August 1, 2013

Glamorgan make progress while standing still

There has been hope for supporters in Wales but the failure to qualify for the T20 quarter-finals was the latest frustration

In the County Championship Glamorgan fans have long complained of the tendency of their batsmen to get themselves to a quickfire 30 only to gift their wicket to the opposition. This same fatal flaw in the longer form of the game is in fact a great asset in the shortest and Glamorgan started the Friends Life t20 with some aplomb. They began with four wins on the bounce, followed by three defeats.

That decline was arrested with a final over win against Worcestershire which set up a top of the table clash versus Northamptonshire. Added to the significance of the fixture was the fact it was scheduled for a Friday night. Both of these factors combined to give Glamorgan an excellent crowd and the chance to set up a home quarter final. The only thing that was missing from the game was a home win, but you can't have everything.

This brought us to the final group game against Gloucestershire, a side that Glamorgan have always done well against in T20 and a team that were second bottom in the group. A win would mean Glamorgan made it through the group stages for the first time since 2008. That nasty word "hope" started to enter our minds. It was a certainty. Wasn't it?

I should have known that starting to hope was a mistake. The loss to Gloucestershire and elimination was inevitable, but to get to the point that a quarter final was a possibility for Glamorgan was more than some expected. Four wins from four meant momentum was pushing Glamorgan along like a white water rafting adventure. Unfortunately those four wins were followed by reality capsizing their efforts.

Over in the County Championship Glamorgan are last but one in Division Two with just the one win from 10 games. This is despite some decent individual performances. Michael Hogan has proved to be an excellent signing, averaging 20 with the ball and Michael Reed has impressed in his first full season.

Jim Allenby and Murray Goodwin look set to have 1,000 first-class runs by the end of the season with both men averaging well above 50. With a lack of runs a serious issue last year this has been a real move in the right direction. The worry is that both men are out of contract at the end of the season and there is some debate as to whether they will sign on again. Goodwin wants as long a deal as possible, rather than the one year contract that Glamorgan have offered him. With him approaching 41-years-old Glamorgan may have some reservations about a multi-season deal, but Goodwin has shown what his skill and experience can bring to the middle order.

That brings us to Allenby. He has over 1,400 runs in all formats and with his important wickets he is the glue that has held this side together this season. He is ambitious and there is talk of him wanting captaincy responsibilities. Having lost the leadership of the T20 side to Marcus North for this season that is not something he is getting at Glamorgan. There is no doubt that other counties will be interested in such a solid performer who will be available all season in all formats. If he does not pen another deal at Glamorgan the side will look very different in 2014.

We are not yet in August and Glamorgan are already out of the running in two out of three competitions. There has been progress, but there has not been the consistency of results to back this up. There is a real sense of disappointment at the exit from the T20, and with only one win to cheer in the Championship fans are frustrated, again. The Yorkshire Bank 40 campaign is all that is left for Glamorgan this season. They are third place in the group with a game in hand over the leaders. The fans need to have some success here but a semi-final spot may be dangerously close to using the "hope" word again.

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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