Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Festival ends in double defeat

LVCC: Surrey 423 & 186-8 beat Gloucestershire 286 & 320 by two wickets (PTS: Surrey 24, Glos 5)

It was a super game and although Gloucestershire lost, it was very encouraging that Surrey were ran very close chasing a small total. Maybe even 30 more could have won the game. But there was a fightback and it is not often that Gloucestershire respond from 100 behind.

For the past few seasons, the performances at Cheltenham have been so soft and, particularly last season, really have derailed a good season. But this year a poor Kent team were rolled over by an inning and this performance was a strong one against an excellent Surrey side that should be up at the top of the table. The acquisition of Jon Lewis will go a long way to putting that right next year.

But now Gloucestershire they are in serious limbo. Everything is on hold until the ground redevelopment planning application is heard. Contracts cannot be tabled and Gloucestershire need to keep Chris Taylor surely? A quality experienced hand who is enjoying a good summer and who seems to have plenty of year's left in him.

No youngsters that I've seen would be able to replace what Chris Taylor offers.

And in Hamish Marshall and Chris Dent, the opening partnership may have been solved. So to lose Marshall would be a major blow. It would be a shame if 2012 had to be another rebuilding season in that area.

CB40: Lancashire 294-6 beat Gloucestershire 290-4 by four wickets

2012 will still be another rebuilding year in one-day cricket. Gloucestershire are experimenting with youngsters in the short forms and it will take time to develop the nous and become streetwise that you need in one-day matches. The Gloucestershire of old would never have lost this match, even at Cheltenham.

But one-day experience will return. The immediate task is to keep a side together that have been going well in the Championship. Promotion probably won't come this year - Middlesex and Northamptonshire look the best two sides in the division. But this young side have done so well. The senior bones that are at the core of the team need to be kept together to ensure another challenge can be mounted next season.

Eyebrows will certainly be raised though if Gloucestershire can't keep Marshall and Taylor after cash was spent on Kevin O'Brien, who has produced one innings so far, and Muralitharan, who has produced nothing on the field, but probably lured a few extras through the turnstiles.

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