Glamorgan's pre-season optimism is already being tested. Pic: Getty Images.
Two games in and Glamorgan’s season already looks as though it could provide plenty of unwanted free time. Dai Sport columnist Richard Thomas says the immediate solution could be unashamedly old-school.
At least they kept the caterers busy for an extra day this time, but there was still little food for comfort for a Glamorgan side who have now been comprehensively beaten in both opening County Championship matches.
Defeat inside two days to Northamptonshire and a second loss on day three of their opening home match to Worcestershire reminds me of Durham in their formative first-class days in the 1990s. Like Glamorgan they never won much and their championship matches rarely ran the distance.
So much so that when the Durham players went in for lunch on the final day of a match it was new territory for the Chester-le-Street kitchen staff with the chief caterer saying: “We’ve never had a match go into the fourth day before.”
That would certainly be an initial target for coach Robert Croft who appeared rather shell-shocked following his side’s latest performance. In four innings they have failed to register a score higher than 223 with only two batsmen – David Lloyd and Aneurin Donald – who have recorded half centuries.
“It is certainly not the start that we envisaged or imagine or hoped for, but it is where we find ourselves,” said Croft
“The crucial thing is as a squad, and I include support staff and players in that, is we work our way out of it. And when we work our way out of it we remember how it feels so we don’t go back here.”
In my experience of covering Glamorgan over three decades what Croft’s charges probably need is a good night out and probably a team meal. It probably goes against all the advice of the modern-day nutritionists but it always seemed to work in the late 1990s.
A bit of team bonding over a chicken biryani and the odd word of encouragement while handling half a lager shandy maybe the order of the day. It seemed to work in ’97 in Liverpool, the scene of one of the county’s most famous wins over Lancashire (I did promise in my first missive some 1997 reminiscences would be order of the day if 2017 did not go to plan).
The most memorable part of the Liverpool team meal was its booking rather than its consumption.
That season the players took it in turns to organise the venue and in Liverpool that fell to Darren Thomas, who will be much better remembered as talented bowler-cum-batsman rather than an events manager.
During the day of the meal captain Matthew Maynard enquired of Thomas where he could be expecting to dine that evening. The reply from Darren came: “We’re going French skip, a place called something like Maissez-vous.”
Problem was it was not French at all. He had booked a Beefeater pub called the Mersey View. Coq au vin or chicken in a basket it mattered little; Glamorgan blew Lancashire away on the final day courtesy some vintage Waqar Younis swing bowling.
Can I recommend a lovely Italian restaurant in Leicester this weekend?
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