SO NEAR but yet so far. A patchy Gloucestershire performance led to defeat against a Kent side that should have been beaten in the Royal London Cup quarter-final.
The harsh fact is we were let down by our middle-order batting. Cockbain, Marshall and Gidman fell in quick succession, their collective failure gifting the game to Kent.
Hamish looked like a rabbit caught in headlights. He has had a poor 50-over competition and it did not get better at Canterbury.
Alex, as he so often does, played a loose leg-side shot. All that was needed for victory was one of those two senior batsmen to stay at the crease, allowing the younger batsmen to score the runs at the other end. They could and should have given the innings some stability, then the good performances from the junior members of the side would have brought victory.
David Payne was outstanding, taking five wickets. Since his poor Cheltenham Festival he has been excellent and well deserving of his new three-year contract. Craig Miles bowled below his full pace and again we saw his ‘knuckle ball’ taking wickets. There is so much more to come from this young man. There were good contributions from Chris Dent, Gareth Roderick, Benny Howell and Will Gidman, but no one passed 50.
Kent had a bit of substance. Sam Northeast played soundly and sensibly, paving the way for the inevitable ‘Billings Blast’. Can a place be found for Sam Billings in the England 50-over squad?
Gloucestershire might be patchy but England are quite awful. An ill-selected squad is no match for India.
Batsmen James Vince and ‘Titch’ Taylor should be playing and Abdul Rashid, a spinning all-rounder from Yorkshire, would enhance the squad. Lean mean bowler Boyd Rankin from Warwickshire and Samit Patel from Notts would add strength and why not take a chance on the dashing Jason Roy from Surrey? Our current middle-aged squad is heading for World Cup disaster. Selectors, the onus is on you. Youth and vigour, please.
Fairford have just celebrated a fine cricket week in celebration of their 125th anniversary. There were wins over an elderly Gloucestershire Gipsies side and an Andy Stovold XI, whose team included the former Gloucestershire captain and now MCC head coach Mark Alleyne.
After I watched Forest Green at Welling, the coach journey back was made more bearable by messages regarding Frocester winning the West of England Premier League. Their victory, and that of fellow title winners Lechlade has done much for club cricket in this county.