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Glamorgan. Again. And probably at length.

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  • Glamorgan. Again. And probably at length.

    Like last year the challenge is to take what is, by quite a distance, the best cricketing team in all of the South Wales area to hitherto unlikely levels of success and glory – in this cast the English domestic quadruple. So we are looking at topping the County Championship table, winning the Bob Willis Trophy (the FC final), the Challenge Trophy and the T20 Blast all in one season. This might take a while or, like last year, might come so quickly you might doubt its authenticity. This will not involve the new limited over competition except when I complain bitterly about how many players I lose to it.

    So what does the squad for 2021 look like?

    Probably the biggest losses are club stalwart all-rounder Graham Wagg and quick bowler Marchant de Lange who will be missed in the T20 format. While Wagg has moved away from the top tier of cricket in Britain de Lange has signed for Somerset.

    One of most exciting advantages in Getting Brexit Done is that we have rid ourselves of the evil Kolpak system where overseas players who are unloved, undervalued or simply underpaid in their native country have taken jobs of our home-grown talent. Except in the case of Glamorgan where it has simply seen off almost all the openers, leaving the team with Selman and Lloyd who average just over 28 and Joe Cooke who averages a dizzying 12.67.
    On the overseas signing front Labuschagne makes a welcome return the introduction of fellow Australian all-rounder Michael Nessar is possibly just as exciting. Colin Ingram is the third overseas signing with Andrew Balbirnie joining us for the T20s.

    The other fairly interesting signing for this season is all-rounder James Weighell.

    It would be safe to say that the county selection screen seems to be very generous to the Glamorgan batters, though the preponderance of all-rounders may boost the score. The batting is given five out of five stars despite extremely weak options at opener and other than Labuschagne only two batsmen have an average in the 30s – Chris Cooke with 35 and Billy Root with 32. On the other hand, the bowling is given 3 despite a first choice seam bowling attack of Hogan, Nessar, van der Gugten and Weighell average 24, 25, 27 and a shade under 29. Admittedly the cupboard is bare beyond those four and especially as far as spinners go in FC cricket but Sisodiya offers a good T20 spin option.

    Now I have signed on the dotted line it is time to see how I can strengthen the squad.

  • #2
    Signings 2021

    Looking first at the batsmen there is cause for some alarm. The big problem with having lots of batsmen with low averages is that in every match you will struggle unless a couple of them pull big scores out of the bag. This can be offset by excellent bowling but only to a degree.

    I need batsmen. Of all sorts. In all positions. Labuschagne is great, Chris Cooke is ok as a wicketkeeper but that is as far as it goes. The rest WILL put in some good performances but the idea that I can field a team with four frontline batsmen averaging under 30 and expect consistent results is ludicrous. This goes across all formats. Having at least two decent all-rounders helps but they can not be expected to make up for the weaknesses in the batting every match.

    Attention then turns to the bowlers. The first-choice seamers are good but are all RFM and so there is a good chance that there will be times that the lack of variety will cause problems. There is no viable FC spin option though at least there is one for the T20s.

    There are few options on the list of senior players still looking for places but masses of youngsters. None of the six bowlers on offer average below 34 and the four all-rounders all have batting averages lower than their bowling averages. There are however a huge number of batsmen looking for a home. I spy four young batsmen who I would like to sign but can’t afford them without slashing the budgets and even if I sign all four would it be wise to play all of them in the same team?

    I umm.
    I ahh.
    I vacillate.
    I slash the budgets and sign the boys, all for three years.

    I probably won’t be playing them all at once and I’ll regret the lack of investment but let’s go for glory or die trying.

    The new boys are:

    Aggressive opener Nicholas Johns who has an average of just under 40 in 3-day cricket but 48 and 32 in the 2nd XI LO formats. He probably won’t play too much FC cricket but could be a good LO specialist.

    Opener Matthew Brownlow who averages 53 in 3-day, 49 in OD and 23 in the 2nd XI formats. I will probably start him off at 3.

    Aggressive batman Andy Dennis who averages 55 in the 3-day matches, a disappointing 35 in the OD but an altogether exciting 43(!) in the T20. Whoop whoop!

    Finally, we have Robin Ecclestone, the lad who first caught my attention. A 3-day average of 61 makes him a shoo-in for the FC team while an average of 48 in the OD format is not to be sniffed at either. His average of 23 in the T20s is rather disappointing, however.

    I feel kind of pleased with the selection in that I like the look of all three but the lack of resourcing could be an issue. I would also probably have preferred to sign two this year and two the next to better integrate them into the team but hey ho.

    I am also very aware that if I come across a spinning pitch I will struggle to take 20 wickets in a FC match.


    • #3
      Yorkshire v Glamorgan, Leeds

      I have no warm up match – something I hope will not be repeated next season and face Yorkshire away first match of the season.

      I start to allocate training sessions and immediately regret having slashed into the budget. I have but six sessions to allocate. I split them in two, giving Hogan, Nessar and van der Gugten extra bowling practice to get them up to speed and do the same to Labuschagne and Lloyd. I then check out the new signings to see who is likely to be playing. I would like to play Brownlow at three and Ecclestone at five with Labuschagne between them to act as an anchor. Brownlow’s form is at 79% so doesn’t need the practice but Ecclestone is at 36%, far below the level I would chuck a young batman into the FC team. I look to Dennis who is on 50% so I give him the last practice slot.

      Out of all the spinning options I go for Prem Sisodiya as his 2nd XI averages are better than I thought they would be.

      A Lythe, W. Fraine, G. Balance, J. Root, D. Malan, T. Kohler-Cadmore, J. Bairstow, D. Bess, F. Sheat, D. Olivier, B. Coad

      N. Selman, D. Lloyd, M. Brownlow, M. Labuschagne, C. Cooke*, A. Dennis, M. Nesser, J. Weighell, P. Sisodiya, M. Hogan, T. van der Gugten

      Yorkshire win the toss and ask us to bowl first so I am already managing my expectations though the pitch has two bars bounce and a bar of spin so there is some hope of mot getting a good beeting by catching underprepared batsmen with my seam attack. More likely is that they will put some runs on me, probably quickly given their middle order, and their bowlers will be enjoying themselves. Hogan and van der Gugten open the bowling and keep them quiet for 8 overs before Hogan traps Lyth LBW. They can’t get a ball away and the pressure eventually leads to Balance being put down by Selam at first slip on 20 before Nessar bowls Fraine for 29 and Root for 6 when he returns for his second spell. We look to capitalise on our breakthrough but Balance and Malan dig in before starting to build momentum. Nessar has Balance caught at silly leg for 98 and Malan for 84 in the slips with the new ball but the damage has been done and day one ends with Yorkshire on 251-5.

      Next morning Bairstow starts biffing a few but Nessar gets his 5-for when he edges to the keeper and then traps Kohler-Cadmore lbw. Bess bats well but is left stranded on 35 as Sisodiya takes two and Weighell one to wrap up Yorkshire for 332 half an hour before lunch. I start carefully but Lloyd is out before lunch, caught at slip off Kohler-Cadmore for 1 and the Brownlow has his middle stump removed by Olivier bowling around the wicket for 13 – something I should probably look into in Brownlow’s technique. We collapse in a pitiful manner, Selman to scoring with 34 as we fall to 104 all-out and are asked to follow on. I lose both opener for four and end the day looking forward to a humiliating third day.

      Next morning Brownlow and Labuschagne fight back with a 125 partnership before Brownlow is bowled once more by Olivier but this time for 62. Cooke joins the fightback with and another 67 is added before Labuschagne misses one and gets bowled by Bess. Dennis doesn’t hang about but a good 62 from Cooke and some biffing from Nessar and Weighell helps us set Yorkshire and imposing 76 to win. I treat it like a LO match just in case they try to smack off the runs and trip themselves up. Hogan and Nessar open the bowling and in his first over Nessar has Balance clip one to silly leg and Root LBW. They see out the day and we have some hope for another wicket or two in the morning.

      It doesn’t come and they cruise to a comfortable 8 wicket victory.

      A chastening experience. Nessar’s 6-75 in the first innings has him pushing van der Gugten aside to open the bowling with Hogan but all the other bowlers struggled for wickets. Scores of 62, 83, 62 from 3-4-5 are encouraging but an innings too late.


      • #4
        Interested to see how you get on. Roman Walker is a great t20 bowler in my current save (interesting as he's been great in the real life Blast this year too) so I recommend giving him a go. Carlson and Taylor have been good too, I think Sureshot upgraded their batting after I mentioned them both in some pre release database feedback.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Lynx54321 View Post
          Interested to see how you get on. Roman Walker is a great t20 bowler in my current save (interesting as he's been great in the real life Blast this year too) so I recommend giving him a go. Carlson and Taylor have been good too, I think Sureshot upgraded their batting after I mentioned them both in some pre release database feedback.
          Thanks for the advice! I've not had too much joy with Taylor in the past but I'll give him more of a go.
          Unfortunately Glamorgan got absolutely stuffed silly today in the blast so I hope I can do better!


          • #6
            Glamorgan v Sussex

            N. Selman, D. Lloyd, M. Brownlow, M. Labuschagne, C. Cooke*, A. Dennis, M. Nesser, J. Weighell, P. Sisodiya, M. Hogan, T. van der Gugten

            P. Salt, T. Haines, S. Van Zyl, T. Head, T. Clark, D. Rawlins, B. Brown, G. Garton, W. Beer, O. Robinson, S. Meaker

            Kent win the toss and ask us to bat first. The pitch is bouncy with no spin.

            There is plenty of cloud and rain for the first three days but the opening session is dry so the decision to put me in to bat could work out ok. Lloyd, however, is out quickly and despite Brownlow giving away numerous chances he hangs on in there and with Selman reach a respectable 105-1 at lunch. Most of the rest of the day is lost to rain and in the last over of the day Selman clips a wide one to
            the keeper on 62 to see us 145-2 at close of play.

            In overcast conditions the batmen make a careful start but when a defensive shot from Brownlow makes it’s way back to Meaker it starts a collapse. Dennis puts up a fight but we are all out just after lunch for 210, a loss of eight wickets for just 65 runs. They start surprisingly briskly but we take a couple of quick wickets. Salt and Head punch us around the ground but are reined in. They build decent partnerships before the day ends in rain.

            We chip away at them when rain allows but they build to 333 all-out, far too high for a seam orientated bowling attack to give away in these conditions. Nessar takes another 5-for but Weighell is utterly ineffective. After another rain delay we come in with 45 minutes to play. Lloyd manages to get to double figures but it is hard going and we end the day 32-1.

            Deciding to be positive and with conditions fair I decide to try to set a total despite being so far behind. We lose Brownlow quickly so drop anchor. Labuschagne grinds out an unbeaten 89 with Dennis helping along with 40no. We pull ahead. Well, grind ahead and decide to declare 110 ahead with an hour and ten to go in the hope they look for the win and we get cheap wickets. They happily go for it and are 47-7 in ten overs. They dig in and despite one more wicket we can’t force them out.

            A reasonable draw given the conditions but there are serious issues with the bowling attack and Lloyd is playing like the ball has Covid.


            • #7
              Northamptonshire v Glamorgan

              R. Vasconcelos, B. Curran. L. Proctor, A. Rossington, R. Keogh, R. Levi, T. Taylor, S. Zaib, W. Parnell, B. Sanderson, B. Glover

              N. Selman, M. Brownlow, M. Labuschagne, C. Cooke, A. Dennis, K. Carlson, M. Nessar, C. Taylor, M. Hogan, T. van der Gugten, P. Sisodiya

              I would like to replace Lloyd with Joe Cooke to open so I could keep Brownlow at three but Cooke is in awful form. Instead I introduce Carlson at 6 and everyone moves up. Since the pitch is offering some turnI also replace the struggling Weighell with Taylor.
              We win toss and bat first.

              Brownlow comes and goes but Selman and Labuschagne build a good partnership followed by a century partnership from Selman and Cooke, both of whom eventually both fall in the 70s. Dennis is in and out but another century partnership from Carlson and Nasser sees us end the day 296-5.

              The next day we push on with a half century from Taylor to finish on a commanding 444 all-out.

              Hogan and van der Gugten open the bowling and van der Gugten guts the top order taking four quick wickets and reducing them to 15-4. Hogan takes another to see them to 30-5 just before tea. When play resumes van der Gugten can’t add to his wickets but with I introduce Sisodiya who after some stubborn resistance starts taking wickets. I introduce Taylor to but once Sisodiya has 4-19 I reintroduce van der Gugten in a race for the five-wicket haul. van der Gugten wins and finishes with 5-27 with Sisodiya stranded on 4-23 as they are bowled for just 97. We ask them to follow on and Hogan finds the edge of Vasconcelos’ bat in the few overs before end of play.

              They put together some good partnerships a century from Rossington and half centuries from Curran and Keogh but they are five down by the time we take the new ball just after tea. Hogan takes a few quick wickets with the new ball and the day finishes with the match all but won.

              We finish them off in the morning to win by an innings and 32 runs, a strong performance and strong contributions from almost every player.


              • #8
                Kent v Glamorgan

                D. Bell-Drummond, O. Robinson, Z. Crawley, J. Denly, J. Leaning, D. Stevens, T. Muyeye, Q Ahmad, H. Podmore, M. Milnes, M. Cummings

                N. Selman, M. Brownlow, M. Labuschagne, C. Cooke, R. Ecclestone, K. Carlson, M. Nessar, R. Smith, M. Hogan, T. van der Gugten, P. Sisodiya

                Dennis is hardly setting the world alight while Ecclestone has got his form up to 79% so replaces him at 5. With the pitch offering bounce over spin Smith replaces Taylor.

                Kent win the toss and bat first.

                An early wicket for Hogan sees off Bell-Drummond for and then just as Crawley picks up the pace Smith gets one past the bat. This, however is where the momentum shifts and a century partnership for Robinson (100) and Denly (68) shift control their way. They build another couple of partnerships but we take some quick wickets to leave them 311-9 at the end of day one.

                We return hoping to clean up but Milnes and Cummings bash another 27 runs to take them to 338 all out. Selman and Browlow are both out for 7 forcing us on the defensive. Labuschagne hits 48 but Cooke is out for just 15. Labuschagne doesn’t last much longer, Carlson runs out Ecclestone then promptly gets trapped LBW by Milne, Nessar is out for a duck. Smith and Hogan hit 30s and the last batsmen drag us past the carry on and to the mighty total of 199, 139 behind Kent. We take to the field with the hope that sensing an easy win they might get careless and allow us to get back into the game using LO tactics. Bell-Drummond and Robinson are caught LBW trying to play across the line of the ball into the spaces on the leg side while Denley miscues a pull and skies the ball from Smith who catches it running backwards. Crawley goes on the counter-attack and they end the day 63-3.

                They start strongly so we put a lid on the run rate and wait for the mistake. Van der Gugten has Leaning caught behind then Sisodiya takes Stevens and Crawley in quick succession with Nessar adding Muyeye for a duck. They are now 122-7 and a healthy 261 ahead. Sisodiya finishes them off and takes his first FC 5-for with 5-34. They finished 151 all out leaving us an unlikely run chase of 291 to win. We do, however have almost five whole sessions so there is no reason why we can’t chase it down if we are careful enough. We lose Selman for 24 to reach 60-1 at tea after which Ahmad rips through the wickets with some help from the seamers to leave us floundering on 137-7 at day’s end.

                We stagger on to reach 180 but Ahmed is too good for the batsmen and finishes with figures of 6-45 in the inning and 10-106 in the match, an excellent performance and just too good for us.

                Disappointing after the win over Northampton.


                • #9
                  I play a few more games then I inexplicably lose the save. This is nothing to do with the game and more to do with a 5 year old trying to turn off the game to look up videos of dogs being rescued. I'm at a loss to see how he managed it but such are the wonders of children.

                  Struggling my shoulders and going in to Dropbox to restore the deleted file I realise that I forgot to turn Dropbox on. WHAT WAS I THINKING????

                  Evidently I wasn't.