to make a century: story of his career.

Two more miserable displays with the bat doesn't need to highlight the point that Gloucestershire's failures with the bat will continue to blight their chances in the county championship unless action is taken. Tinkering obviously hasn't worked.

Chris Dent will hopefully develop into a solid batsmen - the potential is absolutely there - but the rest of the order contains experienced pros who have no pressure on their places. Who would you drop Chris Taylor for? This was said last year, but two batsmen are required.

Will Gidman may be one of those players. Another will probably have to be an overseas acquisition - as well as James Franklin compliments the side, Gloucestershire have enough bowling to replace him, assuming Anthony Ireland remains at the club. Gemaal Hussain is almost certainly out of the door.

It would be a disaster if Will Porterfield departs. But if Will Gidman can fulfil his youthful potential as an opening bat, Batty can bat down the order and an overseas can slot in at number three or four, Gloucestershire will look stronger with some depth. Especially if Chris Dent's bowling - which showed plenty of potential at Grace Road - can be developed into a more permanent role.

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