Warwickshire’s Half Term Report

As we approach the end of June we are pretty much halfway through the season and halfway through all three domestic compettitions. So it seems appropriate at this stage to assess how the Bears have done so far this season and to decide what we can expect to have achieved in each competition by the end of the season!

Six of the best young Master Bear!

So here I present Warwickshire’s Half Term Report:

Subject: T20 Cup

Performance in the T20 has been disappointing so far. A couple of early wins followed by a seven game run that reads W 1 L5 NR 1. Two of those games seemed certain victories but they were thrown away. The last T20 game at Edgbaston against Lancs has been described by many fans as the worst Bears performance they have ever seen.

So where can we hope to go from here?

Qualification for the quarter finals will probably go down to the wire in the Bears group. 4 teams going through from a league of 9 means a lot of teams are in with a sniff of a chance right down to the last round of matches!

I can see us being in with a chance of qualifying right up until the end but sadly I think we will fail to qualify for the quarters for only the second time in the competitions history!

Hopefully the Bears prove me wrong!

Subject: CB40

40 over cricket has been the Bears specialist subject over the last couple of years – winning Div 2 of the Pro40 in 2009 and the CB40 last year!

This year’s CB40 campaign has not gone all the Bears way with some great batting performances going hand in hand with some very poor bowling performances.

The CB40 group stage is very unforgiving. As there are no quarter finals there are only 4 semi final places up for grabs. The winner of each group goes through – as does the best runner up out of the 3 groups.

Warkwickshire are currently third in Group B behind Surrey and Northants! The Bears have also played a game more than both those teams.

It is looking like the Bears will need to win all of their 6 remaining games to qualify – and that includes home and away fixtures against group leaders Surrey!

So what can we expect?

I am sorry to say that I am once again not confidant of us getting out of the group stages of this competition either! But who knows we may just get second and if we do it will be down to the results in the other tables to see if we go through . . . .

Subject: The County Championship

It is in the area of 4 day cricket that Warwickshire have made the most progress so far this season!

Having been prime relegation candidates for most of last season the Bears just about managed to stay up.

This season has been much more positive so far.

They have done the double over Worcestershire and Somerset – and beat Notts at Trent Bridge too!

Despite some early season talk that we could win the Championship two defeats to Durham and a loss to Lancashire have brought the Bears back down to earth a little!

So where will we be in the County Championship by the end of the season?

I believe that Warwickshire should be aiming to finish third – the ‘best of the rest’ as it were – behind Lancs and Durham. And who knows if one of those teams falters we could even finish second.

Third would be an admirable achievement considering last years 6th place finish and our 8pt penalty for the pitch against Worcestershire. It would represent real progress and could help us attract some of the top class players that we are often being reported as trying to sign – such as Leicestershire’s James Taylor!

Targets for the rest of the term:

Ensure that third place in the County Championship is secured.

If qualification into the knockout phase of either the T20 or CB40 is achieved it would be a bonus!

Apologies in advance if any of my fellow Bears feel I am not being gung ho enough regarding the Bears prospects for the rest of the season. I have tried to look at things realistically for a change!

Of course, I secretly still hope that we win every game between now and the end of the season and complete the treble!

Cmon You Bears!

Mark

Two closely fought home wins for the Bears in the CB40!

The Bears got their CB40 title defence back on track over the bank holiday weekend with back to back victories over Leicestershire and Scotland.  Whilst two wins in two days is always a good acheivement both results were far too close for comfort for most fans!

So the bank holiday weekend leaves Warwickshire on 4 points – and no side in Group B has

2009 Pro40 Div 2 Champs

Pro40 Division 2 Champions 2009

more.  (Although Hampshire, Surrey and Northants all have a game in hand on the Bears!)

So, lets hope that after three 40 over clashes this season Giles, Troughton and co are now becoming clearer on what their best eleven for this format is – and the tactics to employ to reduce the flow of runs that came off our bowlers in the first 2 games!

If Warwickshire failed to reach the knockout stage of this competition it would be a serious embarassment and disappointment to fans who have grown used to success in the 40 over game in the last 2 seasons.

The next CB40 game is on Sunday away at Northmapton.  A win in that game would surely convince fans that our CB40 campaign is hotting up and that more 40 over success could be on the cards this season!

Good Luck Bears

Mark

 

Next! Spinner Maurice Holmes auditions to be Bears’ new spin king.

Last week against Durham in the Championship it was Paul Best.  On Wednesday against Lancashire it could well be Chris Metters.  But today against Leicestershire it was the turn of Maurice Holmes to make his first team debut as replacement for the injured Ant Botha.

All in all the lad done good today.  Eight overs, bowled during a run fest, for 47 runs (the second most economical of the Bears bowlers after Clarke)  and the wickets of Nixon and

The new Murali ?

Boyce to boot!  Throw in two catches – one of which was a caught and bowled – and you have a very decent debut performance in a form of the game that can be ruthless to bowlers.

However, Maurice Holmes has not always had things go his way as easily as they did today!  He has very flexible joints and his bowling has been compared to that of Muttiah Muralitharan.  Great praise indeed – but it also means his bowling action has been put under the microscope in the past.  There is nothing worse in cricket than to be labelled as a ‘thrower’ or a ‘chucker’, and Holmes has had to adjust his action to please the ECB.  The fact that he has come through such scrutiny, and is still a promising young player, clearly indicates that Holmes is a confident and determined young man.

Now clearly, comparing any young player to a unique bowler like Murali is perhaps rash at best.  But it was not merely a casual observer, or local sports writer with column inches to fill, who was of this opinion.

In the early summer of 2009 England hosted the World T20.  Holmes, then with Kent Second XI, was bowling in the nets and left a lasting impression with some of the New Zealand players including Daniel Vettori.  They were amazed by how similar his bowling was to that of the Sri Lankan legend.  So much so that when NZ were touring Sri Lanka they organised for Holmes to join them on the tour to bowl at them in the nets.

Therefore Holmes, at age 19, was effectively on international duty, bowling at spinner Daniel Vettori and under the instruction of Saqlain Mustaq – who was part of the NZ staff at the time.  So facing Leicestershire on first team debut? No problem!

So lets hope Warwickshire keep faith with Holmes for tomorrow’s game against the Scots so we can see more of this promising young talent in action!

Mark

 

Bears facing CB40 bank holiday double at Edgbaston!

CB40

Can we retain the CB40 title?

After a busy couple of weeks in the LV County Championship the Bears take on Leicestershire tomorrow and Scotland on Monday in a bank holiday weekend double header!

Having lost our first CB40 tie in a thrilling game at The Rose Bowl it is important we do well in these next 2 games.

At least we are at Edgbaston!!!

I can see 2 wins in these matches . . . What does everyone else think???