May 8, 2013

Hope is a waking dream for Glamorgan

Despite a brief nightmare on one afternoon at Colwyn Bay, Glamorgan have gone from strength to strength and it has been a great start to the season

For ten years I had a reclining armchair in my living room. It was a faithful servant that saw me through many hours of reading and television watching. One day my son jumped on it and it fell apart in a mangled lump. The feeling I had looking at that wonderfully comfy piece of furniture was exactly the same as the one I had when I looked at the scorecard of Glamorgan's second innings against Lancashire. Something that I was certain of had fallen apart in front of my eyes.

As Aristotle said "hope is a waking dream". Unfortunately it became a nightmare on a Friday afternoon in North Wales. The reason for the despair that this loss caused is that Glamorgan had been amazing for the whole of the game against Worcestershire and in all but the last session against Lancashire. An undefeated Glamorgan with two wins after three games was a realistic possibility and the team deserved it. Then they lost eight wickets for 45 runs.

Despite the disappointment of that final session in Colwyn Bay this has been a great start to the season for Glamorgan. In the match against Worcestershire the Glamorgan bowlers took hold of the match and didn't let go. Michael Hogan is a very astute signing, his pace and seam movement is causing real problems for all the batsmen he has faced. Jim Allenby is doing what Jim Allenby does. He isn't quick, but he takes wickets with the regularity of a prune juice drinker.

Then that brings us on to Mike Reed. Having made it as a first-class cricketer in a somewhat circuitous route he has been impressing all that have seen him. Picking up a contract after a string of good performances for Cardiff University and Glamorgan 2nds, Reed has never been involved in a county youth set up. Now with his degree in mathematics in his back pocket he is trying to make his way as a professional cricketer. He runs in on the diagonal with his left arm and left wrist bent, and being tall he gets steep bounce from back of length and he takes wickets. A very good quality for a fast bowler to possess.

Every now and then you see a cricketer that excites you. This isn't something that is measureable, but it is an intangible quality that attracts you to them. Chesney Hughes, Moeen Ali and Mike Reed have done exactly that for me this season.

While batting in the Championship is still a work in progress, in one-day cricket things look a lot rosier. Two wins in two games with the team scoring at seven runs an over in both matches leave Glamorgan in an excellent position in the YB40. It is easier to understand bosonic string theory than to qualify for a semi-final in county cricket's one-day competition, but with Glamorgan registering wins against the two strongest sides in a weak group they are well set to progress.

The new fielding restrictions have changed one-day cricket. With only four fielders allowed outside the circle there are boundaries to be found throughout the innings, rather than at the beginning or the end. The way that Glamorgan have gone about combating this change of regulations is to pack the side with bowling. With Graham Wagg batting at No. 7 this puts a huge amount of pressure on the top order to perform, and perform they have. Further success in the 40 over tournament will be dependent on this continuing.

After a poor show against Northamptonshire, Glamorgan have gone from strength to strength. The manner of the defeat to Lancashire in the Championship was like a blow in the midriff from Wasim Akram. Having been in the driving seat of the game for so long only to stumble to defeat would have hurt and hurt bad. That the team have come back with excellent wins in the opening limited overs fixtures speaks volumes of the team ethic that the coach, Matthew Mott, has created.

The next Glamorgan game is against the whipping boys of the YB40, the Unicorns. Another win there would set up the side nicely going into the Championship fixture against an inconsistent Essex side. I might even start hoping again.

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