August 18, 2013

County cricket

Forty overs just right...and we could win it

Peter Miller
Michael Hogan gets a high five for one of his three wickets, Warwickshire v Glamorgan, FLt20 Midlands/Wales/West Group, Rugby, July 6, 2013
Glamorgan's YB40 form has kept their season going  © Getty Images
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I love 40-over cricket. It is where my journey into cricket obsession began. My Dad took me along to Sunday League games as my first introduction to the game live. In the days before T20 it was where you would watch the glamour cricket, with big hitting and exciting finishes. While T20 is great, where it loses out for me against the (slightly) longer format is you don't see batsmen building innings or sides recovering from a collapse.

The reason it is better than 50-over cricket is that you can take youngsters along and they can watch a whole match without getting too restless. The extra 20 overs needed to complete a 50-over game are the difference between watching the whole game and having to take the kids home before the end.

Glamorgan's match between Middlesex was a family fun day. This meant that there was bungee running, a climbing wall, bouncy castle, face painting and cricket skills at the ground and included in the entry price. This would be great value as it is, but the club reduced the tickets to £2.50 for adults and free for kids. I went with my son, his best friend and his best friend's dad for a fiver. To make the day even better I wasn't the designated driver.

Where county cricket is fantastic for the young fans is the access that they get to the players. To the credit of cricketers they are all happy to pose for photographs and stop for autographs. My son loves getting a cricketer's signature and he made sure he had a pen before we left the house.

As he was queuing up to get his bat signed by the players Angus Fraser walked passed and I told him to ask for his autograph. He looked a little puzzled that we were getting the autograph of a middle aged man in a suit. This was despite me explaining about his 8 for 53 against the West Indies in 1998, but my six-year-old was far more excited about Jim Allenby and Simon Jones signing his bat. Kids!

During the game the two boys wanted to run around and play cricket and bounce until they couldn't bounce any more, but that is fine. Going to the cricket is about having fun and both had a fantastic time.

As for the cricket, Glamorgan won for the second time in a week. They set a horribly uncompetitive total and defended it. This had a lot to do with the bowling of Michael Hogan who has had some exciting news this week. He can go back to Australia and play as an overseas pro thanks to the change in regulations that Cricket Australia have introduced.

Many think that Sam Robson of Middlesex was the player that the amendment targeted, but it could well be that Hogan is the first person to take advantage of it. It also raises the possibility that British passport holder Mark Cosgrove could come back to Glamorgan. Now that would be fantastic, Cozzie is very much missed.

Simon Jones has been playing, bowling fast and taking wickets. Every time you watch him bowl you wonder what could have been but for injury. However, seeing him take wickets in Glamorgan colours is a great sight. He took some stick from the crowd at the Middlesex game, but the way the fans sat around those giving it out showed how much love and respect Jones has amongst the Glamorgan faithful.

T20 is finished and Glamorgan are so far short of promotion in the Championship that they need the Hubble telescope to see the top of Division Two. The YB40 is the last hope and they are well placed to qualify. Despite defeat against Gloucestershire, their fate is in their own hands. If they win their remaining group games they are in the semi-final. Two more wins for the knockout stages, four more for the trophy. It could happen, but I am not saying it will.

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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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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