March 26, 2013

County Championship, Division Two

Discontent outlasts the winter

Peter Miller
Glamorgan supporters want to see more local players, like William Bragg, in the team  © Associated Press
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Glamorgan has not been a very happy club for a while now. Since the schism that saw the departure of coach Matthew Maynard, his son Tom, CEO Paul Russell, captain Jamie Dalrymple and Mike Powell in a few short months in 2011, things have not been right at the SWALEC Stadium. Fans have been disillusioned by results on the pitch, a lack of local talent and little signs of progress towards a successful team. At the end of the 2012 season Director of Cricket, Colin Metson, also moved on, something that has pleased most fans.

These feelings of frustration were not helped by the departure of local boy James Harris to Middlesex. Almost as soon as the ink was dry on his new contract at Lord's he got a long awaited call up to the full England squad. This just added to the opinion of Glamorgan fans that when you play for an unfashionable county you are at the back of the queue when it comes to international recognition.

Glamorgan is the only county that represents a country and Welsh people are proud of that. That local players move away to be recognised is exasperating. Rightly or wrongly some Glamorgan fans would rather see a Welsh team lose than a team of "foreigners" win. Right now they have neither and are understandably annoyed. With the signing of Michael Hogan, a British passport holder who has been playing for Western Australian, some fans have started referring to the county as "Glamstralia". With Jim Allenby, Marcus North, Stewart Walters, Dirk Nannes (for T20) and now Hogan turning up, they may have a point.

The club seem to be aware of this apparent disconnect with the fans. There has been a real effort to garner support. Robert Croft has been writing to current and lapsed members to ask them to take up memberships in 2013. There have been speaking tours around Wales with Croft and Mark Wallace having open question and answer sessions. After experimenting with renaming themselves "The Welsh Dragons" in limited-overs games they will now be known as Glamorgan again and the glory days revisited with a return to the one-day kit that was worn by the all-conquering champions of 1993.

There were few highlights during the 2012 season, with failure to secure promotion in the County Championship or reach the latter stages of the limited-overs competitions. Not making the T20 finals day was a bitter disappointment with it being played at the SWALEC.

This season there is a hope that Wallace will be a key member of the County Championship side. Driven by the extra responsibility of the captaincy in 2012 he became the first Glamorgan specialist wicketkeeper to score 1000 first class runs in a season. If he can continue with this form with the bat and continue to grow in his role as captain there is a hope that Glamorgan will push for promotion out of Division Two of the Championship, although a slim one.

Simon Jones has extended his contract with the county to make him available for the Championship, which should add to the bowling attack's firepower, as long as he can stay fit. Once tracks become flatter and drier later in the season the extra pace that Jones brings could be a massive asset. The 6ft 7in Mike Reed also turned a few heads with his bowling at the end of last season and he has signed a two year deal.

In the spin bowling department Glamorgan will be without the services of Croft. He has taken up a coaching role and without him it looks as if 19-year-old Andrew Salter may well appear regularly, especially in the shorter forms.

In T20, Glamorgan will be captained by North who was involved in the Perth Scorchers successful Big Bash campaign. With T20 specialist Nannes joining the club there should be some pace in the FLt20 bowling, especially when he combines with Jones. There is a hope that the explosive Chris Cooke will find consistency to go along with his undoubted talent. The T20 competition may well hold the best hope of success for Glammy.

All in all it could well be another hard slog for Glamorgan, although all fans will be hoping that the promised progress will be evident in 2013.

Likely Championship side
Goodwin
Rees
Bragg
North
Walters
Allenby
Wallace (capt/wk)
Wagg
Cosker/Salter
Hogan
Waters/Jones

What I love There is a sense of community at the club with strong ties to the local leagues. It makes the SWALEC Stadium a friendly place to visit. The players are open to interacting with fans, especially the youngsters.

What I'd change That local talent is not recognised by England sides and has to leave to achieve their ambitions is very frustrating. Supporting an "unfashionable" county is a hard work at times.

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Peter Miller writes for thearmchairselector.com. The two things he loves most are ugly runs and cricket stats. He tweets here

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Posted by InsideHedge on (March 29, 2013, 5:19 GMT)

@bobletham: Thanks for the correction, quite right, 1st was all the way back in '48 when they were captained by the great Wilf Wooller.

Posted by bobletham on (March 28, 2013, 20:18 GMT)

InsideHedge : Glamorgan won the championship for the 1st time in 1969 ....

Glamorgan won the Championship in 1948. Its win in 1969 was the second, and 1997 the third, all before Sussex won. I too am not a Glamorgan supporter but a member of Middlesex.

Posted by InsideHedge on (March 28, 2013, 18:36 GMT)

The ECB and the former TCCB have never been taken to task for ignoring talented players when they play for so-called "unfashionable" counties, the result is that players feel obliged to leave in order to further their ambitions. Players such as Don Shepherd, Alan Jones etc would surely have played Tests if they were employed by counties with influence, particularly southern counties.

The term "un-fashionable county" is demeaning in itself. Glamorgan won the championship for the 1st time in 1969, Sussex didn't win theirs till 2003, what is so unfashionable about Glamorgan? Beats me and I'm not even a Glamorgan supporter.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Peter Miller
Peter Miller is the UK editor of thearmchairselector.com. He has written on cricket for All Out Cricket and Sports Illustrated. A long-standing cricket nerd, he lives in Wales with his long-suffering wife and many dogs. @TheCricketGeek

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