Steelbacks put Gloucestershire to the sword

Kyle Coetzer thrashed 39 at the top of the innings for the Steelbacks
Kyle Coetzer thrashed 39 at the top of the innings for the Steelbacks

Momentum is talked up in sporting circles far too much.

Quite often it’s nonsense, a captain, coach or manager giving an inane answer to a question but in the Steelbacks’ case it is true.

Top of the Championship second tier, second in their YB40 group and now off to a flyer in the Friends Life t20 with a 41-run thrashing of Gloucestershire.

Twelve overs each hardly constitutes what many observers would class as a game of cricket but that’s what it all boiled down to after the start was delayed by 100 minutes.

The visitors called correctly at the toss and, unsurprisingly what with the shortened chase and the way in which Duckworth/Lewis favours a side batting second in this format, opted to bowl first.

And they made a good start as the home side’s new signing Richard Levi, fresh off the plane from Cape Town, didn’t make it past the second over as he reached at an exceptionally wide delivery from Dan Christian and edged behind.

Kyle Coetzer picked up where he left off in his unbeaten century on Monday with a flurry of early boundaries, five coming in Christian’s second over, as the four-over powerplay mustered 36-1.

A fascination with bowling short to a player who heavily favours the back foot hardly helped Gloucestershire’s cause and at the halfway stage the scoreboard read a middling 50-1.

Coetzer fell in the next over, skewing Benny Howell’s medium pace to cover for a dynamic 39 but he had set the platform for a surge in the latter overs which was opened by Cameron White whose contribution was a useful cameo until he became Howell’s second victim.

The same applied to Alex Wakely as 32 was smeared off the final two overs to push the total to a more than respectable 124-4.

Early wickets generally put the brakes on a chase of any length and Hamish Marshall falling to David Willey’s second ball was a blow that could have been done without but Michael Klinger kept the momentum going to some degree.

However, a lack of boundaries meant that Gloucestershire were slipping further behind the rate with every passing over and when Graeme White got rid of both Christian and Klinger in successive deliveries the game was as good as up.

Seventy off four overs is an equation that is rarely achieved and it never looked like an exception to the rule was going to be proved.

White, recorded the exceptional figures of 4-14 from his three-over spell on his return to Wantage Road and the rest of the order folded in meek fashion.

So already last year’s dismal effort in the competition has been matched and it’s Warwickshire at home in a week’s time.

Same again please.