Friday, 20 August 2010

What's on offer in the Seconds?

Currently Hampshire Second XI are playing Ireland A at The Rose Bowl (well, they probably won't be today because it is grim outside), and I thought it might be worth taking a look at who we have in reserve to the main team. For me the stand out name is David Griffiths. Wildly expensive more often than not in the Championship earlier this season, he was however a key component of the side because of the pace he can generate from a relatively slippery action. Capable of consistent 89, 90 mph deliveries from a low trajectory due to being small in stature, Griffiths was well on his way to being the premier strike bowler until injury of the serious variety pretty much crushed his season. He has been recuperating in the Seconds though, and was very unlucky (and pretty gutted from the looks of it) to have missed out on starting against Leicestershire on Tuesday. If he is back to full fitness (and five wickets in the morning against Ireland A would suggest so) then in my view he must come back into the Championship side, at the expense of Balcombe. At the moment our Championship attack is too one paced and needs that something different, that unpredictable component that can win you a game in a spell of bowling. Yes Cork is capable of that still, just about, but he can't do it all on his own.

There are of course the usual suspects in the Seconds team. Balcombe is captain and of course is batting well up the order. It will be interesting to see what happens to Balcombe. He's an honest trier and will bowl aggresively all day and pick up wickets, but to me he just doesn't quite seem at the same level as say Cork and Tomlinson. His batting has sadly gone downhill too, as he was a very reliable number nine behind Mascarenhas before. Tomlinson's batting is improving all the time, and so he could provide balance at 9 now, with Briggs and Griffiths' batting not up to much this early into their careers. Also in this team, but looking more and more likely that he won't be next season, is Chris Benham. It's a real shame that Benham hasn't been able to nail his place in the first team, despite the numerous chances. Drafted into the team in the penultimate game last season because of injury, Benham scored a century against by far the best bowling attack in the country to secure firstly the draw, and secondly Hampshire's status as a first division team. He was also a more than decent opening batsman in one day cricket, scoring 158 out of a total of 265-9 to beat Glamorgan in the 2006 Pro40 play off and so gain promotion to the first division. He also hit the winning runs at Lord's last year to secure the trophy. The thing is his consistency and after his failed attempts at 3 in the Championship, he was dropped until picked for the 20/20 group game against Essex, which he also failed in. It's a real shame as he has acres of talent, just not the temperament.

Hampshire also appear to be trialling three players too, possibly because we just have no-one left in the squad, or because Chalky is taking a proactive approach to look at possible players. The first is Jordan Coughlan, a young Irish fast bowler. To be honest I've never heard of him but he took a wicket against his 'home' side. Another is the Anguillan Kelbert Walters, another 19 year old bowler over here on the recommendation of Cardigan Connor. Walters actually trained with the main squad before the Leicestershire game, and if the whole cricket thing doesn't work out for him, then I'm certain that he'll be able to find employment as a professional goalkeeper. The third triallist is Glen Querl, former Zimbabwean U19 bowler, who has been playing over here this season for the Unicorns in the CB40. 11 wickets from 7 games suggests he has something so it is good to see Hampshire quickly getting a look at him. There are then of course the academy products in the team too, if all is good and well then hopefully in the next few years they too will start to filter into the first team much like their predecessors. All in all the 'reserves' look promising, and as has been shown in the past, a good springboard into the main side. The key point of this though, is get Griff back into the team!!

Griffiths - back fit, back in the wickets and back in contention 

1 comment: