The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket also appears at Spin Cricket.
Ball One – I believe in the value of circuses as much as I believe in the value of bread, so I seldom write that, “cricket just doesn’t seem to matter any more”. On Monday, cricket just didn’t seem to matter any more. Tom Maynard, at 23, was dead – a man I had watched at The Oval many times. Though his family may learn more, we may never know how or why he died, beyond the banality of the official language of the coroner’s court. Perhaps that right.
Ball Two – Circuses, as they do, move on, and yet another week of dismal weather did nothing to lift the gloom. Euro 2012 was providing good entertainment with an England football team which one could, if not exactly like, then at least not feel compelled to dislike and London 2012 was growing like a fungus all over the metropolis and the media. Cricket needed a few thrillers – and it didn’t get them. Inevitably, Surrey provided the nearest thing to a good old-fashioned nail-biter, Jimmy Franklin (the poor man’s Chris Gayle) and Tim Phillips getting Essex over the line off the last ball. On paper, Nannes, Meaker and Tremlett look a frightening attack, but all that pace makes it difficult to bowl dot balls in powerplays or when the final push is on. Tremlett will be happy with 3-19 – indeed happy with a match, after his injuries.
Ball Three – On Midsummer’s Day (though you would hardly know it) a decent crowd pitched up at Lord’s and saw Essex cruise to a win… until Middlesex woke up and got within a hit of denying them. That unexpectedly close finish was due to Ollie Rayner’s knock 0f 39 off 21 balls, backing up his bowling of 4-0-16-2. With all due respect to Rayner, T20 is supposed to get the pulses racing and I doubt that he gets even his own pulse quickening when striding on to the field. It wasn’t supposed to be like this, was it?
Ball Four – But it is. There sitting atop the T20 strike rate charts (of those with over 100 runs scored) is South African David Miller, followed by his captain at Yorkshire, Andrew Gale and then James Hildreth, hitter of one six in three innings. Their counterparts amongst the bowlers are Mark Davies, Gareth Batty and James Tredwell. Some seats are still available for next week’s matches.
Ball Five – Australia arrived – unnoticed. They were given a warm-up match against… Leicestershire, who were predictably steamrollered, all out in fewer than 30 overs. Leicestershire may be T20 champions, but this was 50 overs cricket and Hoggy’s men had not won a match in any format since April 7. The Aussies deserved better – and so did the cricketing public.
Ball Six – I’ve done a Final Over of the Week in County Cricket every weekend since the start of last season, and this is much the most negative. Sure the appalling tragedy that started the week casts a shadow as do bank after bank of clouds, but cricket seems to be waiting for England to play the South Africans. The game cannot afford again to be so low profile so deep into a season – as the Stranglers once blurted out, Somethin’ Better Change.
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