The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket also appears st Spin Cricket.
Ball One – The dismal weather relented sufficiently for batsmen to find a little rhythm with some big scores posted in the LVCC. But there was still just the one positive result to go with six draws, as cautiousness trumped adventure amongst captains. The result came at Derby, where the home side, bolstered by hundreds from skipper Wayne Madsen and the impressive import Martin Guptill, dismissed hapless Glamorgan twice with David Wainwright – a superb winter raid on Yorkshire – picking up a fivefer in the second innings. Derbyshire have never been a glamour club, but I suspect they’ll be a Division One club next season – and they’ll be happy with that.
Ball Two – In Division One, Surrey again showed their resilience in turning a losing position into, well, not quite a winning position, but a competitive one. The man to stand up for Chris Adams this time was Stuart Meaker, whose 8-52 in Somerset’s second innings has taken his season tally to 21 at 17. Meaker is genuinely quick, but his greatest asset is his two lengths both bowled from a tight wicket to wicket line: full with just a little movement in the air; and short and skidding up into the armpit area. It’s not a recipe to satisfy England’s desire to bowl dry, but it asks questions of batsmen every ball – and they don’t always find the answers.
Ball Three – After Rikki Clarke had taken his average over 90 with an undefeated hundred, Lancashire’s prospects were bleak yet again. And they only got worse after another miserable batting performance invited the follow-on. So somebody needed to do something and Paul Horton did, making an old-fashioned century sprawling over seven and a half hours. With help from keeper Gareth Cross, that was enough to secure the draw that might just get Peter Moores’ men’s season off the ground, though they’ll need more than four points from the fixtures to come.
Ball Four – I favour players who can find a way to contribute and one such is Chris Nash. In limited overs cricket, he’s a smiter and a purveyor of effective, if ugly, right-arm darts. In four day cricket, he’s an opener who doesn’t always catch the eye but consistently makes scores. He was at it again this week with 84 in the first dig and 98 in the second, before the game petered out into a draw. 29 years old yesterday, Nash’s chance for international cricket has probably passed, but he’s a solid county pro and what’s wrong with that?
Ball Five – England’s forgotten man, Liam Plunkett, got a rare start for Durham and didn’t waste it picking up four Somerset wickets in a tight CB 40 win. Still only 27, Plunkett’s career has stalled and he might need a change of scenery to express his undoubted talents and, if he can be flexible about wages, he shouldn’t be short of suitors.
Ball Six – Alongside Derbyshire’s Guptill, another Kiwi catching the eye is Kane Williamson, who scored a century in Gloucestershire’s crushing 164 run CB40 victory over Leicestershire. Williamson has been earmarked as captaincy material by New Zealand and is progressing well in all forms of the game. This innings, 112 off 92 balls shows that he has the range of strokes required these days, particularly when one notes that only 80 runs were scored off the 84 boundary-less balls – that’s an impressive ability to knock the balls into gaps.
You can tweet me @garynaylor999