September 3, 2013

Success precedes change in Cardiff

Qualification for the YB40 semi-finals means departing coach Matthew Mott will leave Glamorgan with his head held high

It has been an exciting couple of weeks to be a Glamorgan fan, with it all kicking off on and off the field. Perhaps "kicking off" is overstating things but it has certainly been eventful. On-field success, off-field machinations and the prospect of a semi-final for the first time in nearly a decade. While I have been saying that Glamorgan had a chance of making the knockout stages of the 40-over competition since early June I didn't really believe it until they beat Yorkshire to secure their spot. If I am honest, I still spent 20 minutes worrying about net run rates before I let myself get excited.

The interesting times started with the news that Glamorgan's coach, Matthew Mott, would be returning to Australia at the end of the season. After three years in charge he has decided to call it a day and, with the club doing better in the limited-over formats than many expected this year, he can return home with his head held high.

We also learned that Jim Allenby has committed himself to the club for a further four years. As he is the person that adds balance to the side this is great news - his 1789 runs and 35 wickets across all formats this season have made him the glue holding Glamorgan together. Having him commit to Glamorgan is fantastic news that will only be added to if Michael Hogan agrees to extend his deal with the county.

Then there is Murray Goodwin. He signed a one-year deal with a second year kicking in if he performed well. Having gone past 1000 first class runs for the season that threshold has been passed but he wants more than one more season. As does Dean Cosker who wants a longer deal than the club are offering. With both players being amongst the older statesmen at the county it appears that there is some reluctance to give either of them an extended deal. Goodwin is Glamorgan's leading first-class run-scorer and has dug the top order out of plenty of holes. Cosker has had a steady if not spectacular season with the ball, but he is still a fine fielder and contributes important late-order runs. Sport is ageist and the contract negotiations continue.

That brings us to Hugh Morris. The current CEO, Alan Hamer, has been shown the door and Morris is making his way back to Glamorgan and he ticks a lot of boxes for the supporters. He was born in Cardiff, played for Glamorgan, captained the county to success and has a fantastic record of achievement as a cricket administrator, especially as the first managing director of a hugely successful England cricket team. There is very little about his appointment as the new chief executive that isn't exciting. If Morris can bring just a tiny amount of the success that he oversaw with England to the SWALEC than things will be very interesting indeed.

In need of three wins in their last three games of the YB40, Glamorgan did just that. Not that they made it easy on themselves. The "Glamorgan Wobble"™ is always there at the end of a game to get your heart racing. My personal favourite was the game versus Somerset that saw them lost five wickets for 20 runs in 25 balls. Despite this pathological need to make me panic they have made it to the knockout stages and they head to Southampton to face Hampshire in the semi-final, one win from Lord's, two from their first trophy since 2004. However, they go into that game without their captain and overseas player, Marcus North.

North has gone to meet up with the Perth Scorchers ahead of their Champions League T20 campaign and will not be available for Glamorgan for the rest of the season. This could well mean that Glamorgan fans have seen the last of him. The official line is that there is no obligation on either party for a 2014 contract but no word that North won't be back. I will be surprised to see him in Glamorgan colours next season. If Glamorgan fans were to have an overseas player wish list, a spinner who could turn the ball both ways would be at the top.

So with the semi-final at the Ageas Bowl deciding the fate of Glamorgan's season, it is time to look forward to 2014. There will be a new CEO, a new coach and perhaps a new overseas pro. Who will be coach is up for debate, with Robert Croft a popular choice amongst supporters and former players. Morris will no doubt have his thoughts and it will be interesting to see if it is a Glamorgan old boy or an outsider that gets the job. There are a few high-profile coaches that are looking for work, I wonder if any of them fancy a couple of years in Cardiff.

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