Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Glos cruise to expected win

LVCC: Gloucestershire 420 & 45-0 beat Middlesex 236 & 228 by 10 wickets (PTS: Glos 23, Midd 3)

If Gloucestershire are to compete at a higher level in county cricket, poor sides like Middlesex need to be swatted away. They certainly were at Bristol.

Coming out to bat 184 behind is never easy but Middlesex found it far too hard against a quality bowling attack. Jon Lewis produced his classic stuff to chip off the top three before the rest of the attack ground Middlesex down, using the conditions very well - seven of the dismissals were catches behind the wicket.

Gloucestershire's far superior bowling attack was the difference in this match as the home side cruised to a three-day win.

Twice the five-man seam attack bowled Middlesex out for modest totals. It was relentless stuff. Steve Kirby and Anthony Ireland charging in and James Franklin, Gemaal Hussain and Lewis swinging their way around a weak Middlesex line-up.

Neil Dexter pulled his socks up to make 54 for the visitors but he was incredibly lucky with several edges flying wide of fielders. Middlesex, very much under pressure from the scoreboard, offered little.

Their bowling was missing Iain O'Brien, Gareth Berg and Steve Finn and, missing three quality bowlers, their attack lacked bite and spinner Tom Smith found little help off another surface which offered more for the seam bowlers.

But Gloucestershire performed very well with the bat, everyone just about got among the runs and gained a confidence boost ahead of a tough test against Sussex next week.

Official report: www.gloscricketradio.co.uk

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Glos take control at Bristol

DAY 2 Close: Gloucestershire 404-8 lead Middlesex 236 by 168 runs (PTS: Glos 7, Midd 3)
LIVE ball-by-ball commentary: www.gloscricketradio.co.uk

Gloucestershire dominated day two at Bristol to set themselves up for an high-points victory in a match they had earmarked to win.

But a great day with the bat - contributions all down the card and a match-winning lead - was soured by five more innings passing 50 but failing to make three figures.

James Franklin, on 99, faced the military medium-pace of the Middlesex skipper Neil Dexter. Having offered a long-hop earlier in the over that Franklin had turned for a single, the next short delivery was too much for Franklin to resist.

His eyes lit up, the ball was sailing into the tennis courts and the crowd was cheering their star overseas player in celebration of a century.

But Franklin, like Alex Gidman against Leicestershire and Chris Dent against Derbyshire, found the lone fielder in the deep to be dismissed one short of the magical three figures.

A century is becoming truly elusive for Gloucestershire. Day two saw attractive innings from Hamish Marshall and Chris Dent, who began the dominance with an excellent stand of 126 for the third wicket. But Dent chipped a short ball from Toby Rolland-Jones to square-leg for 53 and Marshall played round a delivery from Dexter to become the first of two quick-victims just after lunch.

The Bristol wicket is looking flatter and flatter and Franklin and Jon Lewis, who made 30, helped themselves and looked totally untroubled until both made mistakes. Lewis ludicrously running himself out before fate intervened for Franklin's demise.

LIVE coverage continues tomorrow on www.gloscricketradio.co.uk

Official report: www.gloscricket.co.uk

Monday, June 28, 2010

Glos wobble at end of competitive day

DAY 1 Close: Gloucestershire 81-2 trail Middlesex 236 by 155 runs (PTS: Glos 3, Midd 1)
LIVE ball-by-ball commentary: www.gloscricketradio.co.uk

Alex Gidman made a brave decision at the start of this match, winning the toss and choosing to bowl first in glorious sunny conditions. The bravery nearly paid off.

Having chosen to bat under heavy cloud at New Road, Gidman again caused a surprise with his decision at the toss.

Gloucestershire posses a fine seam attack for this match and they nearly dominated the opening day by using the green-tinged surface to reduce Middlesex to 156-7.

But Josh Davey enjoyed an excellent debut. The 19-year-old playing some confident strokes and maturely playing with the tail to guide his side to a handy first-innings total.

Gloucestershire were up to their usual tricks at the start of their innings. Abdul-Kadeer Ali and Jon Batty again failing by playing back when they should have been forward.

Ali misread the length of a stock delivery by Pedro Collins that clipped the top of off and middle stumps, gone for just 13 after being frustrated at being left out at Worcester.

Batty played across the line to another Collins delivery, this time a very full ball that Batty missed to be leg before for 20.

LIVE coverage continues tomorrow on www.gloscricketradio.co.uk

Official report: www.gloscricket.co.uk

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Glos sneak home for third win

t20: Gloucestershire 153-6 beat Middlesex 147-7 by four runs

Gloucestershire picked up only their third win in ten t20 matches as they beat Middlesex at Bristol.

While not quite getting their campaign back on track, it was at least a victory to appease long-suffering supporters.

The key to defending such a small total was to remove the most dangerous player. Middlesex, although - mercifully for Gloucestershire - now without Adam Gilchrist - still have another Australian in their ranks, but David Warner became the first of two quite expensive wickets for David Payne, on his t20 debut, for just 17.

Dawid Malan produced a useful knock of 44 from 39 balls but there were no partnerships for Middlesex to really get into the chase. Ben Scott - in tremendous recent form - made 25 from 15 balls but Middlesex came up short.

A solid partnership had built Gloucestershire's handy total. Alex Gidman - back from injury to captain the side - and Hamish Marshall shared 94 for the fourth wicket from 64 balls. It was an excellent middle-order partnership but nothing significant came from the top three, so the home side only finished with an average total.

TOMORROW'S county championship match against Middlesex will begin at 1200 BST. Days two, three and four will begin at the usual time of 1100 BST. Listen to LIVE ball-by-ball commentary on www.gloscricketradio.co.uk

Friday, June 25, 2010

Once more into defeat for Glos

t20: Hampshire 205-5 beat Gloucestershire 177 by 28 runs

Gloucestershire lost again at the Rose Bowl and constant defeat is now becoming an extremely painful monotony.

Unfortunately once again, Gloucestershire were left searching for positives from a poor display, having been outplayed by simply a much better cricket club.

The gulfs between these two counties were bluntly exposed in the pro40 fixture last season and again, Gloucestershire seemed world's apart from the glitzy Rose Bowl evening.

Their last six wickets went down for just 13 runs as Gloucestershire failed again in pursuit of a very stiff chase but again, the visitors fell far too easily; the horrendous lack of depth in their batting was exposed.

There is simply no power down the order. James Franklin and now Aaron Redmond at the top are the only batsmen capable of striking any ball off a cricket ground and that is simply too few players to win t20 matches.

Balls have to disappear for large totals to be chased. t20 is a batsman's game but Gloucestershire simply do not posses enough batting to be competitive in the format.

Chris Dent is the one player keeping many going at Bristol. He is the one reposte to accusations that Gloucestershire add nothing to the English game. A great knock of 63 from 44 balls again showed Dent's ability.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Glos go down again/Redmond signs

t20: Essex beat Gloucestershire by 66 runs

Gloucestershire slid to another heavy t20 defeat and sit rooted to the bottom of the South group. However, they are certainly not out of the qualifying mix just yet.

It was a consecutive failure with the bat that saw Gloucestershire lose by such a large margin - they should have got far closer to an above-par target.

Essex achieved what Gloucestershire failed to do with the ball and chipped away with regular wickets. As a result, Essex built partnerships and set a good score, while Gloucestershire never looked like getting a good score.

The concerning thing was the cost of the wickets - only four double-figure scores on the card was another miserable effort and nothing to inspire anyone to return to Bristol.

Gloucestershire's bowling is also struggling in this competition. Jon Lewis has been sending down brilliant spells for nothing but is getting no support. Vikram Banerjee, in particular, is being attacked; his three overs against Essex cost 33.

But batting wins t20 matches - teams chase anything - and Gloucestershire need to find their form to get back into this competition.

AARON REDMOND has signed for Gloucestershire as a second overseas player after Ian Butler was ruled out of the rest of t20 tournament with a back injury.

Redmond, a leg-spinner turned top-order batsman, arrives on Thursday and will make his debut on Friday at Hampshire.

The New Zealander has scored 623 t20 runs at 27 and played in t20 internationals. Gloucestershire have no immediate plans to extend Redmond's stay.

Redmond holds a British passport and lives in Britain during the close-season down-under, so a permanent deal following the t20 will not be completely off the table.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Glos humiliated at Bristol

t20: Hampshire 69-3 beat Gloucestershire 68 by seven wickets

Gloucestershire suffered a complete all-round humiliation in their first t20 match at Bristol.

An utterly dreadful afternoon of cricket saw an exceptionally poor crowd witness the worst t20 performance ever by Gloucestershire. The "most entertaining" form of cricket provided the least entertaining match that many will have ever witnessed at Nevil Road.

Gloucestershire have a habit of playing poor cricket live on Sky - two pro40 hammerings were broadcast last season - but this match was surely the worst ever. Dreadful cricket and a dreadful crowd would have only worsened Gloucestershire's stock in the eyes of many cricket-observers. The terrible attendance for a t20 match was particularly noted by the Sky commentators.

It was pathetic. The home side were bowled out for just 68 - their lowest-ever t20 total and the second lowest in the history of the competition. Hampshire wasted no time chasing such a paltry total and everyone went home after just 25 overs of cricket thoroughly short-changed.

No Gloucestershire batsman could stay at the crease and had it not been for a modicum of responsibility by Jon Lewis - 19 from 23 balls - the Westcountry side would have easily posted the worst-ever t20 total: they were at least spared that hideous statistic.

But avoiding a terrible record was no consolation for anyone. Hampshire needed just 45 balls to knock off the runs consigning Gloucestershire to the quickest defeat ever in a non-rain affected t20 match.

IAN BUTLER's brief stint as Gloucestershire's second overseas player could be over due to a back injury. The New Zealander has sat out the last three t20 matches.

de Bruyn downs Glos in Derby

t20: Somerset 200-4 beat Gloucestershire 199-8 by six wickets

Gloucestershire lost a crucial t20 group game at Taunton after Zander de Bruyn smashed Somerset past the visitors' stiff target.

Alex Gidman's side would have been delighted after the first innings, as Gloucestershire set another imposing total. But they will be distraught to have not defended a 10-an-over target.

After the success at Sussex, Gloucestershire again made an excellent score - above average for Taunton - and Steve Snell put his hand up for a permanent role as wicketkeeper/batsman with a maiden t20 half-century from just 26 balls.

James Franklin had failed for the visitors, making 199 an even better effort. Even Abdul-Kadeer enjoyed the Taunton conditions, smashing 17 from just seven balls.

But while the batting has picked up in recent matches, the bowling hasn't looked dangerous enough and in every t20 match thus far, save Surrey, Gloucestershire have conceded healthy scores.

Weight of runs was the saviour at Hove but Somerset have players to overcome any weight of runs. Kieron Pollard smashing five almighty sixes and de Bruyn's innings was enough for the home side to win the derby.

Steve Kirby - in his first t20 match of the season - was the only bowler to escape with credit: four overs for 24. Vikram Banerjee was due a disaster and his four overs cost 54 as Somerset cantered home with seven balls to spare.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wonderful Glos win at Hove

t20: Gloucestershire 178-4 beat Sussex 170-9 by eight runs

Gloucestershire produced a wonderful display of t20 cricket to claim a fabulous win at Hove and inflict Sussex's first defeat in 14 t20 matches.

John Bracewell said his side needed to produce some special cricket to beat Sussex and Gloucestershire responded with an excellent disciplined performance.

Power at the top of the order was one thing Bracewell talked about as being essential to t20 success and James Franklin provided it with his highest t20 score.

Franklin looks so at ease at the crease and is bang in form at the moment. His strokeplay was a joy to watch. Timing, power and placement were married to perfection in 90 from just 50 balls.

Again Gloucestershire tried to be innovative. This time Jon Lewis was sent to open the batting and struck three boundaries before being quickly dismissed. But it was classic cricket, not innovation, that saw Glos rack up a very good total: a big score from the top and useful knocks around the set batsman.

They took 45 from a patient powerplay but - unlike the matches against Glamorgan and Sussex at Gloucester - kicked on well in the middle overs. Only three of the final 11 overs yielded a single figure total and 38 came from the final three.

Sussex also enjoyed a fruitful end to their innings but Gloucestershire had strangled them well in the middle overs and Sussex had no platform to build from in the closing stages, despite Joe Gatting giving the visitors a brief scare.

Sussex had no platform because Gloucestershire regularly chipped away with wickets after Brendon McCullum had swept Vikram Banerjee to Abdul-Kadeer Ali at deep square-leg. 83-for-one became 113-for-six as the dangerous Dwayne Smith and Chris Nash in the middle order were dismissed very cheaply.

Banerjee bowled beautifully. A nuance in flight and pace every ball produced two vital wickets and his four overs cost just 30. In partnership with Lewis - who again produced a miserly spell of four overs for just 26 - Gloucestershire conceded just 46 from the middle eight overs.

55 from 24 balls was too great a task for Sussex, who failed to break Surrey's record of consecutive t20 wins, as Gloucestershire claimed a vital victory.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Glos blown away at Gloucester

t20: Kent 217 beat Gloucestershire 181 by 36 runs

Gloucestershire completed a miserable return to Gloucester with a second heavy defeat in the Friends Provident t20.

After Sussex succeeded chasing at the King's School on Friday, Alex Gidman tried to replicate the tactic by choosing to bowl first, however he didn't reckon for a quality t20 side being able to use the excellent batting conditions better than his team could two days previously.

Kent racked up their highest-ever t20 total largely thanks to a wonderful opening stand of 87 between Rob Key and Joe Denley. The 10-an-over partnership provided a springboard for Kent to work from.

The majority of the scoring was done by the top order, allowing the rest of the batsmen to free their arms - thankfully for Gloucestershire only Azhar Mahmood succeeded.

Gloucestershire needed to go from ball one chasing almost 11-an-over to win - not beyond them on a tiny Archdeacon Meadow ground - so Kent were delighted when James Franklin cut to point for just six.

Will Portefield played nicely for his 43 from 26 balls but there weren't enough decent contributions on the Glos card. Both Alex Gidman and Hamish Marshall were bowled swinging across the line as a series of single figure scores removed any chance of a home victory.

Chris Taylor blazed his way to 67 from just 36 balls but when he holed out to deep midwicket in the penultimate over, any faint hope that Gloucestershire would pull off something truly spectacular walked off.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Glos smash Surrey for first win

t20: Gloucestershire 98-0 beat Surrey 97 by 10 wickets

Gloucestershire produced the perfect t20 performance to demolish Surrey at the Brit Oval.

Chasing just 98 to win, James Franklin and Will Porterfield had the audacity to knock the runs off and complete a total destruction.

A wonderfully-professional display from the visitors saw a perfectly executed plan in the field fire Surrey out for just 97 - the first time Glos have ever conceded beneath 100 runs in a 20-over match.

The effort in the first innings was then followed by an fabulous display with the bat. James Franklin again powered Gloucestershire off to a great start but it was Will Porterfield who played the most eye-catching strokes. His upper-cut for six over cover-point off Andre Nel was the first time the Porterfield has really showed his ability for Gloucestershire.

And even though a blistering start had ensured victory, the openers kept their foot on the pedal to win in just the tenth over.

But it was a marvellous effort in the field by the Westcountry men that set up the momentous victory. All the bowlers operated with tight lines and electric fielding caused mistakes to be made from the batsmen - three run outs were effected.

Surrey were reduced to 17-5. One of the best batting line-ups in t20 had been completely blown away. The big names kept walking out for Surrey but Anthony Ireland produced a nagging opening spell - two overs for six - and Ian Butler bowled the type of spell he has been brought in for - three overs, three-for-eight.

Only eight boundaries were conceded and the first innings was finished in just above 18 overs - the large crowd in at the Oval were stunned; Franklin and Porterfield ensured they went home completely bewildered.

Official report: www.gloscricket.co.uk

Friday, June 04, 2010

Butler nightmare in Glos defeat

t20: Glamorgan 151-4 beat Gloucestershire 148-6 by four wickets

It was Twenty20 cricket, so Gloucestershire were going to lose by definition. Granted they took Glamorgan to the final over but they were well beaten.

A warm Friday evening in Cardiff produced a fine atmosphere for cricket - but unfortunately for Gloucestershire the majority of the 7,243 record crowd went home happy.

The visitors produced a useful score to defend - perhaps too few than they should have made given their strong position - but failed to take enough wickets to apply enough pressure.

Ian Butler - Twenty20 specialist; overseas fast-bowler; star-attraction - had a nightmare of a t20 debut. A third-ball duck was followed up by four overs for 47 - his spell effectively losing Gloucestershire the match.

The rest of the bowling attack had bowled very tidily. Particularly Vikram Banerjee, who sent down four miserly overs for just 21, and Jon Lewis - often disregarded in the shortest format - whose first two overs conceded just four runs, and took 4-0-19-1.

But Glamorgan were always in control of the chase and were always up with the asking rate. From 35 off 24 balls, two decent overs was going to win the game - Ian Butler came onto bowl and the game was up.

Butler showed signs of the variety that makes him a success in t20 - the slower-ball bouncer was very effective. But his stock ball wasn't quick enough to hurry the batsmen. Shaun Tait had the genuine firepower to make batsmen play and miss with regularity from length bowling - four overs 1-19; Butler's length bowling was dispatched over long-on by David Brown in the penultimate over.

Brown - in his first appearance against his old club - showed no signs that Gloucestershire should have kept him: two overs for 17 and one decent shot in 14 not out. But the irony of his contribution at such a crucial stage was
not lost on the visitors.

Gloucestershire had worked a very useful position, winning the toss and batting first. John Bracewell had talked about power from the top-order and James Franklin provided it with 42 from 30 balls. Alex Gidman (25) and Hamish Marshall (27) chipped in with above a run-a-ball scores but from 77-2 after ten, 148 was perhaps a disappointment.

The main problem lay with Abdul-Kadeer coming in at number seven. Just when a power-hitter was needed, out came a nurdler - no fault of Kadeer of course but perhaps Ian Butler would have been better placed lower down.

What Gloucestershire did do very well was use the powerplay. 50 came from the opening six overs but that's where the Westcountry side peaked.


Official report: www.gloscricket.co.uk

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Glos hang on for Worcester draw

LVCC: Worcestershire 388 drew with Gloucestershire 245 & 243-7 (PTS: Worcs 10, Glos 5*)

Gloucestershire managed to cling on for a draw at New Road after rain had washed out the majority of the final day.

Play eventually got underway at 3.45pm and horrendous strokes from first James Franklin - hooking to Alexei Kervezee at deep square-leg - and then Chris Taylor - bowled trying to pull - put the visitors under pressure.

Worcestershire were looking to quickly chase down a total but after Vikram Banerjee had been dropped by Vikram Solanki at fourth slip, Banerjee and Jon Lewis stood firm to claim Gloucestershire's first draw of the season.

Bad weather certainly played it's part in this game but Gloucestershire have moved are well-placed to push for promotion in the second half of the season.

*Gloucestershire were deducted two points for a slow over rate in this match.

Official report: www.gloscricket.co.uk

Butler signs for T20

IAN BUTLER is set to become Gloucestershire's second Twenty20 overseas player after he met Alex Gidman and John Bracewell at New Road.

Gloucestershire had previously declared that financial restrictions would limit them to just one overseas player, but the opportunity of a cut-price deal and injuries to Ian Saxelby and Steve Kirby have loosened the purse strings.

Butler, who played for Gloucestershire back in 2003, has taken 49 wickets in Twenty20 cricket at 19.42 with his quick bowling. He has also claimed 19 wickets in 14 T20 internationals for New Zealand and last played against England in the T20 World Cup in March.

The 28-year-old has been suffering with a back injury and, similarly to Shane Bond, is not able to play longer forms of the game, having taken 24 wickets in test cricket for New Zealand between 2001 and 2004.
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