The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket also appears at spincricket.com
Ball One – Champs to chumps in a few short months for Lancashire as even Jimmy Anderson’s five wickets could not avoid another defeat, this time at the hands of my tip for the title, Nottinghamshire. With a quarter of their fixtures gone already, Peter Moores’ men are yet to register a win and are already looking down the table rather than up. The chuckling isn’t quite wafting over The Pennines just yet, but it’s coming.
Ball Two – Notts’ win was a team effort, but when a bowler delivers match figures of 30 – 13 – 50 – 10, he isn’t going to lose very often. That bowler was Andre Adams, who may be 37 soon, but shows no sign of his powers diminishing as the key bowler in a Notts team for whom he has taken 236 wickets at less than 24. Adams is a classic Kiwi bits and pieces player, not good enough for international cricket, but almost perfect for the varying conditions and formats of the county cricket. One wonders if there aren’t a few more like him, moving it a bit both ways down in cricket’s most southerly outpost. (Can you hear me Peter Moores?)
Ball Three – Warwickshire powered their way to the top of the table hammering highly fancied Durham by nine wickets in a low scoring match at Edgbaston. Their version of Andre Adams (in more senses than one) was Keith Barker, whose match figures of 30.2 – 10 – 70 -10 against a top eight of whom seven are international cricketers, shows just how much he has come on this season. He has 22 wickets at less than 15 in 2012 and probably wishes the cold and the cloud continue all summer.
Ball Four – The first Friday of May saw the second cricket competition of the “summer” underway with a replay of the 2011 CB40 final. It was another Surrey win, this time a very easy one, founded on a 163 run opening partnership in just 22 overs from Steven Davies, starting this season as he finished last, and an in-form Rory Hamilton-Brown, who must be interesting England’s ODI and T20I selectors. What impressed most about Surrey was their bowling options. RH-B need only look up to spot an England bowler (Dernbach, Meaker, Lewis, Batty), a solid pro who wouldn’t let him down (de Bruyn, Spriegel, even himself these days) or the exciting young talent of Zafar Ansari, who comprehensively outbowled the highly rated George Dockrell. With Surrey’s bowlers apparently instructed to bowl at the stumps and with Chris Tremlett still in the wings, it would be a brave man to back against them defending their trophy rather more convincingly than Lancashire are defending theirs.
Ball Five – Can fielding get any better? There’s a few catches going down as cold fingers are crunched, but the athleticism of running, fielding and throwing is at an all-time high. Maybe it’s because I see more of him than any other young player, but Jason Roy is about the best outfielder I have ever seen. His throw seems even flatter and harder this season than last and, in the green expanses of The Oval, he is a helluva sight.
Ball Six – Shorn of Andre Adams, Notts are not the same side, but they ought to have had enough to beat Scotland. On his home territory, Gordon Drummond led his attack to restrict Notts’ strong batting line-up to just 219-7 off 40 overs. With bat in hand, Scotland were cruising at 108-0 after 23 overs when Mssrs Duckworth and Lewis were required and duly gave Scotland their win. Never underestimate a cricket team, nor a group of Scotsmen, especially when they have a group of possibly complacent Englishmen in sight!
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