Sunday, May 15, 2011

Glos defeat only an aberration

LVCC: Northamptonshire 557-9dec. beat Gloucestershire 288 & 263 by an innings and six runs (PTS: Northants 24, Glos 4)

Two collapses lost Gloucestershire a match they could well have saved given the nature of the pitch at Bristol. It was flat and typically slow and good enough for the visitors to rack up a huge total which created too much pressure for Gloucestershire.

Their inexperience at the top of the order was evident. Players with more nous under such circumstances may have been able to see off the new ball. But they failed and twice Gloucestershire were blown away so early in both their innings.

Alex Gidman's form is of much concern. The skipper has moved himself down the order this season but aside a few runs in the small chase against Derbyshire at Bristol, he hasn't produced anything of note, with a recent run of single figure scores.

But his brother is a real find. Will Gidman spent a long time at the MCC and a few years up at Durham without being given a chance in four-day cricket. Now he has his opportunity and already has over 500 runs. Both his innings were patient affairs - he left well and defended confidently, giving himself a chance to get into an innings. Others - notably Kane Williamson and Jon Batty - played poor shots and never gave themselves a chance.

His played within his means and scored where he wanted to - primarily square of the wicket on the off side. He used the cut stroke very well and once he was settled he got forward more and drove superbly.

There is now of course an argument to push him up the order. But with Hamish Marshall in form, once he comes back Gloucestershire should get runs at the top of the order. Marshall's experience can help Ian Cockbain - who deserves to keep his place for the time being but may come under pressure from Chris Dent once he comes back from injury.

So Gidman should stay at number seven and hopefully his form will continue. But Gloucestershire need their captain to reproduce his few scores in the Clydesdale Bank 40 League - that would at least give him at start in championship cricket.

But not too much should be read into this defeat. It has been a busy start for a changed team and many didn't think Gloucestershire would get as good a start as they have with two victories so far. Gloucestershire have injuries and haven't found their best side just yet. There is much to look forward to this season.

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