What a lift Gloucestershire’s young bloods have given the club at the start of what looked likely to be a difficult season.
Ian Cockbain, Richard Coughtrie, Will Gidman, David Payne and Liam Norwell all made their County Championship debuts in the seven-wicket win over Derbyshire at Bristol.
And every one of them did well enough to keep his place for the second four-day fixture against Glamorgan at Cardiff.
Cockbain made an unbeaten half-century to clinch victory over Derbyshire, while Gidman made a hugely important 89 in the first innings and Payne and Norwell shared 13 wickets.
Even second string wicketkeeper Coughtrie, who didn’t manage a big score after being selected as a specialist batsman at number three, showed commendable application in helping to see off the new ball.
Director of cricket John Bracewell and skipper Alex Gidman were so delighted with the quintet that they had no hesitation in selecting them in the 12 to face Glamorgan – even though the experienced Hamish Marshall is now available, having just returned from New Zealand.
Gidman said: “There was no reason to leave any of the inexperienced players out. They are on a high and in any case we want to give Hamish more time to reacclimatise to being in England.
“The biggest danger after the Derbyshire game is complacency. Young players have to realise that success in county cricket is only achieved by performing consistently day-in, day-out.”
Gidman admits that even he was taken by surprise when 19-year-old pace bowler Norwell took 6 for 46 from 11 overs in the Derbyshire first innings.
“I hadn’t seen a lot of Liam, but he is clearly a talent,” said the skipper. “Despite losing several senior players at the end of last season, I always felt we would be competitive this year and now it’s a case of building on an excellent start.”
Financial problems forced Gloucestershire to adopt what Bracewell described as “a new five-year plan” during the winter following the departures of Steve Kirby, Gemaal Hussain, James Franklin, Anthony Ireland, Abdul-Kadeer Ali, Will Porterfield and Steve Snell.