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Glamorgan, champions of Wales

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  • Glamorgan, champions of Wales

    Starting a new game as possibly the best team in all of Wales, Glamorgan. The aim is to build a squad to dominate all forms of domestic cricket. Don't laugh.

    Last year was a good year in terms of First Class cricket, mostly through the presence of Marnus Labuschagne pre-Ashes. When he joined last season he looked like another dubious signing but quickly proved the doubters wrong. Once he was called up we tanked in FC but finished a respectable 4th, however in OD and T20 cricket we were, to be gentle, just awful.

    We have, somehow, convinced him to return for the 2020 season and this gives a world cass player to build around. We do, however, have no T20 signings. Best to major on FC cricket I think.

    A look through the squad shows just one other batsman averages over 35 in his career and the best I can hope for as far as openers go are two batsman who will last about 11 overs each. So with a good top-middle order batsman and an ok no.6 I would ideally like to find and aggressive young opener who can learn the ropes at 3 in FC cricket for a seson before stepping. Failing this a batsman of average aggression to slot in at 4 with Labuschagne at 3.

    The bowling won't scare the opposition too much. The main threats are Hogan, and van der Gugten but Hogan is 38. Next up are de Lange and Wagg, who is also north of 35. There are no spinners to speak of. Sisodiya's FC stats look promising but his 2nd XI stats suggest they are misleading. I need to find a spinner who can at least hold an end.

    Lastly, if I possibly can I will get someone for the T20s. Anyone I can afford.

    I slash the youth and physio budgets and sign three players:

    Jeff Porter, a 19yo aggressive opener (hooray) who averages with the 2nd XIs are 48.41 (3day), 38.57 (OD) and 29.59 (T20).

    Brad Wadlan, a 31yo SLA all rounder. He is an improvement on what we have and adds some runs but given his age is a stop-gap.

    New Zealander Martin Guptil to open in the T20s

    I now have an idea of my FC team:
    C. Hemphrey
    N. Selman
    J. Porter
    M. Labuschagne
    B. Root
    C. Cook
    B. Wadlan
    G. Wagg
    M. Hogan
    M. De Lange
    T. van der Gugten

    We should average about 316 in about 88 overs in FC cricket if Labuschagne maintains last year's standards and the all-rounders do well. Unfortunately our bowlers will take about 80 overs to bowl out the opposition for roughly the same total. We should be competitive but much will rest on batting first and Labuschagne to win. Equally if Hogan or van der Gugten hits some poor form we will struggle.

    Apart from Guptil I will have to see who is in form when we get to the LO matches.

    Next up, the matches.
    Last edited by cde; 08-06-2020, 10:06 PM.

  • #2
    We start the season with six FC matches before we hit the T20s, so plenty of time to build momentum and results or, just as likely, slowly fail. Our FC goal is to finish in the top half of the table and no lower than 5. Promotion would be a nice surprise but premature given our squad.

    The warm-up goes well with most of the batsmen making a 50 and the bowlers skittling out the opposition.

    Our first competative match is at home against Middlesex. We field Hemprey, Selman, Porter, Labuschagne, Root, Cooke, Wadlan, Wagg, Hogan, de Lange and van der Gugten and opt for a seam friendly pitch.
    We win the toss and bat first, Labuschagne hitting a 50, Selman and Porter falling just short as we post 289. The 4th best total was through extras - 43 runs!
    Hogan and de Lange open the bowling and after an early run out we scythe through the top of the order and have them at a surprising 97-5. Tom Lace and John Simpson fight back with a 102 run stand but we bowl them for 229, a lead of 60.
    They skittle our top three but Labuschagne and Root dig in to slowly turn the tide. Labuschagne's 135 ball 30 turns the innings away from Middlesex but it is a century from Root and 49 from Cooke that allows us to set them a target of 288 to win in two and a half sessions - a hopefully tempting target that is just out of reach.
    We need just 30 overs to win by 226 runs.

    A very good win with contributions from the whole team.


    • #3
      Next up are Leicestershire. The pitch is flat, maybe taking some spin later. If I had a second spinner with a decent economy or, indeed, average I would swap them for Wagg but I don't so the line up is unchanged. Leicestershire's opening pair are Janneman Malan and Hasan Azad, both with averages over 50, then Ackermann and Cosgrove, both with averages over 40. If they get in to bat first on this pitch these guys could set them up and I will probably be playing for a draw.

      They do bat first and the top 4 do well but we manage to keep their run-rate down a bit and bowl them for 364, which keeps the game just about alive. Selman and Porter hit 50s but Labuschagne moves the match our way with 177 before Wagg's 88 off 138 puts us in charge and 134 ahead. With just over a day's play remaining it seems unlikely that we can force a result with our bowling resources on this pitch. Which we don't. We need a second spinner.


      • #4
        Worcester at home. An unchanged side and a bouncy pitch. A look at their line up and this is a game we should win if we bat first.

        We do. And are saved from 64-5 by a steady 50 partnership between Wadlan and Cooke and a 50 from de Lange to limp to 203. Worcester, happily, repay the favour and despite Wessels spanking the bowlers to every corner of the pitch crash to 213 by tea on day two.

        With so much time to play and such a poor first innings performance we set out on a no-risk accumulating strategy. Selman posts a painfully slow century with his only real help coming from Root and Cooke. This, however, works and we set them a conservative 333 to win in two and a half sessions. They score 3 ducks and only two batsmen make it out of single figures. A win after all.


        • #5
          Sussex away. They are currently 3 from 3 so this should be a tight match. We field an unchanged side. The pitch looks flat-ish but should do something and the first and last days are overcast. We are asked to bat first.

          Selman and Hemphrey dig in and are both still in at lunch - a good result. Starting to feel confident after lunch Hemphrey goes for 53, a minor set back. Oliver Robinson traps Selman LBW soon after but we still look comfortable. Then Robinson takes a hat-trick and from 80-0 we are suddenly 104-5. Eek. Porter, Wadlan and Wagg rebuild and despite Robinson's 8-95 we post a very pleasing 342. Bopara and Head put up a century partnership and take them 3 runs past our total.

          We bat positively to set them a very competative 253 to win in a shade under two sessions. We take two quick wickets before we are thwarted again by Bopara and Head. Once they go we take a few quick wickets and with Clarke and Robinson smashing us about rain stops play with them needing 55 more runs and us 4 wickets. A frustating end but I would have taken a draw if offered it on day one.


          • #6
            We welcome Derbyshire next. Since his 107* in the first match Root has averaged less than 13 and his form has dropped to 35. I swap him for Kiran Carlson, another average aggresion batsman with a...modest average. His form is up and even if he scores his career average of 29 it will be an improvement. Derbyshire look ok. We are asked to bowl first, so a win is immediately less likely.

            A quiete opening spell for Hogan and de Lange is followed by Reece setting upon van der Gugten like he has just discovered the bowler has been saying rude things about his mother. We rein him in and van der Gugten bounces back to take 4 in the innings to bowl them for just 279. A win is back on the cards. It turns out that bringing in Carlson was the choice of a very astute selector because his 61 is far away the higest score as we slump to 168.

            Unless Derbyshire collapse spectacularly we are playing for a draw. There is a very long time left in the match so we attempt to contain their batsmen with the aim of eating up as much time as possible. It works as well as can be expected and we bowl them for 232 with more than three and a half sessions to go. it would have been better to have eaten up more time. This is going to be tough. It goes surprisingly well and with two sessions to go we are two down with 250 needed so try to pick up the pace. We are quickly 2 more wickets down. We drop anchor and our last pair cling on for the draw. We deserved to lose that.
            Last edited by cde; 08-08-2020, 12:22 PM.


            • #7
              Off to Durham who, thankfully, are missing Stokes but not Mark Wood. A bouncy pitch and clear skies. We are asked to bowl first so this could get difficult.

              Bancroft leads with 132 with Eckersley falling one short of a century at no.3 as we bowl them for 351. Selman and Labuschagne hit 50s but we can only manage 229. Survival mode again.

              We hold their run rate down until David Bedingham comess in at 4 and they declare on 247-2 with 9 overs of the third day remaining. Selman, Cooke and Wadlan are particularly adhesive as we bat out a confortable draw.


              • #8
                With almost half the FC matches it is time for a review of how the team are performing.

                The best performing batsman so far has, surprisingly been Nick Selman, averaging a healthy 46.58. Next up are Cooke and Porter at 37 and 36. Labuschagne's average is heavily distorted by his 176 on a flat pitch with his average outside of this just 32. With Root averaging just 13 and Carlson 27 in his 2 matches we have an issue with the middle order.

                Wadlan has batted pleasingly with an average in the mid 30s although his bowling - 20 wickets at 30 runs each is hardly inspiring but Wagg is doing quite nicely with his batting and bowling slightly up on average.

                Our trio of seamers are where we are doing best. The opening pair of Hogan and de Lange averaging 22.81 and 26.79 with Hogan's economy a miserly 2.38. however it is van der Gugten who has been in the form of his life with 31 wickets at an average of 19.29 and economy of 2.69.

                The batting is brittle and heavily reliant on good batting conditions to do anything other than crawl along. If just one of our trio of specialist bowlers loses form we are going to struggle badly later in the season.


                • #9
                  We start the T20 tournament with Guptil and Colin Ingram strengthening the batting. Even more than in FC cricket our T20 strength lies in our bowlers. The first choice attack of Hogan, de Lange, van der Gugten and Wagg average 24, 25, 20 and 27 respectively though de Lange and Wagg's econony are a bit high. Wadlan is an unknown but Salter and Smith have ok averages and Bull has decent 2nd XI averages. The batting is much weaker, especially with Labuschagne is poor form. We start the tournament with the following line-up:

                  M. Guptil
                  D. Lloyd
                  J. Porter
                  C. Ingram
                  C. Cooke
                  K. Carlson
                  B. Wadlan
                  G. Wagg
                  T. van der Gugten
                  M. De Lange
                  M. Hogan

                  Our principle strategy is to bowl first and keep the score down, thereby taking the pressure off what has proved in FC cricket to be a brittle batting line-up. Guptil and Ingram are our main batting threats but the two all-rounders should help.


                  • #10
                    Half way through the group stage we stop for a FC match.

                    Given that we came last in the group last season we are doing very well, sitting 2nd in the table with 5 from 7.

                    Two easy victories before a loss away to Gloucestershire. We could possibly have won it if we hadn't dropped man-of-the-match Ian Cockbain twice in the 20s on his way to 82. They post 166 but on the bright side de Lange takes 5 wickets on the trot in the final over to set a new club T20 record of 6-30 (see screen shot).

                    Carlson is a walking wicket so Labuschagne replaces him at 5 and does ok.

                    Both he a Guptil are called up after the next game and are replaced by Root and Selman.

                    Selman does well but we are dealt another blow when van der Gugten is called up before our 7th match, against Somerset. The only bowler doing ok in the 2nd XI is Douthwaite and despite some reservations I play him at 8. For the first time we bat first and we post a respectable 168 but my reservations about Douthwaite prove well founded and his two overs prove the catalyst for Somerset to chase down our target with 2 balls remaining.


                    • #11
                      Our FC match is away to Nottinghamshire and things look a bit bleak. We are missing our international batsman and leading wicket taker while Notts have a decent enough batting line up but the main threat comes from their bowling attack - Stuart Broad, Mohammad Abbas, Luke Fletcher and Jake Ball available. The pitch is bouncy, with spin unlikely and the first two sessions are overcast.

                      Our lack of depth is painful. We keep the top three of Hemphrey, Selman and Porter with Root, Cooke and Lloyd following. No great confidence there then. The bowling options aren't much better and I plump for Ruaidhari Smith over Lukas Carey on form. If we win the toss we will choose to bowl, our main hope to get them cheap. If we bat first it could be a very short match. We win the toss and bowl.

                      Duckett and Trego put on 60 each as we bowl them for a reasonable 245. Most surprisingly Smith takes 5-64, though at an economy of 4.58. We start our reply well enough but it is slow going. A few wuick wickets and we are almost out of the contest, Hemphrey at least holding up an end until he is taken out by a short one from Abbas. We are out for 177.

                      We bowl ok in the second innings but they have so much time they slowly build a formidable lead by the time we bowl them out. We have a day and half a session to hold out and we manage a day, bowled out with 30 minutes to spare. Thoroughly outclassed.


                      • #12
                        We are now at the half-way point of the FC season and we are in 5th place with 80 points. We are unlikely to catch 3rd placed Sussex on 112 but could finish anywhere between 4th and 6th with Middlesex just above on 87 and Derbyshire just below on 70.


                        • #13
                          We play four more T20s before the next FC match. Van der Gugten is back and we register three more good wins, though the batsmen strive to prove there is no total low enough for them to struggle to meet.

                          Our fourth is against Middlesex where a dropped catch and two no-ball dismissals cost us dearly and they post a commanding total that we get nowhere near. We are now 4 points clear at the top of the table.


                          • #14
                            We welcome top of the table Durham, a team reinforced by being able to play Ben Stokes. The pitch is bouncy with some spin, the first two sessions of day two are overcast while raini s forecast for day 3. With any luck we will bat first there will be enough rain for a draw. We lose the toss and bowl first.

                            Alex Lees falls three short of a century as we bowl them for a good 271. We start our reply in overcast conditions but cling on throughout the day but can manage just 192.

                            Most of day three is lost to rain and Durham hang on a little too long to set us 250 to win in a little over a session. Not tempting in the slightest, we bat out a draw.


                            • #15
                              Time for one more T20 win - Guptil's return helped and while van der Gugten is called up again Carey performs well.