Ball One – Jonny Bairstow underlined his potential turning a maiden ton into a double. That will gladden the hearts of Yorkshire fans who have much to be excited about in Andrew Gale’s young team. It’ll also gladden the hearts of older cricket fans everywhere, who remember his fiery father, David, with great fondness. David has been gone 13 years now – his son, for whom losing a father when just nine years of age must have been shattering, is doing his old man’s memory proud.
Ball Two – At The Oval, Surrey fielded an attack including Yasir Arafat, Chris Tremlett, Stewart Meaker and Jade Dernbach. Okay, it’s not Roberts, Holding, Garner and Croft, but that’s a lot of pace, especially in Division Two. The two non-internationals took 15 wickets between them and Surrey won by a country mile. Even with South London Boys’ well-earned reputation for cocking things up, that attack will win them plenty of matches in all formats of the game.
Ball Three – I have to feel some sympathy for Kent. In financial difficulties, with a skeleton playing staff, they dismiss half of the Northants team and still hold a lead of 73 runs. They then run into a 6, 7, 8 of international cricketers, Andrew Hall, Niall O’Brien and Chaminda Vaas backed up by last week’s centurion James Middlebrook at 9. By the time they got through those four, Kent were over 200 behind and on the way to defeat.
Ball Four – Lancashire’s great start to the season continues with a crushing win over Warwickshire. Despite baosting a 3, 4, 5 of Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott and Muhammad Yousuf, Warwickshire could muster only 269 runs in the match. Simon Kerrigan joined the long list of Lanky men in form with the ridiculous match figures of 16.2 – 4 – 26 – 7. Gary Keedy, in dazzling form himself, is under pressure for his place. Could it be Lanky’s year at long last? What’s the weather forecast?
Ball Five – Having suffered a few setbacks after expectations were set so high, Somerset are getting their season back on track having eased to a win over Worcestershire. The key to success at Taunton has always been bowling the opposition out in the second innings and the key man for Tresco in achieving that goal was last year’s County Championship surprise packet Gemaal Hussain (6-33). I questioned his close season move across the Bristol Channel, but he’s playing Division One cricket now and still taking wickets. At 27, he’s a late developer, so he had no time to lose – his, and Somerset’s, faith in his ability appears well founded.
Ball Six – Thrills and spills at Lord’s as Middlesex and The Netherlands divided 571 runs between them over 80 overs, with Middlesex having the single more and the CB40 points. Unlike The Unicorns and Scotland who have lost all seven of their matches this season, The Netherlands are giving a fine account of themselves in the limited overs competition. What a shame Ireland aren’t entertaining us and, no doubt, bringing in a few very welcome fans through the turnstiles.
The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket will also appear at Spin Cricket through the season.