The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket also appears at spincricket.com.
Ball One – A local derby decided in the last few minutes in an iconic London venue captured the attention of the public bringing joy to the supporters of the winners and despair to those of the losers. Okay, Saturday at Wembley was a bigger occasion than Lord’s on Sunday, where Middlesex were Liverpool to Surrey’s Everton, but that’s not to say that the LVCC Division One match didn’t matter. Cricket will never be football, nor will the LVCC ever be the IPL, but plenty will have attended Lord’s over the four days (and plenty more would have done had the match not been scheduled so early in the season) and plenty will have followed events via radio commentary online or through websites and social networks. County cricket should stop apologising for not being Premier League football, IPL cricket or Formula One Grands Prix and celebrate what it is – a niche interest, but a much loved part of the summer for millions each accessing it in the way that suits them best. The Morgan Review should tamper with it at its peril.
Ball Two – Last week’s Final Over suggested that Derbyshire had the “Moneyball” signing of the summer in David Wainwright, and his performance in the win over Glamorgan backed that up. But his match aggregate of one wicket and 72 runs was trumped by a moneyball player already on Derbyshire’s books, Jonathan Clare, who bagged 11 wickets and 64 runs. All-rounders can be dangerous members of a team – sometimes wasting a batting and a bowling slot – but these two took 60% of the Welshmen’s wickets and scored 44% of their own team’s runs off the bat. Moneyball indeed.
Ball Three – Bowlers win matches, as twenty wickets is the holy grail in these days of attacking cricket. Debutant Steve McGoffin’s nine wickets caught the eye as Sussex turned over 2011 champions Lancashire in their first match of the season. Batsmen play their part in victories too – ain’t that the joy of the two innings format – and Michael Yardy’s 110 was the difference between the sides on a tricky pitch. That’s impressive stuff from the Sussex captain in the week in which his depression was in the news again, as a result of Wisden’s superb articles on a blight that affects many cricketers.
Ball Four – Jeetan Patel blazed Warwickshire over the line at Edgbaston to lend credence to the view that the title will be fought out between them and Midlands neighbours Nottinghamshire. Jim Troughton, leaning on his bat at the other end, may not have been so sanguine had his team not been donated 57 extras in 163 overs of a match in which his team did not need to cross 300 in either innings to win. Quite why professionals on 12 month contracts give away so many runs is beyond me – it wouldn’t happen in league cricket..
Ball Five – David Sales has work to do at Northants. Having been pipped to promotion at the end of last season, they’ve been bullied into big defeats twice already this time round. Kent hid Geraint Jones at 8 and it was his stand of 165 with new signing (but old pro) Mike Powell that knocked the stuffing out of the home side who couldn’t manage that many in either innings.
Ball Six – Fielding a strong XI, Yorkshire were bundled out for 135 by a team of local students conceding a 76 run lead. That wasn’t in the script for many people’s tip for promotion this season. What new president, Geoffrey Boycott, thought of it can only be guessed, but I suspect the word “roobish” may have been involved, along with some words that I hope were uttered out of the earshot of the young opponents.
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