Friday, April 30, 2010

Glos wrap up first Victory

LVCC: Gloucestershire 268 & 223 beat Middlesex 203 & 185 by 103 runs (PTS: Glos 21, Middlesex 4)

Inevitably, everyone was dragged back for just 25 minutes on day four at Lord's. Hussain completed a five-for in just the third over by removing Tim Murtagh and the last real resistance for Middlesex walked off.

Steve Kirby finally mopped up a tail by having Iain O'Brien well caught by Snell at second slip - his second very sharp catch of the game - and then Dan Evans caught at short-leg.

A professional job by Gloucestershire who again showed all their bowling prowess by conceding fewer than 400 runs in the match. Gemaal Hussain's eight wickets being the brightest spark.

Hussain bowls with pace and control - he achieved an excellent length with regularity here and swung the ball throughout. Gloucestershire certainly have great depth in their bowling attack and here the batting showed glimpses of progress.

Hamish Marshall should have made a hundred on the first day but 72 was certainly a confidence boost, although he did fend nervously again outside his off stump when caught for just nine in the second innings.

Brief runs and soft dismissals for other players showed that the batting is there but hasn't quite clicked yet - next week at the Oval is certainly the time to fill boots.

Against stronger teams, they need scoreboard pressure. The developed some here but had Andrew Struass and Owais Shah contributed even modestly, 289 could have been overhauled.

Most pleasing was Gloucestershire took their opportunity on the third morning. 204 ahead was only a small lead but they grasped the chance to extend the advantage by winning that morning session with lower order runs and a wicket before lunch to boot. A "clinch" situation well untruly won.

Gloucestershire are up and running will fancy doing a London double against a struggling Surrey side next week but they will need to make bigger runs at the Oval.

Official report: www.gloscricket.co.uk

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Glos denied three-day win by Light

DAY 3 Close: Middlesex 203 & 167-7 need another 122 to beat Gloucestershire 268 & 223 (PTS: Middlesex 4, Glos 5)
LIVE ball-by-ball commentary on www.gloscricketradio.moonfruit.com

Bad light destroyed what was set up as a fascinating final session at Lord's that should have seen Gloucestershire complete their first victory of the season.

Having dismissed Gareth Berg caught down the legside off Gemaal Hussain - another cracking afternoon for him - just after tea, the visitors were swinging their way to victory under cloudy skies, with Hussain also picking up the crucial wicket of Dawid Malan after a half-hour delay.

But the light that the umpires took the players off for the first time had improved by the time a second delay was called - a bizarre dicision - and stumps was called.

How umpires Steele and Kettleborough came to decide that conditions were dangerous the second time they took the players off had to be questioned - certianly Steve Kirby, who didn't bowl after tea, remonstrated with the umpires for a long time.

Despite the frustration of a fourth day for the first time this season, Gloucestershire should complete victory with just Tim Murtagh, Iain O'Brien and Dan Evans to dismiss - and Evans may not bat after not taking the field on day three.

They need not worry about Shaun Udal's potential heroics. They need to bowl at the other end and wrap up a much-needed win.

The day had began in fine fashion for Gloucestershire. Jon Lewis swung the bat in an entertaining 43 and shared 70 with Chris Taylor, who made 61. The stand progressed 123-7 to 193-7 and suddenly Gloucestershire had a match-winning lead. For once a window of opportunity was grasped.

Coverage continues on www.gloscricketradio.moonfruit.com

Official report: www.gloscricket.co.uk

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tense affair in stall as Glos slump

DAY 2 Close: Gloucestershire 268 & 139-7 lead Middlesex 203 by 204 runs (PTS: Glos 5, Middlesex 4)
LIVE ball-by-ball commentary on www.gloscricketradio.moonfruit.com

Predictably, the sides placed eighth and ninth in the division are producing an excellent game of cricket. An exciting chase for Middlesex is in store and how crucial the first hour tomorrow could be for both teams' seasons.

Gloucestershire will be very disappointed with another batting collapse. 100-3 became 123-7 and the visitors were plunged into the mire again by poor shot selection.

This pitch here at Lord's is excellent to bat on, and one could wish for no more than a lightning outfield and 60-yard hit into the Mound stand. The batsmen again failed to fill their boots; Alex Gidman and James Franklin playing across the line to be LBW to Tim Murtagh.

Chris Dent showed even more potential for his controlled 42 but he also showed why he is 19 when he buckled under pressure and offered a very loose stroke to be caught behind. That was perhaps the biggest disappointment of the day but potential is certainly there.

While the batsmen ponder their misery again - Steve Snell recorded a pair, caught a short leg first ball second time around - the bowlers can again be pleased by an efficient display. The wickets shared around but again, they allowed Middlesex off the hook. A better plan to Shaun Udal could have snapped him up cheaper and Gloucestershire could have taken a 100+ lead.

As it transpired, lower order runs were again the scourage of Gloucestershire and it may be a close affair tomorrow. I'll say it again - the first hour could be season-defining.

LIVE coverage continues on www.gloscricketradio.moonfruit.com

Official report: www.gloscricket.co.uk

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Improvement for Glos as they shade Day 1

DAY 1 Close: Middlesex 71-4 trail Gloucestershire 268 by 197 runs (PTS: Glos 3, Middlesex 3)
LIVE ball-by-ball commentary on www.gloscricketradio.moonfruit.co.uk

All it took is a ride away from that dastardly pitch at Bristol for Goucestershire to realise they could bat.

Gloucestershire relished the trip away from the Westcountry and although they fell short of where they perhaps should have totalled, the final analysis of the opening day at Lord's shows they dominated.

Alex Gidman elected to bat and a day of success at the wicket beckoned as Hamish Marshall danced his way to 72 - a flourishing innings from the New Zealander - and Jon Batty played his way into form with a careful 49. But again poor shot selection ruined a great opportunity.

Iain O'Brien picked up a very bland seven-for. It was his best first-class return but he will be able to count a multitude of occasions when he has bowled better. Both Marshall and Taylor both tried to force off the back-foot and offered simple chances, while Gidman slogged Shaun Udal straight in the air.

But the disappointment with the bat was cushioned by two batting points and crucially, runs on the board - always the better position to be in. And when Kirby roared in from the pavilion end to dismiss Shah, Strauss and "nightwatchman" O'Brien the situation of the match looked considerably in Gloucestershire's favour.

LIVE coverage continues on www.gloscricketradio.moonfruit.com

Official report: www.gloscricket.co.uk

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Confidence Boost as Glos claim easy win

40L: Gloucestershire 230-5 (40ovs) beat Derbyshire 179 (35.3) by 51 runs.

Gloucestershire achieved what they simply had to do after their disastrous start to the season and beat Derbyshire.

A comfortable victory was a bonus, as was a wonderful 133 not out from James Franklin, whose first one-day hundred was exactly what is required from the top order in any form of cricket.

Franklin provided the innings that big scores are built on and while Gloucestershire only posted a competitive total, it was very pleasing to see big runs from the top of the order.

Franklin provided just what John Bracewell was asking for at the top of a one-day innings: power. He was able to clear in the in-field and use the powerplays - 10 fours and three sixes demonstrated as such.

Having posted a competitive score, it was the Gloucestershire of old as they defended it very tightly. Kirby's early breakthroughs and further wickets piled the pressure on the Derbyshire king-pin Chris Rogers and Gloucestershire were able to dismiss him relatively cheaply.

This was no victory of note, Derbyshire are quite an average team, but undoubtedly confidence ahead of Tuesday's match.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Humilation as Glos lose again

LVCC: Sussex 152 & 302 beat Gloucestershire 128 & 119 by 207 runs (PTS: Sussex 19, Glos 3)

A long-standing Gloucestershire member died recently and half-way through the morning session on day three the Gloucestershire colours were lowered to half-mast in his honour. One could have been forgiven for thinking a white flag was about to be hoisted in the opposite direction.

Once again Gloucestershire were humiliated by a batting display completely devoid of spirit of determination.

It wasn't just the low scores that irked the members but the speed in which the wickets fell. Only two innings have just managed to straddle into a second session. Completely inept batting and no-one seemingly prepared to fight.

What will be most concerning for supporters is that no-one is waiting in the wings to replace the batsmen. Youngster Chris Dent was already being given his chance and he failed along with the rest of the order.

What could be done is a shifting of the batting order. If Dent is not replaced by Dawson at Lord's - likely because a spinner will probably be required at the home of cricket - he should be sent down the order. Probably too young to be batting at three in first class cricket. A more experienced batsman needs to set up.

Steve Snell could be inserted at three. The only batsman to escape from these two disasters with a modicum of respectability. Snell may also be asked to keep wicket at Lord's because the form of Jonathan Batty is perhaps the most concerning of the concerns for Gloucestershire supporters.

Batty was dreadful with the gloves - regularly spilling straightforward takes and 18 byes in the match speaks volumes. He was also the most disappointing failure with the bat, having brought a wealth of experience with him from Surrey.

Things could yet get worse for Gloucestershire because batting at Lord's in the forecast cloudier weather against Steven Finn and Tim Murtagh will not be an easy task. It may have to get a little worse before batting-haven at the Oval provides some respite.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Glos toil to face another defeat

DAY 2 Close: Gloucestershire 128 & 12-1 need another 315 to beat Northamptonshire 152 & 302 (PTS: Glos 3, Sussex 3)
LIVE ball-by-ball commentary on www.gloscricketradio.co.uk

It was toil and trouble for Gloucestershire on day two as Sussex rammed home their advantage and the home side once again face a very stiff target for victory. And predictably enough lost Jon Batty before the close.

There were brief hints of the previous day's wickets as first Kirby in the morning and then Hussain in the afternoon produced double strikes but for the majority it was hard graft for Gloucestershire.

Clearly demoralised by their batting collapse, the attitude in the field was very poor. The body language of the fielders showed no signs of a side prepared to fight and this was compounded by a number of overthrows.

Another disappointment was the poor performance of Batty with the gloves. Another 12 byes had members wondering if the Snell/Adshead battle was worth persisting with, particularly as he edged Rana Naved to slip, just as the day was about to end on a slightly positive note.

Proof that there iss nothing wrong with the pitch was provided chiefly by Robin Martin-Jenkins who clubbed his way to 102. Ably supported in lower-order partnerships that extended the Sussex lead and plunged Glos into another batting struggle.

LIVE coverage on www.gloscricketradio.co.uk

Official report: www.gloscricket.co.uk

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Madness resumes at Nevil Road

DAY 1 Close: Gloucestershire 128 v Sussex 152 (PTS: Glos 3, Sussex 3)
LIVE ball-by-ball commentary on www.gloscricketradio.co.uk


Lightning doesn't strike twice but it seems to when Gloucestershire are involved. Another truly unbelievable day's cricket at Bristol saw 20 wickets fall and another assessment from the ECB pitch inspector beacons - this time there may be no escape from a points deduction.

However, once again, the surface offered no extravagant movement off the pitch. The six LBW decisions in the Gloucestershire innings could certainly all be attributed to batsmen playing across the line - Chris Taylor in particular, who once more worked his way to the highest score in the innings but again played the worst shot of the day.

As I write, the groundstaff are having a long look at the surface they have produced - only a test on a better surface will tell how much of an affect these Bristol wickets are having on the match. One thing is for certain, it is not working in Gloucestershire's favour.

The day was made more remarkable by a fairly comfortable opening stand of 61 between Chris Nash and Mike Thornley. Although sluggish - acceptable for April - the pitch seemed to be playing true. Gloucestershire then ran through the Sussex line up with some decent bowling; Franklin especially just found good areas for his 4/27.

Where do Gloucestershire go from here? Their confidence completely shot on this surface I cannot see them chasing anything above 200 at the very most. Although 24 is a slender lead, it's very much advantage Sussex.

Coverage continues on www.gloscricketradio.co.uk

Official report: www.gloscricket.co.uk

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Status Quo remains for Glos batting

LVCC: Northamptonshire 186 & 243 beat Gloucestershire 86 & 249 by 94 runs (PTS: Glos 3, Northants 19)

Gloucestershire slumped to a very poor defeat at Bristol as their 2010 season got off to the worst possible start.

Steve Snell's 52 when the game was lost was the only moment when a batsmen applied themselves appropriately at the crease as once again, Gloucestershire terrible weakness with the bat was evident.

Thursday's antics could almost be excused. Sides sometimes get rolled for disastrous scores, but it is much more frustrating when players show their ability and give it away.

Kadeer, Dent, Marshall, Gidman and Taylor all got into the 20s in the second innings - when batting appeared fairly straightforward given appropriate concentration - only to surrender their wickets and crumble.

There is a fundamental issue with the mentality of the Gloucestershire batsmen. Time and again the same problem occurs and nothing has been done to address it. A problem so ingrained in the county that only once in the past 11 years have Gloucestershire chased above 300 to win a match.

They had a great opportunity in this match. A glorious warm sunny spring day and a hard pitch - cleared by ECB pitch inspector Jack Birkenshaw - that was becoming easier to bat on. But complete lack of application at the crease saw the home side plunged into the same old problems.

There will be concerns also, for the form of Steve Kirby who followed up a first-innings 1-37 with 17 extremely unproductive overs in the second-innings when bowling against tailenders. There are also long-term fears for Ian Saxelby - out again for an extended period with another shoulder injury.

This match did nothing to suggest Gloucestershire have turned a corner with their mental ability in difficult situations. There was no increased "toughness", "determination" or "winning spirit" that John Bracewell described as necessary. Plenty of soul-searching required before next Wednesday.

Official report: www.gloscricket.co.uk

Friday, April 16, 2010

Glos fighting after mixed Second Day

LVCC: Gloucestershire 86 & 85-2 require another 259 to beat Northamptonshire 186 & 243 (PTS: Glos 3, Northants 3)
LIVE ball-by-ball coverage on www.gloscricketradio.co.uk

Gloucestershire are still alive following another entertaining day at Bristol but the home side still face a tough battle to reach their target of 344.

A modicum of normality returned to the cricket before madness resumed after lunch with three wickets reducing the visitors to 134-8. But as Gloucestershire have experienced in the past, they failed to seize the initative.

A ninth wicket partnership of 71 pushed Northants to a very useful lead. John Bracewell will surely be cursing his side's lack of ability to win "the clinch situations" as he described pre-season.

To achieve the target, more positive play than the survival tactics employed in the evening session will be required. But Gloucestershire have the players that can take them to what would be a tremendously morale boosting victory.

The biggest positive for Gloucestershire was further wickets for Gemaal Hussain who picked up two crucial morning scalps and finished with nine in the match. The day would have been even better had Chris Dent clung on until the close, having showed plenty of promise in his 23 before he played a lazy shot.

Coverage continues on www.gloscricketradio.co.uk

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wickets clatter as Glos crumble

LVCC: Northants 186 & 34-3 lead Glos 86 by 134 runs
LIVE ball-by-ball commentary on www.gloscricketradio.co.uk

The 2010 season began in spectacular fashion with 23 wickets falling on the first day at Bristol.

The pitch was not at fault for the drama. It was tinged with green, similar to that prepared for the match against Essex a year ago, but bad shot selection was the culprit for the lion's share of dismissals.

Whatever was to blame, the entertainment was unrivalled, with the life-expectancy of batsman around half an hour. The task was to occupy the crease and the one partnership which achieved that produced the difference between the sides: Rob White and Paul Harrison shared 71 for the seventh wicket. Gloucestershire's highest stand was 28.

The home side had bowled with purpose to reduce Northants to 77-6, making the most of helpful overhead conditions. Batting should have become easier once the sun appeared but, White aside, no-one played the conditions well enough and Gloucestershire slumped to their worst championship total for 10 years.

No-one predicted Gemaal Hussain's selection but he bowled with great consistency to pick up 5-36 and then added a sixth for the day as Northants came out to bat again. The selection debate for the fourth-choice seamer is very much alive.

Once again, Gloucestershire are in a game that is very advanced so early in the fixture. Tomorrow's morning session represents their best chance of victory. The only way to recover is to continue the deluge of wickets and fire out Northants quickly.

Coverage continues on www.gloscricketradio.co.uk

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

2010 Coverage

There has been no better time to follow your county and this season, Gloucestershire coverage is bigger and better than ever

Gloucestershire Cricket Radio will once again be providing LIVE ball-by-ball coverage of every LV= County Championship match, ensuring every game of Gloucestershire's season is broadcast live.

Join the team from 10:55 each day on www.gloscricketradio.co.uk for full coverage of Gloucestershire's promotion push.

The Gloucestershire Cricket Podcast - featuring the best analysis and reaction - will also be available to download from www.gloscricketradio.co.uk - log on now to download the season-preview, including the thoughts of Alex Gidman, Jon Batty and John Bracewell.

This blog will continue to provide the best analysis, reaction on the web and updated faster than anywhere else! Ensuring that Gloucestershire cricket is properly covered, as it deserves to be.

Also, log on to www.twitter.com/glosccc for all the lastest Gloucestershire cricket updates - the best way to keep in touch with regular updates throughout every day of the season.

As ever, all the official club news is available on www.gloscricket.co.uk and updates at www.twitter.com/gloscricket.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Marshall wants International Return

Gloucestershire batsman Hamish Marshall has signalled his desire to return to international cricket - with Ireland.

Marshall holds an Irish passport and would be eligible to play for them from April 2011 - subject to ICC approval.

But the former New Zealand international gave assurances to his county commitments: "I certainly love playing county cricket with Gloucestershire and plan to do so for some time yet.

"However, I miss international cricket and, being an Irish passport-holder, there's hopefully an opportunity to combine both with Ireland," he said.

Marshall, who last played international cricket at the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies and who has test century against Australia to his name, has also expressed an interest in coaching in the country.

Cricket Ireland coach Phil Simmons said: "It would be a great boost for Irish cricket to have a player of the calibre of Hamish Marshall available."

Should Marshall play for Ireland he would link up with Gloucestershire team mate Will Porterfield and would also reverse a trend of cricketers moving away from the Irish national side. Eoin Morgan and Ed Joyce both represented Ireland before making the switch to play for England.
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