How did Welsh cricket fare in 2021?

Glamorgan won the One-Day Cup in 2021 – his first trophy in 17 years

In 2021, county cricketers experienced arguably the busiest national summer on record.

After a 2020 impacted by Covid, the schedule has returned to some sort of normalcy – but with a new addition.

The Hundred, delayed for a year due to the pandemic, occupied the first place on the calendar of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB): from the end of July to mid-August.

So how did Glamorgan cricketers fare in 2021 across all four competitions?

Carlson wins the One Day Cup

What else to start with than with Glamorgan’s historic victory in the One-Day Cup?

In nearly six decades of limited cricket, Welsh County had reached three finals and lost all three – until 2021.

For context, the 50-year-old competition had taken a back seat on the calendar as The Hundred grabbed the headlines. It was seen as a development competition – for some an unusual move for the format in which England are world champions.

The counties weren’t complete and Glamorgan was no exception. They lost several key players like David Lloyd, Colin Ingram, Dan Douthwaite, Chris Cooke and Timm van der Gugten in the 100 ball contest.

They also lost their head coach Matthew Maynard to Welsh Fire, so David Harrison stepped in. Kiran Carlson was the captain of a relatively young team for the first time, and the pair opted not to recall their Hundred Stars available for the final, focusing on consistency instead.

Durham, their last opponent, chose their Hundred Players. They were of course within their rights to do so, of course, but it was Glamorgan’s tactic of not wanting to change a winning team that paid off.

The Lord’s historic finale has been moved to Trent Bridge. Everything about the occasion was different, but the loyal Welsh fans who made the trip to Nottingham were treated to a day to remember.

The image of Glamorgan mainstay Michael Hogan taking the winning wicket before being engulfed by his teammates – nearly half his age – will be long remembered.

Pitcher Andrew Salter was named player of the day for his 3-42 and 33 at bat.

But the unexpected star of the Glamorgan tournament was all-rounder Joe Cooke, who finished as the competition’s best wicket-taker and secured his side’s place in the final with a six to finish 66 not against Essex.

Carlson will retain the One-Day Cup captain title for 2022, unless he is called up by a Hundred franchise. They will be without Nick Selman, who was a regular top scorer, but the addition of Sam Northeast from Hampshire could be hugely beneficial for Glamorgan in all three formats.

It’s far too early to talk about retaining their title, but it was an undisputed highlight of the year for Glamorgan and having done it with a relatively young team was especially enjoyable.

Possibility of improvement in County Championship and T20 Blast

David Lloyd and Kiran Carlson
David Lloyd will lead the T20 Blast County and Harbourmaster’s Championship, while Kiran Carlson will lead the One Day Cup

Aside from the success of the One-Day Cup, Glamorgan has a lot to do.

In the County Championship, Glamorgan got off to a good start on fields in early April-May which offered a lot to bowlers and allowed for several games to be completed in two or three days at Sophia Gardens.

But they ended the season with three heavy losses – two in a set – to finish bottom of Division Two, qualifying in third place.

There were glimmers of real promise, however, including Carlson’s early-season form (928 runs at 48.84, including three 100), excelling in his first year of full-time commitment to cricket after getting his university degree.

Veteran Hogan joins England’s James Anderson in proving that age no longer defines a fast bowler’s ability as he completed another impressive season that delivered 34 wickets and a 5-28 best – although his retirement at the end of the year will leave a huge gap in Glamorgan’s bowling ranks.

But the stick was the concern in those heavy losses at the end of the season. Selman’s defeat may not be felt so harshly in the four-day format, where he has struggled for much of the season, as Eddie Byrom’s signing from Somerset becomes permanent.

And Northeast’s signing could once again prove crucial stability in the middle order: a proven Hampshire running machine and arguably one of the most unlucky players of his generation to fail to represent England. .

Another change will see Lloyd replace Cooke as captain of the Red Ball and the T20 teams, with Carlson his deputy.

The T20 Blast has been Glamorgan’s most successful competition for many years, but 2021 has been a disappointment. Covid played its part in the availability of the players but they would still have expected more than three wins out of 12.

It wasn’t a smooth run in the shortest format – Ingram struggled for form, so often the rock of Glamorgan’s white ball stick. Young Roman Walker showed signs of his promise before moving to Leicestershire. Australian Marnus Labuschagne played before Covid struck.

As they look to improve in 2022, a lot will of course depend on those hundreds of potential orders …

Le Cent makes its mark

Love it or hate it, the England and Wales Cricket Council [ECB] the new format is here to stay. Fun, fast-paced and fireworks galore, its aim was to attract a new audience to cricket – people who previously would have thought cricket wasn’t for them.

He had his detractors and his supporters. But the most resounding success has been the women’s match – whether intentional or not.

For the first time, the women’s national teams of England and Wales were on an equal footing with the men. Yes, there were big pay differentials, but having the same marketing, same kit, same venue, same TV platform, same hotels – that was something female cricketers across the country didn’t have. never known before.

So how did Welsh Fire fare?

In terms of the match atmosphere, they were hampered by Covid regulations not allowing a sold-out Sophia Gardens. But in their men’s last game against the London Spirit, the noise when Afghanistan’s Qais Ahmad scored the winning points showed there was plenty of support and a fan base to draw on when full capacity. will be reached.

The men’s team finished a disappointing seventh of eight, despite an unbeaten start when England’s Jonny Bairstow illuminated Sophia Gardens with his incredible punching power – including a victory over future winners Southern Brave. Gary Kirsten’s men were hit with a hammer after his test call.

They lacked his firepower and relied heavily on substitute captain Ben Duckett to score most of their runs.

To improve in 2022, they will need to invest in a powerful hitter of Bairstow’s caliber at the top of the order if they are to rise through the ranks.

As for the women, they finished at the bottom of the table – but that doesn’t say everything. Prior to the start of the competition, they appeared to be one of the strongest teams, with three of the best players in the world as stars overseas.

But surprise, surprise – Covid stepped in.

Hayley Matthews batting in the Welsh Fire kit
Hayley Matthews of the West Indies played for the women of Welsh Fire in the absence of their original Australian players abroad

Losing the world’s top T20 hitter to Beth Mooney and arguably one of the world’s best hitters to Meg Lanning would hit any team hard. West Indies opener Hayley Matthews shone at the top of the block, but they lacked other world-class talent that other teams were able to draft at the last minute.

England’s Katie George had a great tournament on the field, but a back injury prevented her from bowling.

They will have learned a lot playing together on the biggest stages and youngsters like Alex Griffiths and Hannah Baker have shown their promise for the future, combined with the experience of Matthews, Sarah Taylor and Sophie Luff.

If restrictions allow Australian players to participate in 2022, the competition will take a notch higher, especially in women’s football.

For Glamorgan players involved in franchises, Lloyd only played once for Welsh Fire, Ingram was inconsistent for Oval Invincibles and Cooke, Douthwaite and Van der Gugten also had limited opportunities at Birmingham Phoenix, Manchester Originals and Trent Rockets.

Analysis – Nick Webb, BBC Sport Wales cricket reporter:

“For Glamorgan fans, 2021 will be a year to remember with a one-day Cup triumph – their first trophy in 17 years and a first win in a limited-draw final, sparking celebrations for Trent loyalists Bridge.

The 50-overs competition was perhaps overshadowed by the razzmatazz of The Hundred, with the final shamelessly scheduled for a Thursday just three days after the semi-final. The rookies, who managed to defeat teams Durham and D ‘Essex, missing fewer players in franchises.

“As for the changes to next year’s squad, opener Nick Selman has produced some big innings over the years without being consistent enough to keep coaches happy, while up-and-coming couturier Roman Walker went on a surprise outing looking for more regular opportunities.

“But the addition of veteran hitter Sam Northeast should be a real bonus if he settles in, Eddie Byrom will have top-notch chances to prove himself, and James Harris can aim to match Michael Hogan’s longevity as a head of sewing.

“There will be a close review of Australia’s schedule to check how many Marnus Labuschagne and Michael Neser we are likely to see in Wales, while Colin Ingram has shown some signs in the Abu Dhabi T10 to regain the shape of his early years in the color of Glamorgan pencil case.

“None of Glamorgan’s 100 players have had a real impact in this tournament, so it will be interesting to see which of them is picked or picked elsewhere in the draft.

“Kiran Carlson and Joe Cooke could be candidates for the first franchise deals and, while it would be welcome to see more Welsh involvement with the Welsh firefighters, Glamorgan could end up with a solid base of experience to defend the Welsh title. 50 years. .”

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