Dragons braced for T20 crunch time
GLAMORGAN are bracing themselves for crunch time in their Friends Life t20 challenge.
Tomorrow's clash with Worcestershire Royals at New Road marks the first of four games in five days that could make or break the county's quest to reach the knockout stages for the first time since 2008.
It has been a mixed start for the Welsh Dragons so far in the competition with two abandonments, a rain-affected win over Warwickshire Bears and then a thrilling final-over defeat to group leaders Somerset in Taunton their record so far.
Two sides automatically qualify for the quarter-finals out of the Midlands Wales and West pool, with another spot going to one of the best two third-placed finishers from the three pools. With six matches remaining, there is still all to play for, and skipper Jim Allenby is confident his side can put themselves firmly in the mix for qualification this weekend.
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"We have four games in five days coming up, so that's a massive time for us. If we can win at least three of them, we should find ourselves in second spot in the group," said the Australian-born all-rounder.
"To be fair our group is wide open, everyone is getting affected by the weather, us as much as anyone, but the old saying goes you can't do anything about the weather. We are playing good cricket, so if we get on a roll and win two or three we're going to be right up there."
After Worcester, the Dragons host struggling Northamptonshire Steelbacks in Cardiff, then it's a short trip to Bristol to take on Gloucestershire Gladiators on Monday before the rearranged return against the Royals on Tuesday.
"Worcester have invested in their batting, as we have, so I expect it will be a pretty high-scoring home and away," added Allenby. "I have always loved playing at New Road and I know a lot our players have done well there individually. We had a good game there in pre-season, so we know the conditions very well and it's a game we expect to win."
Allenby also defended the format of this year's competition, which has been crammed into one block mid-season.
"I think the set-up this year is about right," he added. "Having that block of a month of t20 fixtures when you can focus on your skills and get the big overseas players in is brilliant. If it was to spread over the season, you would lose that overseas element. We get the benefit of having guys like Shaun Marsh and Martin van Jaarsveld here, which makes a big difference to our crowds and the spectacle. To lose that would be a real shame."