Posted by: tootingtrumpet | June 10, 2013

The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket 9 June 2013

How things were, not so long ago

How things were, not so long ago

Ball One – To follow-on or not to follow-on?

Middlesex’s Chris Rogers (who must have had a pretty good look at the pitch while spending more than a day compiling 184) weighed up his lead of 277 and the five sessions left in the match, and invited Sussex to have another go. They did, made 484, and the match was drawn. Though his bowling resources were not exhausted in delivering 83 first innings overs, by the time they had delivered another 92 second innings overs, they must have been feeling it, mentally as much as physically. At that point, Sussex were only 27 runs on with three wickets left, but Luke Wright found a partner in Will Beer and the match slid through Middlesex’s fingers, as bowlers found it hard to find a cutting edge after almost two days on the field. Perhaps spending three hours building a lead of 450 and then having an hour on the third day and three sessions on the fourth to take ten wickets may have been the wiser way to capitalise on a lead of nearly 300.

Ball Two – The heavy roller is squashing excitement

That result was enough to keep Sussex top of Division One with Middlesex second, level on points with Yorkshire. It’s tight up there, but curiously short of excitement, as the top three (and Durham) jockey for position in mid-season. The County Championship has given plenty of thrills and spills over recent years, but there has not been a positive result in Division One since May 23. The re-introduction of the heavy roller does appear to be making batting easier than last year (a welcome result) – but maybe too easy (definitely not a welcome result).

Ball Three – Yorkshire keep piling up the runs

And no county is finding batting easier than Yorkshire. After Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Adil Rashid had piled up huge scores in the Championship, it was captain Andrew Gale’s turn to top even their monuments with 272 at North Marine Drive, Scarborough. The newly promoted Tykes now have five batsmen with more than 250 Division One runs at an average over 48. With the match by no means certain to be a draw when the Yorkshire skipper was dismissed after spending just under nine hours at the crease, it was heartwarming to read that the Nottinghamshire team ran up to their tormentor to shake his hand as he left the field. There’s a lot of talk about The Spirit of Cricket, but (wait for it) actions speak louder than words.

Ball Four – Festival cricket, but one man knows only one way to bat

Ricky Ponting must have been tearing out what little hair he has left as he watched three international bowlers (Chris Tremlett, Jon Lewis and Stuart Meaker) deliver figures of 69 – 9 – 270 – 1, unacceptable even on Guildford’s postage stamp ground. With about two days batting in prospect for the sake of the three points awarded for the draw, a lesser man might have let his mind wander. Not the Tassie terrier. He batted four and a half hours for once out. His example is putting the backbone into Surrey’s brittle batting – and I know you’re thinking what I’m thinking.

Ball Five – Trent Copeland isn’t in the selectors’ best 22 Australians playing cricket in England this week

Northamptonshire cruise off into the distance at the top of Division Two with this week’s monster performance coming from Trent Copeland. Still only 27, with three Test caps in the fast bowlers’ graveyard of Sri Lanka behind him, he couldn’t get in Australia’s hapless ODI squad nor their shadow Australia A XI. He did turn out for Northants and delivered yet again, with match figures of 45.2 – 17 – 92 – 9 as Worcestershire were simply swept aside. He has 36 wickets at 16 this season and has chipped in with 197 runs for three times out. Apparently Mitchell Johnson is a better option…

Ball Six – A personal note

I’ve been away for much of this week – in Azerbaijan, a country in which cricket does not make much of a splash. Without resorting to illegal feeds, I have kept up with cricket at international and national levels, listening to ball-by-ball commentaries, reading detailed reports, assessing live stats as they come in. Cricket has always been wonderfully served by its journalism, both written and spoken, but has it ever been served as well as it is now? A complex, long and nuanced game can now be followed from anywhere, absolutely anywhere, with a wifi connection. God bless the internet and God bless cricket.

You can tweet me at @garynaylor999



  1. If only his name was Mitchell Copeland. Even the Kiwi’s are getting in on the act! God only knowns why so many mothers in the late 80s early 90s thought it a good idea to name their kids after a Cockatoo, but the Australian selectors seem besotted by the name.

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