After another disappointing season for Glamorgan, both players and supporters will be hoping this is the year that there is a change in the storybook and they can bring home some silverware.
There is no doubt that the signing of Billy Root to the club is a massive boost, but there are still improvements to be made in all aspects of cricket for the Welsh club to have increased success.
In terms of red-ball cricket, the County Championship has not been Glamorgans’ forte for some time now, epitomised by their 10th place finish in 2018, with just the two wins, ten losses and two draws. They ended on 92 points, and the thought that four-day cricket needs to be a priority for the Welsh county.
Glamorgan rounded off their season with a win 132-run win against Leicestershire so there is confidence going into this season. The appointment of Matt Maynard as head coach for the 2019 season is great for the club, who will also work well with newly-appointed director of cricket Mark Wallace, who both have ample experience at the club having both captained the side.
When it comes to white-ball cricket, Glamorgan can be a dangerous side in both one-day and T20 tournaments. In 2018, their 50-over cricket was not as successful as hoped, as they finished bottom of the South Group with just two points after a single win over Sussex, where Colin Ingram proved his talent at the club with an impressive 95 (86) to guide them to their solitary win of their campaign. Glamorgan have players within their squad to have a destructive one-day side, such as Australian born-dutchman bowler Timm van der Gugten, who picked up ‘player of the year’ last season, and all-rounder Craig Meschede – who has shone previously in the short formats with both bat and ball.
Moving onto T20 cricket, it was only in 2017 that Glamorgan made it all the way to Finals Day, as they lost in the semi finals to Birmingham Bears. This where things started to look up in Glamorgan’s previous season as they finished 6th on 15 points and only two points behind a qualifying spot. So this season they will be aiming to progress into the quarter-finals and with the talent they have there is no reason they can’t.
Chris Cooke, the wicketkeeper-batsman, is crucial to the coming season for Glamorgan in T20’s and 50-over cricket, where he captains in the Royal London One-Day Cup and County Championship. His contributions with the bat in 2018 were the factor that gave Glamorgan many of their victories and he will hope to do the same in 2019. In 2019, their aim will be to replicate their 2017 campaign and make it all the way to the highlight of the county calendar, Finals Day.
There are examples of young talent coming through the academy at Sophia Gardens as young batsmen Callum Taylor and seam bowlers Kazi Szymanski and Jamie Mcllroy have all been handed their first professional contract by the club. They will all be pushing for places come the first round of matches in April, and either they can generate wins for Glamorgan or push the current squad for places in the hope of an improved county championship season.
Mark Wallace, who has experience within the modern game, will be a great asset to a club who have masses of potential in shorter format cricket but also a lot of work to be done across all areas.
Ins: Billy Root, Charlie Hemphrey
Outs: Aneurin Donald (Hampshire), Joe Burns (Lancashire
There is no doubt that Billy Root is going to be a key player in the upcoming season. The 26-year-old off spinner and batsman joined the club after the conclusion of his 2018 season with Nottinghamshire in pursuit of more first-team opportunities. The move will benefit both parties as Root will make appearance in all formats of cricket and Glamorgan can bring a stable bat to help their inexperienced batting line up. He is a quality player who possess centuries in both first-class and limited-overs cricket, who is also handy with the ball as an off spinner and therefore could hold the key to more success in Cardiff this season.
Player to watch
One player is Lukas Carey, the 21-year-old seam bowler who made his championship debut at the back end of the 2016 season and has shown promise ever since. In 2017, he was named Glamorgan’s young player of the year, showing his skills all throughout age group cricket, right through to the senior squad.
This season will see him push for a consistent spot in the starting XI against the young seamers that the club have just given professional contracts to, but he has the talent to have a permanent place in the squad. According to supporters, Carey has incredible potential within the team and can be a force in the bowling attack against the top counties, as he averaged 11 in the Welsh Premier League last season.
Glamorgan have boosted their side with two overseas players. Firstly, Shaun Marsh who joined Glamorgan last season on a two-year contract as an overseas, who unfortunately was then pulled away from Wales to join the Australia Test squad, will hope to have more of an impact in 2019. A player of his talents will improve the sides’ chances of grasping some silverware across all three formats if he can stick it out this time.
Colin Ingram, the South African Kolpak also keeps up his stint with Glamorgan as he takes on the role on T20 Captain. His hitting is among the best in the world and if he can fire again for Glamorgan, this shows even more hope that they have what it takes to challenge for limited-overs silverware.
Glamorgan have expressed that they are still searching for possible signings, especially if Shaun Marsh is recruited by the Test squad again.
How they’ll fare
With young talent coming through, some quality experience and well-recruited overseas players, this season may be the defining one for Glamorgan who will see their best chance come in the Vitality Blast.
SCCC – Glamorgan v Northamptonshire, Friday 11th April, Sophia Gardens – Cardiff.
Specsavers County Championship Divison Two – 25/1
Royal London One Day Cup – 28/1
Vitality T20 Blast – 20/1