Archive for Glamorgan

Close of Play

Posted in Cricket with tags , on September 27, 2018 by telescoper

Today has seen the last day’s play of the 2018 County Championship season, yet another sign that summer is over. This has happened very late this year. Indeed I wonder if this is the latest end to a County Championship season ever? Had the last round of matches started before the start of teaching term, I might have gone back to Cardiff for at least some of Glamorgan’s last match but the timing made that impossible.

Glamorgan actually won their last game of the season, yesterday, beating Leicestershire by 132 runs. That was a fairly comfortable victory, but Glamorgan made hard work of it given that Leicestershire were 102 for 8 in their second and managed to reach 270 all out. That was Glamorgan’s second win of the season, the first being their first match of the season, against Gloucestershire. In between these two they’ve endured a wretched season of 10 defeats – including several absolute thrashings – and two draws. It’s true that Glamorgan been unlucky, with injuries to key players, and others being called up for international duty, but it’s worrying that the others just haven’t been good enough to compete. Some young players haven’t come on at all, others seem to have gone backwards, and one (Aneurin Donald) left the club in mid-season. It’s hard not to point the finger and the coaches for this.

I hope Glamorgan have a better season next year. I won’t be renewing my membership, though, as I’ll be spending nearly all my time here in Ireland.

Their final result notwithstanding, Glamorgan are rooted firmly to the bottom of Division Two. The top two teams, promoted to Division One next year are Warwickshire and Kent. Relegated from Division One are Worcestershire and Lancashire. The latter finished level on points with Nottinghamshire, but were relegated because they had won fewer games. Lancashire won their last game, but failed to get enough bonus points in their first innings, collapsing from 273 for 7 to 273 all out. Had they made 300 they would have stayed up. C’est la vie.

The last game of the season to finish was a topsy-turvy affair featuring Surrey versus Essex, the end of which I followed this afternoon on a cricinfo tab while doing other stuff. Surrey had already been confirmed as champions before this last round of matches, and perhaps they were still hung over when they were dismissed for 67 in their first innings on Monday. Essex then declared on 477 for 8, looking set for a comprehensive victory. But Surrey showed their mettle and reached 541 in their second innings, but Essex still needed only 132 to win. In an exciting finish, they slumped to 124 for 9, but managed to win by one wicket.

It seems apt to mark the end of the County Championship with one of the classic cricket poems, Close of Play by Thomas Moult.

How shall we live, now that the summer’s ended,
And bat and ball (too soon!) are put aside,
And all our cricket deeds and dreams have blended —
The hit for six, the champion bowled for none,
The match we planned to win and never won? …
Only in Green-winged memory they abide.

How shall we live, who love our loveliest game
With such bright ardour that when stumps are drawn
We talk into the twilight, always the same
Old talk with laughter round off each tale —
Laughter of friends across a pint of ale
In the blue shade of the pavilion.

For the last time a batsman is out, the day
Like the drained glass and the dear sundown field
is empty; what instead of Summer’s play
Can occupy these darkling months ere spring
Hails willows once again the crowned king?
How shall we live so life may not be chilled?

Well, what’s a crimson hearth for, and the lamp
Of winter nights, and these plump yellow books
That cherish Wisden’s soul and bear his stamp —
And bat and ball (too soon!) are put aside,
Time’s ever changing, unalterable score-board,
Thick-clustered with a thousand names adored:
Half the game’s magic in their very looks!

And when we’ve learnt those almanacs by heart,
And shared with Nyren … Cardus ….the distant thrill
That cannot fade since they have had their part,
We’ll trudge wet streets through fog and mire
And praise our heroes by the club-room fire:
O do not doubt the game will hold us still!

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Glamorgan v Durham: Day 3

Posted in Biographical, Cricket with tags , , , , on August 21, 2018 by telescoper

I flew back this morning from Dublin to Cardiff and, since Sophia Gardens is on the way to my Pontcanna residence from the bus stop, I popped in to watch the last rites of the County Championship match between Glamorgan and Durham.

I got there just in time to see the start of play, with Glamorgan resuming on 79 for 7. Just over half an hour later they were all out for 111 and had list the match by an innings and 30 runs. That despite the fact that Durham only scored 295 in their first innings.

You can’t really blame the tailenders this morning. Glamorgan’s higher-order batsmen folded twice in the match. Their line-up looked weak on paper and so it proved.

Glamorgan have five remaining County Championship matches to play with no overseas batsmen (Marsh & Khawaja having returned to Australian duties). The loss of fast bowler Marchant De Lange for the whole season with a hamstring injury hasn’t helped either. To make matters worse, yesterday Aneurin Donald announced he was leaving the club for Hampshire with immediate effect.

Glamorgan are clearly going to finish bottom of Division 2 of the County Championship. The club having gambled all on success in the Twenty20 format, and lost, they’re now adrift, going nowhere, and with morale at a low ebb. I wouldn’t be surprised if other players joined Donald in seeking pastures new.

The only thing that can turn Glamorgan round is a complete overhaul of its strategy and coaching staff. I’m not sure however whether the club management will do the necessary though.

Anyway, I may get to see some more cricket at Sophia Gardens on my season ticket next month, but I won’t be renewing my membership. Living in Ireland would make it impossible to see enough to justify the expense, even if there were a decent team to watch.

Glamorgan versus Hampshire: Vitality Blast Twenty20

Posted in Cricket with tags , , , , on August 10, 2018 by telescoper

After indifferent weather all day it turned out nice for this evening’s Twenty20 match at Sophia Gardens between Glamorgan and Hampshire. It was a good night for Glamorgan too, as they won by 8 wickets, making it a run of five victories in a row.

Glamorgan won the toss asked Hampshire to bat. Openers Vince and Roussow got the visitors off to a flying start, putting on 58 in less than five overs, before Vince was well caught by David Lloyd (returning to the side after injury) off Hogan.

Glamorgan’s quicker bowlers were expensive but spinners Salter (2 for 16 off 4) and Ingram (1-10 off 2) and medium-pacer Meschede (3 for 21 off 4) established control after the power play, and wickets fell as the Hampshire batsmen struggled to accelerate from their good base and frustration set in. From 90 for 1 in the 8th over they could only manage 151 off their 20. Graham Wagg bowled the last three overs from the Cathedral Road end for just 16. When everyone had expected Hampshire to accelerate, they slowed down dramatically thanks to fine bowling and fielding. The catching, in particular, was outstanding: wickets resulted from mistimed slogs, some of which went very high indeed. No chances went down.

With a target of 152 to win, Glamorgan were favourites, the only real worry being complacency. Donald fell early, run out by a direct hit while clearly not paying attention. That brought Colin Ingram to the crease and he immediately started to play his shots. There were one or two near misses early on, lofted shots just clearing the infield, but when he got into his stride the match was never in doubt. He finished on 71 not out, including four huge sixes and six fours.

Meschede fell with the score on 101, but Kieran Carlson played confidently to finish unbeaten on 31.

Needing a miracle with the score on 146 for 2, Hampshire brought Dale Steyn back on the 16th over. After a single from Carlson, Ingram clouted one to the fine leg boundary for four. The scores were level. Two dot balls followed, then Steyn bowled a bouncer that took off, Ingram ducked and the ball went through the wicketkeepers gloves for four byes. Game over.

Glamorgan versus Essex: Vitality Blast Twenty20

Posted in Cricket with tags , , , , , on August 7, 2018 by telescoper

I’m back in Cardiff for a few days sorting out some logistics, and also to make the most of what remains on my season ticket for Glamorgan cricket club, where I spent this evening.

While my late supper warms in the oven I just have time to post a quick item about this evening’s events at Sophia Gardens.

I don’t normally do selfies unless they’re of other people but I’m posting the above one because it made it via Twitter onto the big screen during the match. Fame at last!

Essex won the toss and out Glamorgan into bat. Glamorgan got off to a poor start, losing both openers cheaply. That brought Colin Ingram to the crease and the scoring accelerated, especially when he took apart the hapless Quinn for 30 off one over.

Glamorgan reached 110 for 3 off 11 overs, of which Ingram had scored 85, but they then faltered against good bowling. Ingram fell with the score on 135 for 7, at the start of the 17th over. Essex were on top.

Graham Wagg and Ruaidhri Smith then launched a stunning counter-attack and in the blink of an eye and a flurry of boundaries, Glamorgan were suddenly 198 for 7 off their 20 overs.

It was a good score in the end, but Essex started well with the bat and Glamorgan’s bowlers at first struggled to contain them. Gradually however Glamorgan began to exert some control. Wagg was outstanding in the crucial middle overs.

Pressure built, some wickets fell, but Essex didn’t collapse and kept more or less in touch with wickets in hand and the experienced Bopara at the crease and looking in good form.

The crowd waited anxiously for the climax. Essex needed 48 off the last 3 overs. Then 32 off 2. Then, after an excellent penultimate over from Wagg, 24 from the last. With Ravi Bopara on strike.

Michael Hogan ran into bowl. His first two balls conceded two fours, one a very difficult dropped catch that might have gone for six if the fielder hadn’t got a hand to it. Now it was 16 off 4 balls. The next ball was skied but fell safe for 2 runs. That meant 14 from 3; at least one six needed. Hogan bowled and Bopara obliged, slogging one into the Grandstand.

Eight now needed off two balls. Possible. Nerves jangling around the ground, Hogan bowled again, a very good one. Bopara was beaten and the ball went through to the keeper. A dot ball. A huge cheer went up from the crowd. That was effectively that. An inconsequential single off the last ball meant that Glamorgan won by six runs.

That makes it four wins out of four for Glamorgan, who go 3rd in the table. They now have a good chance of a semifinal place that looked beyond their reach four games ago. Poor old Essex are bottom of the table, with only one win from ten matches.

Walking home just know it occurred to me that as well as ones for fours and sixes they should give out cards to wave when a dot ball is bowled. It’s often those that win matches!

Glamorgan v Northants: Day 4

Posted in Cricket with tags , , on June 28, 2018 by telescoper

This morning I made my way again to Sophia Gardens for the final day of the County Championship Division 2 match between Glamorgan and Northamptonshire. I wasn’t exactly brimming with enthusiasm, so didn’t get to the ground for the start of today’s play, but I thought I’d observe the last rites.

When I got to the ground, night watchman Tim van der Gugten had already been dismissed, but there was some reasonably bright batting by Chris Cooke and Kieran Carlson. Coincidentally, I took the above picture just as Brett Hutton was about to bowl the delivery that accounted for Carlson, who nicked it into the slips for 32. Hutton also accounted for Cooke, who got one that seemed to keep low and knocked his leg stump out of the ground. Glamorgan reached 199 for 8 when Smith was lbw to Nathan Buck for 4. In came the youngster Prem Sisodiya who survived the rest of Buck’s over. Salter got off the legspinner Prasanna at the other end to bring up the 200 and bring Sisodiya on strike. A few balls later he pushed too hard at a good length ball and it went straight into the midriff of silly mid-off, who held on. That was a bit unfortunate for Sisodiya, who thereby bagged a pair in this match.

Prem Sisodiya’s dismissal made it 200 for 9 and, with Mike Hogan being unable to bat owing to injury, that was the innings closed and the end of the match. As I predicted, it was all over before lunch. Northamptonshire won by 233 runs. Congratulations to them on a well-deserved victory: they were clearly the stronger team.

I always thought Glamorgan would struggle with the bat on the last day on this pitch. The variable bounce that has been there throughout the match seemed to get worse. The wrist spinner Prasanna extracted appreciable bounce and turn throughout the morning, to the extent of making life very difficult for his own wicket-keeper. One delivery from Prasanna leapt up so alarmingly that it went over the keeper’s head for four byes. I must admit, though, that I enjoyed watching the legspinner in action with fielders around the bat. As someone who tried to bowl wrist-spin when I was younger, I always enjoy seeing it done properly.

Other amusement was provided by a seagull who took it upon himself to patrol the area around mid on while the rest of the fielders were in attacking positions…

I think it is important to look on the bright side of disappointments like this. After all, in an uncertain and at times frightening world one can take comfort in the reassuring familiarity of a defeat for Glamorgan. Moreover, having already finished bottom of the table in the Royal London One-Day Cup, and looking likely to do the same in Division 2 of the County Championship, there will be a lot riding on this year’s Twenty20 competition: can Glamorgan pull off the treble?

Glamorgan v Northants: Day 3

Posted in Cardiff, Cricket with tags , , , on June 27, 2018 by telescoper

For the record, I thought I’d post a short update on today’s play at Sophia Gardens.

I only attended the morning session today. I forgot to take my phone so there’s no picture. It was a good morning’s play actually, with Glamorgan’s bowlers doing better. The huge opening partnership of 208 was eventually broken when Procter fell, soon followed by Duckett. How often it happens that both batsmen involved in a big stand get out in quick succession. Another three wickets fell for the addition of 90 runs. However at 259 for 5, with the Northants lead at 289, at lunch I reckoned the game was already beyond Glamorgan, and instead of returning to the ground after lunch I took a stroll around sunny Bute Park and went into the Data Innovation Research Institute office to attend to a few things.

Northamptonshire progressed to a total of 406 and declared when their 9th wicket fell. Tea was taken at that point. In the last session, Glamorgan slumped to 121 for 4, the first innings hero Khawaja among the fallen.

Glamorgan need to score 313 tomorrow to win. More relevantly, Northants need to take 6 wickets. I wouldn’t bet against the game finishing before lunch, actually.

Glamorgan v Northants: Day 1

Posted in Biographical, Cardiff, Cricket, Uncategorized with tags , , , on June 25, 2018 by telescoper

Here I am, back in Cardiff and officially still employed at Cardiff University, but now taking up the annual leave I am owed before I depart.

The plan for this week’s leave, or at least four days of it, is to watch Glamorgan play Northamptonshire in Division Two of the County Championship at Sophia Gardens.

I arrived at the ground just before the start of play, with hardly a cloud in the sky. It was already hot at 11am so I covered myself liberally in sun lotion, which I clearly managed to get on the camera lens:

Here’s another one I took in the afternoon after I realised what had happened:

It proved to be an absorbing day’s cricket. Northants won the toss and, unsurprisingly, decided to bat first.

Glamorgan had an early breakthrough from Hogan and Smith but Northamptonshire reached lunch at 87 for 2, with Wakely and Vasconcelos looking settled. The latter fell soon after lunch, but Wakely and Levi then took Northants to tea without further loss.

The pair went on to share a stand of 118 until Smith (who was expensive but troubled all the batsmen) got Wakely caught in the slips by Khawaja for a fine 82.

Soon Northants were five down for 231 after Rossington departed for 7, but Crook and the combative but slightly portly figure of Levi took the score on to 275 for 5. At that point a decent score for Northants still looked likely.

Then Glamorgan took the new ball and Tim van der Gugten steamed in. Levi had an awful waft at the first ball and was caught: 275 for 6.

At that point all the wickets to fall had been caught behind the wicket, either by the wicket-keeper or in the slip cordon. What had troubled the batsmen had been bounce rather than lateral movement, which is a fairly typical Sophia Gardens wicket.

Anyway, two balls after Levi departed new batsman Prasanna tried to play some kind of shot (I know not what shot) and succeeded only in spooning up a dolly catch to mid on: 275 for 7.

Next over Hogan brought one back into Crook who was adjudged lbw (though if truth be told it looked a little high to me): 279 for 8.

Then it was van der Gugten’s turn again, getting one to lift at Hutton (no, not Len). The ball flashed into the slips and looked to have gone past Khawaja but somehow he plucked it out of the air for one of the best catches I have ever seen: 281 for 9.

Last man for Northants, Sanderson, walked to the wicket in the manner of a condemned man approaching the scaffold and when he got there he was clean bowled first ball by van der Gugten. Northants all out for 281, their last five wickets falling in the space of three overs. Quite a turnaround in the final session: Northants were 199 for 3 at tea.

Northamptonshire’s rapid demise left Glamorgan seven overs to bat before the close; openers Selman and Murphy negotiated them safely to end the day on 21 without loss.

It was a very absorbing day’s cricket on a very warm day indeed. I’m glad I had plenty of suncream on, as there were many in the crowd looking distinctly frazzled.

I don’t normally criticise umpires because they do a very hard job, but I feel I should mention one major lapse. Fortunately I don’t which it was so I can’t mention him by name. During the Northants innings, a batsman (Kevin, I think) played a shot to the mid-off area and set off for a quick single. The fielder threw and hit the stumps at the non-striker’s end with the batsman apparently short of his ground. Unfortunately the umpire, who was moving to get out of the way, had turned his back to the action and couldn’t give the decision. There being no third umpire in County Cricket, that meant it was ‘not out’. I thought that was poor: umpires should keep their eyes on the play all the time. I would have thought a first class umpire would have done so.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to the second day to see if Glamorgan can capitalise on Northamptonshire’s collapse. I’ve followed Glamorgan long enough to know not to take anything for granted!