The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket also appears at Spin Cricket.
Ball One – It is oft-said that it is not the last over of a one day game that decides matters, but the penultimate over – the best sides make their moves when there’s still time to have another go if things go awry. And so it proved in the LVCC Division One, where matters were resolved with a round of matches still to play. A season that never seemed to get started is finished with a round of matches still to come – and with the hottest weekend of the summer devoid of county fixtures. What a strangely damp squib 2012 has proved for England’s national sports of football and cricket.
Ball Two – Warwickshire won’t complain taking the pennant having beaten up geographical and alphabetical neighbours Worcerstershire by an innings and plenty. Varun Chopra did his Alastair Cook thing by getting going and staying going with 195, but Worcestershire were already a broken team having capitulated for a pitiful 60 to honest seamers Chris Wright and Keith Barker. It was top vs bottom and it looked like it.
Ball Three – Joining seven other teams in enjoying a visit to Worcester next season in Division Two will be Lancashire, as the Champions did a Yorkshire of a few years back and handed in their Division One slot with the trophy. Ten wickets in the match for the magnificent Glen Chapple wasn’t enough to stop Middlesex winning their final fixture and going second. Lancashire, whose ground grows more bizarre with every upgrade, will reflect on as inglorious a 2012 as 2011 was glorious – but nobody can take 2011 away!
Ball Four – Surrey condemned Lanky and avoided a tricky showdown at Aigburth by securing Division One status for 2013 with a comfortable win over fading Nottinghamshire. Tim “The Viscount” Linley (another 2011 hero) had a rare run out in the First XI and didn’t disappoint with five first innings victims. But it was the rejuvenated Gareth Batty – an old stager blossoming since assuming captaincy duties – who led the victory charge with four wickets. Expect plenty of changes at both these Test Match ground clubs over the winter.
Ball Five – Things are tighter in Division Two where it’s any two from three in the promotion shake-up. Long time leaders Derbyshire are favourites to make the step up with a one point lead over Yorkshire and a home fixture with bitterly disappointed Hampshire to come. The Tykes have a tricky looking match at Chelmsford, but the added motivation of delivering top flight cricket in their 150th anniversary season (and a straight-talking President who is keen to see it and will be telling the players exactly that – over and over again). Lurking, just five points off the pace, are Kent who play Glamorgan away, and that, with all due respect, looks less than demanding – if the rain stays away.
Ball Six – Hampshire will be kicking themselves for letting Essex get away from a first innings of 180 all out. Then again, nobody expects Owais Shah to bat six and a half hours these days, but that’s what he did getting 161 second innings runs and a win for James Foster – who must wonder, as captains and fans have for many years, why Owais doesn’t do it more often.
You can tweet me at garynaylor999.