Dawson spoilt for choice behind the stumps
3 December 2019
In Gareth Roderick and James Bracey, Gloucestershire head coach Richard Dawson has one of the best wicket-keeping tandems in English county cricket.
Between them, they recorded the most dismissals in the 2019 Specsavers County Championship with 55 in total, Roderick taking 42 and Bracey 13. Bracey’s dismissals per innings rate of 3.250 being the highest across both divisions.
Both are equally proficient with the bat, adding to their worth in the Gloucestershire squad. Bracey made 677 First-class runs at 33.85 which included two centuries against Glamorgan and Derbyshire. Roderick was not far behind with 654 runs at 31.14, his standout performance with the bat coming away at Arundel where he made 158 in a draw against Sussex.
James Bracey began his List-A career with a fine 83 off 61 display in his debut against Middlesex at Lord’s. He went from strength to strength in the competition, finishing just 12 runs behind Gloucestershire’s top scorer and captain Chris Dent after a sensational 113 not out in the final group game at Essex.
Roderick kept wicket in the One-Day Cup and picked up eight wickets in as many innings, the most he had taken since Gloucestershire’s winning season in 2015. He, along with Dent and Bracey surpassed 300 runs with an unbeaten century helping Gloucestershire to a win over Kent at the Bristol County Ground.
An injury to Roderick and impressive batting in the One-Day Cup meant James Bracey took the gloves to begin the Vitality Blast campaign at Cheltenham. He played with an aura of confidence in his first white ball season that saw him remain wicket-keeper for the remainder of the tournament.
His 10 wickets were enough to see him finish second in dismissals on virtually that same dismissal per innings rate as Roderick had in the previous year (0.769 & 0.785 respectively). Bracey also contributed the fourth most runs for Gloucestershire, his career-high 64 against Hampshire being his best batting match.
Heading into the 2020 season, Dawson has the choice of an experienced 28-year-old closing in on 100 First-class appearances, who just averaged 10 more List A runs than his career average OR a 22-year-old, who in 2019 scored the most runs for Gloucestershire in white ball competitions and held the highest dismissal rate in First-class cricket. Not the worst choice in the world.