Posted by: tootingtrumpet | July 21, 2013

The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket 21 July 2013

A man with something to smile about

A man with plenty to smile about

Ball One – “Strong Yorkshire, Strong England”? Well the White Rose county are making a run for an emotional 150th anniversary title after swatting aside poor old Derbyshire for the loss of only five wickets. One of those was not Alex Lees, the 20 year-old replacement for Joe Root, who caught the double century fever that has been running through the dressing room finishing unbowed on 275 to set up the season’s most predictable win. Yorkshire have five batsmen with more than 400 Division One runs at better than 50 and four bowlers with 23 wickets or more who pay 25 or fewer runs for them. And three men in the current England XI. There may be plenty of ex-Yorkshire players in the media to trumpet the successes of the new Tyke generation, but they don’t really need it – their performances speak for themselves.

Ball Two – Division One’s top runscorer is Middlesex’s Sam Robson, whose six hour 166 provided plenty for his bowlers who delivered a ten wicket win over fellow pennant-chasers Sussex, for whom Luke Wright played a lone hand in the second dig with 161. Robson qualifies to play for England next season, but, with Cook and Root looking locked in for the foreseeable future, there might be more opportunities playing for the land of his birth – they certainly need him more!

Ball Three – Durham round out the top four, with games in hand on rivals, but don’t rule out a late run from Champions Warwickshire, who backed up last week’s win with another this week crushing Nottinghamshire. As was the case so often last year, late middle order runs were crucial with Laurie Evans and Ateeq Javid adding 199 for the seventh wicket. In the modern way, stand-in skipper Varun Chopra chose not to enforce the follow-on and set his (by now relatively fresh) bowlers the challenge of taking ten more wickets in an hour + a whole day’s play. Despite stout resistance from Alex Hales, spinner Jeetan Patel delivered his job description with four wickets and the seamers shared the rest. The Bears are on the prowl and travel to leaders Yorkshire next in a match that may define their season.

Ball Four – With every team having played ten matches in Division Two, Lancashire and Northamptonshire still occupy the promotion slots, but the men from Wantage Road will be feeling slightly uneasy about the prospect of missing out again after noting Essex’s second consecutive win. And what a win! 210 runs behind Leicestershire’s first innings 365 at the fall of the fourth wicket, they won by an innings after England Under-19 products, Jaik Mickleburgh (243) and Ben Foakes (120), added 270 for the fifth wicket. For once, David Masters went wicketless, but five-fers in each innings for all-rounders Graham Napier and Greg Smith secured the points. James Foster’s team have rediscovered the art of winning matches and are now just 18 points off second spot with the wind in their sails.

Ball Five – Table-toppers Lancashire remain the only unbeaten side in either division but could only draw after 40 year old Murray Goodwin turned back the clock to score 194 for Glamorgan. There were twelve more wickets for Simon Kerrigan to make him Division Two’s top wicket-taker. That his fellow bowlers took just three wickets in their 134 overs will give skipper Glen Chapple some concern, as he knows that the long season will surely catch up with him soon and that promotion is the least the members expect.

Ball Six – Gloucestershire kept themselves in the hunt for a promotion slot with a solid team performance in the win over Worcestershire. Captain, Michael Klinger led from the front with 92 in a fourth innings chase of 195. Aged 33 now, Klinger is exactly the kind of Australian batsman who would be described as just below Test class – but, on current evidence – is he? Yes is still probably the right answer, but the same could not be said for contemporary Adam Voges, currently playing for Middlesex. The Australian selectors may not fancy eating a little humble pie, but they could do a lot worse.

You can tweet me at @garynaylor999

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