Marcus Trescothick: Klinger is the big threat to our chances
By Western Daily Press | Thursday, August 22, 2013, 05:00
It is winner takes all at the County Ground, Bristol, next Monday on another huge occasion for West Country cricket.
Marcus Trescothick: Klinger, pictured, is the big threat to our chances
Michael Klinger celebrating the century he scored against Somerset at Taunton picture: Harry Trump/pinnacle
Weather permitting, either Somerset or Gloucestershire will qualify for the Yorkshire Bank 40 semi-finals, while the losers face the prospect of a season without a trophy.
We have managed to win all three one-day contests against our arch-rivals this summer, but I expect this to be the toughest test of the lot.
It is always a challenge playing at Bristol where the pitches tend to be a lot different from the ones we are used to at Taunton, although it's fair to say they are not as slow and low as they used to be.
Gloucestershire will be officially opening their new pavilion before the game and Michael Klinger and his players will be fired up to make it a memorable day for their club.
We are very aware that they have been formidable opponents in the competition this season and know how they approach their 40-over cricket.
There is no doubt that we will need to be at our best on the day and I am looking forward to playing in what will be a fantastic atmosphere at a ground which has been transformed by the recent development work.
With the new pavilion at one end and the flats being built at the other, I think it will be a superb venue once the work is completed.
It was too exposed before, but now that it will be enclosed by the new buildings it will be a different experience playing there.
I was really taken aback by the development when we played there in the Friends Life t20 and have to congratulate Gloucestershire on bringing it to fruition.
Klinger has been leading from the front with some great performances in the YB40, including a century against us at Taunton recently, so he is very much a danger-man as far as we are concerned.
We need to knock him over early because home advantage is important in any format and Gloucestershire will fancy their chances if we allow them to make a good start with bat or ball.
Having said all that, we have been in good form ourselves in the competition at home and away. Pete Trego has had a fantastic run with the bat and Craig Kieswetter has been in terrific form too since returning from injury.
If we maintain our standards there is no reason why we can't achieve a place in the last four and maybe even a home semi-final, depending on results in the other groups.
The two group winners with the best records get home draws and, while there are still all sorts of permutations possible, a win on Monday could put us in that position.
Our run-rate is far superior to that of our rivals, so if we beat Gloucestershire we are almost certain to finish top of Group C, even if Glamorgan win their last two games, against Leicestershire at Swansea on Sunday and Yorkshire at Headingley 24 hours later.
I am optimistic of being fit for Monday unless something dramatically happens to my problem ankle during the Championship game with Warwickshire. Without wishing to dwell on my own form, it's fair to day I'm due a decent knock.
To be honest, I don't care who makes it happen as long as we get the points against Gloucestershire because it would give our season a tremendous lift.
We have already been given a boost to our hopes of avoiding relegation in the Championship with the arrival of Piyush Chawla after a frustrating wait for his visa to come through.
He joined up with the players on Monday in advance of the Warwickshire game and, after the disappointment of Abdur Rehman not being able to return to us because of international duty, it is great to have a new overseas player in place.
Chawla did well in county cricket for Sussex a few seasons ago and is the type of mystery spinner, who can turn the ball both ways.
As we found with Rehman last season, a quality international slow bowler can be especially valuable at the end of the summer when the pitches tend to be drier and more worn, so I am very excited about Chawla signing.
He certainly won't die wondering as a batsman as he is aggressive in his approach and could provide some important late order runs for us as well as wickets.
Piyush averages around 30 with the bat in first class cricket and showed his capabilities with a useful innings on the opening day at Edgabaston, which helped us to a competitive total of 340.
Craig Kieswetter's 148 was another reminder to the England selectors of his talents and he can do no more at the moment in his efforts to return to the international stage.
It was the sort of innings you expect from a senior player – fluent, but responsible. That's how Craig has played in all formats since returning from his broken thumb and long may it continue.
Interview: Richard Latham