1:00pm Friday 30th May 2014
By John Light
TWO whacking county wins, with the weather defeated made last week the best of the season so far.
It did not start like that. After 45 minutes, the four-day game at Kent looked lost already. Gloucestershire were put into bat and were 23-3. Chris Dent, captain Klinger and Alex Gidman were back in the pavilion.
The prophets of doom were in full voice. The ultimate winning margin of 290 runs looked as unlikely as me winning a prize at the annual Cooper’s Hill cheese rolling contest.
However, Hamish Marshall dug in, wicketkeeper Gareth Roderick took the attack to Kent and 252 was the ultimate total.
An hour was left to play; could we grab a wicket or two? We did more – we took six! Kent closed on 26-6, on a wicket passed very good by pitch inspector David Capel. Of course, Kent rallied the next day but super Glos were always in cruise control.
Positive second-innings batting meant Kent were set a target of 571. There were some who were critical of Klinger for choosing to bat on so long. Surely he should have declared sooner was an often-expressed view. It was not mine. In recent years we have been abject in defending a last-day total.
At Cheltenham last year, Kent amassed a total of over 400 to win the game. A big total was needed.
Never give a sucker an even break is a good mantra for professional sport and Kent were truly subject to the might and determination of a powerful Gloucestershire side. With such a lead attacking fields could be set and by lunch on the fourth day the game was over. The bowling unit, working as a team, drove the final nails home.
Next came Middlesex in the T20 Blast. Wet weather for most of the day put the match in doubt but everyone worked hard and a full game resulted. Again our bowlers did the trick (special mention for Fuller, Norwell and McCarter) and the modest Middlesex total of 111 was reached in the 17th over.
It was a match of few fireworks, the Bristol pitch again being too slow for exciting strokeplay. We shall see the best of the T20 Blast at Bristol only if the wicket is quickened up, because at the moment it is possible to win by doing little more than nudge and nurdle.
There is yet another injury! Wicketkeeper Gareth Roderick has again fractured his finger. He scored attractive runs in both innings against Kent, and until being injured had taken five catches. The county have done well to recruit former Test player Geraint Jones to replace him.
Geraint has a Kentish smallholding and a number of domestic animals. He had been seeking a loan all season but the problem was finding someone to care for his livestock. This has now been done!
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