The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket also appears at Spin Cricket.
Ball One – While England’s chosen men were toiling in South London, a couple of England’s nearly men were impressing at Taunton. Chris Woakes’ century set up high flying Warwickshire with 400 on board and the bonus points, but the final day saw Craig Kieswetter blitz 152 runs, as Somerset got up with their last pair at the crease. After weeks of one day cricket matches meandering to conclusions with the results long since settled, it took an old fashioned four innings match to produce a thriller.
Ball Two – Squeezing between Warwickshire in first and Somerset in third are my tip for the title, Nottinghamshire, whose match with Surrey was rain affected, losing days two and three. I’m no fan of bonus points, but the eight secured by both sides could prove vital at opposite ends of the table come September. But perhaps, just perhaps, without bonus points on offer, would the captains have forgone an innings each and set up a match? Maybe, just maybe.
Ball Three – Down scrapping amongst four to avoid the two bottom rungs and the trapdoor plunge to Division Two are defending champions Lancashire. Their season plumbed new depths, statistically at least, as they collapsed to a schoolboyish total of 63 to lose at home to fellow strugglers Worcestershire. Though it’s the same for both sides, Old Trafford’s newly rotated square may be pleaded as mitigation – admirable cricketers though they are, Moeen Ali and Steven Croft should not really be taking 12-96 and 9-105 respectively. Whatever the cause, Lancashire are running out of games to get things right.
Ball Four – Even more of a surprise basement dweller than the champions, are Durham whose season just won’t get started. At the other end of the country, but still in the shadow of a castle (Arundel this time), they must have felt that they were about to secure their first LVCC win of 2012 when Sussex were eight down with only Monty padded up and biting his nails. Gnarly old Aussie pro Steve Magoffin was not about to waste his match figures of 9-50 in a defeat and found a willing partner in fellow quick James Anyon. With the batsmen leaving them at 73-8, the opening bowlers lifted Sussex’s score to 94-8 and consigned Durham to a long, and possibly contemplative, trip home.
Ball Five – And Durham are now the only county looking for an LVCC win in 2012, because poor old Glamorgan, battered by the rain, contrived a win over Northamptonshire after a double forfeiture. One feels a bit for David Sales and Rob Newton, both of whom scored centuries as their team conceded just five wickets, but still lost.
Ball Six – Just a notch above Glamorgan propping up Division Two, Leicestershire couldn’t quite deliver a second win of the season, failing to take the last two Gloucestershire wickets, who themselves were only 13 runs away from the win. It was another match full of enterprise even though neither county has much to play for (even if Northants can reverse their seasonal form from 2011 and come with a late rush, they still have some way to go to penetrate the top two). Perhaps they, like us, were happy just to have some cricket in this dismal summer. Let’s hope the sun stays shining through to September and that the cricketers play every match to win, with the draw a last resort.
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