By Mark Kidger
Where: SSE Swalec, Cardiff
Ins: Shaun Marsh (Australia)
Outs: Jacques Rudolph (Ret), Will Bragg (Ret)
Key man: Nick Selman
2017 season: Championship 7th, RLODC 4th, T20 Blast S/F
2018 Odds: Championship promotion: 20/1, RLODC: 18/1, T20: N/A
Our West-Country correspondent Mark Kidger sees the Welsh side as being highly competitive in white-ball cricket, but likely to be, once again, in the battle of the also-rans in the Championship. He pens his views below.
Despite modest returns in the County Championship, any side that reaches Finals Day in the Blast and misses out on the knock-out stages of the One Day Cup by a single point, can look back on the season with a degree of satisfaction, if not full-blown pride.
It comes as a surprise to many people that Glamorgan have managed to do three times what their local rivals over the Bristol Channel, Gloucestershire and Somerset have never managed in over a century – win the Championship. However, since the split into two divisions in 2000, Glamorgan have only spent one season – 2001 – in the top division. Division Two of the County Championship looks to be brutally competitive once again in 2018, with six teams that will feel that they have real chances of promotion. To match the 2015 result of fourth in Division Two – the highpoint of recent years – would probably be seen as a magnificent over-achievement.
The loss of long-term servant and adopted Welshman, Jacques Rudolph will be felt within the club. Michael Hogan remains Championship captain, while Colin Ingram takes over for the white ball games. Glamorgan have made what looks to be an excellent signing in Shaun Marsh, who will reinforce the middle-order, although with five batsmen averaging 35+ and two 40+, runs were not Glamorgan’s biggest worry in 2017. Young dual Anglo-Australian national Nick Selman led the run-scoring, with 872, including four centuries. At 22, this was his second season with Glamorgan and, after a promising first season, avoided the “second season syndrome” that plagues many young players after a fast start. Currently, he is recording a First Class century every 4 matches, but an average in the low 30s hints at too much inconsistency (his last four innings in 2017 were: 0, 142*, 0, 70 – which tells its own story). If he can add consistency to his ability to make big scores, runs will not be an issue for Glamorgan.
Glamorgan’s issues were more to do with bowling depth. Michael Hogan was magnificent with his 50 wickets at 20.9, but had little back-up save in the small fraction of games when Tim van der Gugten provided potent support. Carey averaged over 30 with the ball, de Lange, almost 40 and Salter, mid-40s. Glamorgan even became one of the three counties to sign Middlesex’s Harry Podmore on loan, although without solving their fundamental problems in the bowling department.
Without reinforcement of the bowling resources it is hard to see Glamorgan doing better than playing their part in what looks likely to be a four-way dog-fight between Derbyshire, Glamorgan, Gloucestershire & Leicestershire for the title of “best of the Division 2 also-rans”. Making competitive totals should not be a problem: converting them into wins will be.
Things look brighter in the white-ball. Glamorgan topped the South Group in the Blast and, despite more games being washed-out than any other side, had the equal best win-loss record with Nottinghamshire – the eventual winners. Having annihilated Leicestershire in the Quarter Final, they were unfortunate to come up against an inspired Warwickshire, who gave them too much to do in the first semi-final. The runout of Jacques Rudolph in the fifteenth over left the tail too much to do, although they went down bravely. The One Day Cup was a case of what might have been. Although no games were rained-off, the lottery of Duckworth-Lewis played a major part in their games: just one more win would have seen Glamorgan through to the knock-out stages.
Without Jacques Rudolph and with no second overseas player yet signed, success is not guaranteed in 2018 in white-ball cricket, but Glamorgan will be disappointed if they cannot make the knock-out stages in at least one and, preferably, both of the competitions.
Championship – 8th
RLODC – Q/F
T20 – Q/F
You can follow Mark on Twitter @MarkfromMadrid or at http://spanishturn.blogspot.com.es/ and, talking about space, at https://openspacescience.blog/
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
All Charlie Jennings County Championship David Bowden Derbyshire Durham Essex Glamorgan Gloucestershire Hampshire Harry Hil Harry Hill Hector Cappelletti Jamie Ramage Kent Lancashire Leicestershire Mark Kidger Matthew Nichols Matt Layton Middlesex Northamptonshire Nottinghamshire RLODC Season Previews Somerset Surrey Sussex T20 VFTO Predicts Warwickshire Worcestershire Yorkshire