Warwickshire continue their Bob Willis Trophy campaign tomorrow (Saturday 8 August) when they pay their first first-class visit to Bristol for 16 years to take on Gloucestershire.
Not since August 2004 have the Bears been to Nevil Road on first-class business, though that match was highly significant as Nick Knight’s side secured a draw which took them to the threshold of the championship title.
It was a match that summed up that title triumph – rooted in hard work and resilience rather than spectacular cricket. Trailing by 242 on first innings, the Bears ground their way to a vital draw thanks to final-day resistance from Jonathan Trott (79), Dougie Brown (49 in more than three hours – he was on 30 for 44 balls), Tony Frost (28 in 95 minutes) and Naqaash Tahir (11 not out, 86 minutes).
This time round, first-team coach Jim Troughton (who scored a first innings century in the 2004 game) knows a draw will be of little use to Warwickshire. Having drawn their opener against Northamptonshire, they are playing catch up and, in a group with only five games, there isn’t much time to catch up.
“We need to bounce back,” Troughton said. “Somerset and Worcestershire won their first games, so we know straight away that those are two games we have got to win, but first up we have to beat Gloucestershire.
“Getting off to a good start in the group was always going to be key and, for two days, we did that and put ourselves in a good position. It was disappointing not to finish the job but we did get good points from a draw so we are still right in there.
“It has been a long time since we played at Bristol but our analyst Stuart Key has made sure we have all the information from their game against Worcestershire. Our batters are in a good place and we have bowlers ready to come in.
“There were guys who were disappointed to miss out for the first game and we have three bowlers – Henry Brookes, Craig Miles and George Garrett, champing at the bit and ready to be selected. Also, the bowlers who played against Northants will have learned from those last two days, particularly in terms of the areas they need to bowl.”
Warwickshire will be without Olly Stone who suffered a side injury during the Northants game, though he was always going to miss this match anyway as part of squad rotation. Liam Norwell is also sidelined by disc trouble in his back.
One area where Troughton will be looking for improvement is the slip cordon where some expensive errors were made against Northants.
“You are always going to drop some catches but they did prove costly,” he said. “I have been pleased with the way we have been attacking our fielding in practice. I think it might be down to positioning rather than mistakes due to not practising hard enough, so that is something we are looking at.”
How to watch:
Gloucestershire are running the live stream for this Bob Willis Trophy match through the club’s match centre at gloscricket.co.uk.
Please note that you must register for an account in advance in order to be able to view the live stream across the four days of fixtures.
You will still be able to follow the Bears with live scores, videos and highlights on their Warwickshire social media channels and on edgbaston.com