The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket also appears at Spin Cricket.
Ball One – In a magnificent match which rocked one way and then the other, Mark Wood’s fiverfer made sure that Graham Onions’ nine wickets first innings haul was not in vain, with Durham picking up a vital win as Nottinghamshire fell just 17 runs short of their target. With Notts still to play table-topping Warwickshire home and away, they are still in the hunt for the pennant, while Durham have risen from the floor to position themselves 20 points above 8th place Lancashire.
Ball Two – And the champions had another bad week with time running out. At Worcester, there was not sufficient time to force a result between the rain, but it won’t have escaped notice that no Lancashire batsman could score even 40 runs in a completed innings. Glen Chapple’s men are not for the drop yet – but they need a turnaround in results and they’ll only get that with a turnaround in batting form. Can they do it? There’s a lot of Red Rose followers who think, reluctantly, that they can’t.
Ball Three – But Peter Moores can point to an example down in South London, where Surrey won a crucial derby against Middlesex by a mere 8 runs. In another topsy-turvey match, Surrey fans were here-we-go-againing as Rory Hamilton-Brown’s return did nothing to stop a familiar first innings collapse to 41-5. The second innings was a different matter, as hitherto fringe players Arun Harinath and Rory Burns added 217 for the second wicket, enough to give skipper Gareth Batty and spin twin Murali Kartik just enough to deny Middlesex’s fine late order batting. Surrey are out of the relegation zone and have something to shout about for the first time in what feels like months.
Ball Four – In Division Two, only Hampshire were able to secure a win helped by Andrew Hall’s aggressive declaration. In the end, an ultra-experienced top three of Jimmy Adams, Neil McKenzie and Simon Katich got their team up to 326 and the second promotion spot with the minimum of fuss.
Ball Five – Durham’s batting had warmed up for the four day stuff by smearing Glamorgan’s bowing all over the North-East while making 307-2 in the CB40. Sad to see figures of 8-0-71-0 against the name of SP Jones, but, of course, he must be pleased just to be on a cricket field, even if he knows that he wouldn’t have been treated like that in his pomp.
Ball Six – If only the CB40 tournament was not such a sprawling, mis-shapen thing, it would be approaching an exciting denouement. With a couple of matches left for most counties, the four semi-final places lie between Lancashire, Middlesex, Gloucestershire, Netherlands, Hampshire, Surrey, Durham, Somerset, Nottinghamshire, Sussex, Warwickshire, Kent and Yorkshire. That’s the kind of tight finish lots of sports would wish for – but is anyone, outside cricket’s die-hards, noticing?
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