Gloucestershire v Cardiff MCCU
7 April 2015
Gloucestershire beat Cardiff MCCU by 217 runs
Venue: Bristol County Ground
Gloucestershire completed a widely expected victory over a Cardiff MCC Universities XI at the Bristol County Ground but not before the students had shown much more resistance in their second innings.
Resuming at 59-2 chasing 463 to win, only three wickets fell before lunch – two of them to Craig Miles in a four over stint – and another two in the afternoon session. Wicket keeper Cullen typified the determination of the visitors by scoring only 23 between lunch and tea.
In the end it took the second new ball to wrap things up, Gareth Roderick taking his seventh catch of the match to remove Leverock off Payne for 25, and the left arm seamer then trapping Bull lbw for a duck. The margin of victory in the end was 217 runs.
Skipper Geraint Jones had rotated his bowlers in order to even out the workload, and Norwell and Miles each finished with three wickets , but Brand and Cullen in particular – each stayed for well over two hours – extended the day well beyond the time where a result seemed likely when play began.
Speaking to the website at the close, Jones said “The wicket was flatter today so the situation in the game challenged the bowlers to get wickets on a pitch that wasn’t offering them as much help as in the first innings.”
” We’ve talked about the style and consistency in our bowling and I thought as a group they carried that through against a team that fought really hard. If you didn’t want to play a lot of shots it was hard to get out so I was proud of the way the bowling unit operated and we got there in the end.”
The Championship season starts on Sunday and the new Gloucestershire captain admitted it would be an interesting team to select.
“A lot of guys have put their hands up” he said. “We’ve got more people who have done that than there are spots available, so it’s a good headache for me. We’ll certainly take a spinner to Northampton, historically it has taken turn, but we’ll also take a full armoury of quick bowlers as well so that if the wicket is green we can combat that as well.”
Wrapping up the pre-season schedule with a win, Jones felt the programme over the last few weeks has gone as well as he could have expected.
“We’ve improved with every game” he went on. “As each week has gone by I’ve challenged the players further and I’m really happy with where they are going into next week. Our preparations have gone well. The bowlers are where I want them, the batsmen have had time in the middle and we can’t wait for it all to start.”
Gloucestershire captain Geraint Jones decided to fully use the three days available for this game after deciding not to enforce the follow-on over lunch on day two at the County Ground.
Jones could have gone for a two day win after his bowlers breezed through the University batting in the morning session, taking 9 wickets for 77 in under 30 overs.
The lead at that stage was already 282, but the skipper, who had taken two of six catches close to the wicket, opted to give some of his batsmen some more valuable time in the middle with no worries over the weather and the Division 2 campaign in the Championship starting at Northampton on Sunday.
In the end, he called a halt with a lead of 462 after Gareth Roderick completed an unbeaten hundred. At stumps, Cardiff MCCU were 59-2.
David Payne and James Fuller – who had bowled through the short session on Tuesday evening – continued in tandem and it was Fuller who made the first breakthrough of the day, Westphal struggling to fend off a short ball and giving Gareth Roderick the first of three catches.
If that was routine, the one to remove Rouse was not, going down the leg side to parry a delivery from Miles in order to buy him enough time to gather the ball at the second attempt.
Geraint Jones also snaffled a chance after a deflection, this time from Handscomb at second slip after left hander Brand edged Payne into the cordon.
Liam Norwell, bowling from the Ashley Down Road end, finished with the best figures (4-16) while James Fuller frequently hurried all the batsmen and produced the most pleasing sight of the morning for any bowler as Norris’ off stump was knocked back 45 degrees.
Fuller took 2-5 in his spell, with Payne and finally Howell wrapping up a one sided pre lunch session.
Handscomb and Roderick, who had recorded the two lowest first innings scores, opened up after the interval but Handscomb soon perished, playing inside a ball from Westphal having made only 10. Scoring, however, remained brisk as Cockbain joined Roderick and both banked both runs and more importantly confidence for sterner challenges ahead.
The pair brought up a century stand in only 23 overs, but such was their control that the main excitement of the afternoon was the heavy roller developing a fault during the tea interval while working on the practice pitches, necessitating the boundary rope being moved for the final session of play.
Roderick completed as comfortable a century as he will compile all summer shortly after tea off 135 balls with ten fours and a six, at which point Geraint Jones decided there was little point in resting his bowlers any longer. Ian Cockbain’s share of an unbroken stand of 152 with Roderick was 62.
Payne and Fuller once again shared the new ball, but without the success of earlier in the day. It was Miles who broke the opening stand, Gareth Roderick taking a leg side catch to remove Norris for 32, and Norwell spread-eagled skipper George’s stumps for 14 before the umpires called off play 15 minutes early for bad light.
Cardiff MCCU will resume on 59-2, needing a further 404 for victory
At the close, centurion Gareth Roderick told the club website : “I was in the nets yesterday after I got out because I haven’t had a lot of match practice due to a finger injury which has kept me out of a few of the warm up games. I didn’t feel very good at Worcester a couple of weeks ago so it was good to spend some time in the middle and today has put me in a good frame of mind for the season.”
Roderick was more self critical about his glove work. “I’ve not really kept since last season and I felt a bit rusty but it was important to rest the fingers at the time. The key was to get some confidence and feel that I’m moving well. I was disappointed with the one chance I dropped but I’m getting closer to the sharpness I’ll need for the weekend.”
“Bowling wise, we want to put together and execute plans this season where we hunt in packs this season. As the ball got a bit older, the boys started bowling some heavy balls so it was good see them find some rhythm.”
Play resumes at 11.00 on Thursday. Admission is free.
The sprinkling of spectators at the County Ground today saw in half an hour that Peter Handscomb will be a man to watch when he comes to the crease this summer.
Having observed Will Tavare and Chris Dent add 94 for the first wicket at a run a minute, Handscomb showed immediately that it was he who was going to dictate the pace of the play.
Aiming to score off virtually every ball, the Victorian right hander frequently used his feet in making a brisk 32 out of a stand of 49 with Tavare, aided by some sharp running between the wickets before clipping off spinner Rouse to short mid wicket in the penultimate over before lunch.
Skipper Geraint Jones lost the toss, but the Cardiff MCCU bowlers extracted minimal life from a docile Bristol wicket. All Gloucestershire’s top six got starts, and while only three converted them into half centuries, it was a useful work out in sunny conditions.
Openers Tavare and Dent were untroubled in the first hour, the latter starting slowly but aided by two boundaries in one Griffiths over, he reached his fifty off 76 balls with nine fours before appearing to misjudge the line of a ball from the same bowler.
Tavare picked up his own innings after a lull when he was joined by Handscomb, and reached his own half century off 96 balls with eight boundaries.
Gloucestershire were 144-2 at lunch, and the serene progress continued after the resumption, Roderick, batting at number four, clearing the rope towards the pavilion during a long spell from off spinner Bull.
Tavare accumulated his runs steadily with only a solitary boundary and a six after lunch until, on 93, he played all round a good length ball from Leverock. His 133 ball stay at the crease was encouraging ahead of the new Championship season.
Tavare and Roderick added 65 and in the next over, Roderick also departed, Bull luring the wicketkeeper into a mistimed shot that saw him caught at short mid wicket.
The double breakthrough was little more than a blip, however, as skipper Geraint Jones – who revealed he would have bowled had he won the toss – joined Ian Cockbain and gradually eased themselves into scoring as comfortably as those before them.
Neither appeared in any trouble until ten minutes before tea when Cockbain, on 39, was given out caught down the leg side off medium pacer Griffiths, who had relieved Bull following a 16 over stint for the off spinner in the afternoon session.
Howell hit the first ball from Rouse after tea over long on for 6 but was soon on his way, caught in the slips off Westphal in the over where the visitors took the new ball.
It was James Fuller who then added his own aggressive tone to proceedings, twice lofting Leverock over the sight screen and against the metal balconies of the flats beyond. He was heading towards the fastest fifty of the day before captain Geraint Jones, who had himself made an unbeaten 72 in 98 balls, decided he would like 45 minutes bowling at the visitors before the close, and it was Fuller who made the one breakthrough, removing Jake George with the aid of a catch at short leg by Will Tavare.
At stumps, Cardiff MCCU had reached 18-1 in reply to 377-6 declared.
Speaking exclusively to the website at the close, Peter Handscomb said “Getting to 30 today was a start but that’s all it was. Ideally you want to make a big score but I was just pleased to be out there. The ground is in amazing nick and the ball races to the boundary so I’m going to look forward to playing games here.”
“I like to try and use my feet to the spinners and hit through the field. I scored at about a run a ball as I didn’t face the faster bowlers much but I’m not afraid to take my time either.”
“This match is very useful to get used to English conditions, to meet everyone and have a game with the boys ahead of the Championship match at Northants.”
“We wanted to be positive and score quickly, which we did, and then ideally have a bowl late in the day, which is exactly how it worked out. It would have been nice to get two or three wickets but we got one and hopefully we can get some quick wickets tomorrow.”
Play will resume tomorrow at 11am, free entry at the Bristol County Ground.
Cardiff MCCU won the toss and elected to bowl.
William Tavare | Christopher Dent | Ian Cockbain | Gareth Roderick | Geraint Jones | Peter Handscomb | Benny Howell | James Fuller | David Payne | Liam Norwell | Craig Miles |
Jake George | Matthew Norris | Neil Brand | Timothy Rouse | Bradley Scriven | Sean Griffiths | Tom Cullen | Jack Murphy | Andrew Westphal | Kamau Leverock | Kieran Bull |