Hamish Marshall: Gloucestershire CCC must make most of limited opportunities
GLOUCESTERSHIRE skipper Hamish Marshall says his players must make the most of their opportunities if they are to reach the later stages of the Friends Life t20 competition.
All 18 counties have been adversely affected by the poor weather since the campaign began earlier this month and the English summer could yet prove to be a determining factor in which sides make the quarter-finals.
Two of Gloucestershire’s four games in the Midlands/Wales/West Group have been lost to rain, the latest washout ruining any chance of play in the Anglo-Welsh derby contest against Welsh Dragons at Cardiff on Saturday.
Warwickshire provide the opposition in the next fixture at Bristol on Wednesday and Marshall insists he and his team-mates must make the most of those games that escape the elements.
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He said: “It is imperative we make the most of the opportunities that come our way in this competition.
“The weather is playing a big part in all three groups and it is a far from ideal situation.
“I guess all teams have been affected and it is a case of cashing in when you get an opportunity to play a full game.
“Somerset and Warwickshire are in a good position because they have points on the board, but then we have the advantage of games in hand. We have to make the most of those whenever the weather allows.”
Gloucestershire made the most of their first home game not to be affected by rain, beating Northants by eight runs to make amends for an earlier defeat to Worcestershire at New Road.
“We have a win under our belts and it was a very important one,” said Marshall. “Beating Northants gets us up and running and will give the younger players confidence.
“We know we did not field as well as we should have done against Worcestershire and we put that right in Bristol last Friday.
“We bounced back well and I thought the guys showed a lot of character to do that.
“You need the fielders to back up the bowlers in Twenty20 and they did that really well. Ian Saxelby bowled exceptionally well with the new ball and at the death and, in the end, we won quite comfortably defending what was a modest score.”
Marshall makes no attempt to play down the importance of Wednesday’s meeting with second-placed Warwickshire. He said: “They have six points, we have four and this is a big game for all sorts of reasons.
“If we can make home advantage count, we will be right back in the reckoning for a top-two finish.
“But we have to be more consistent if we want to put pressure on the leaders.
“We have seen both sides of Gloucestershire in the two games we have played and we have to find a way of executing our skills on a more regular basis if we are to win games.
“Beating Northants will help in that respect, because winning breeds confidence and builds momentum, which is crucial in t20.”
Saxelby’s match-winning return of 4-16 may have caught the eye against Northants, but Kane Williamson also played a pivotal role with the bat, top-scoring with 39 in his last appearance for Gloucestershire before returning to his native New Zealand.
Marshall admitted: “Kane has been a class act and looked every inch an international cricketer in all forms of the game for us this season and he will be missed.
“But his departure creates an opportunity for others and Dan Housego and Benny Howell will come into the reckoning this week.”