Ball One – Yorkies keep on truckin’
When Notts had Yorkshire at 137-4 with Luke Fletcher on a hat-trick, they were very much in the game. But, as has been the case throughout their 150th anniversary season, Yorkshire found a batsman or two to dig in and, with decent contributions from Adam Lyth, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett, Jonny Bairstow and Steven Patterson, they crossed 400 yet again. The seamers, led by Ryan Sidebottom who went past his father’s haul of first class wickets, then twice rolled a rather sorry Notts team who haven’t won since mid May. There was even time for Adil Rashid to snap up a few bunnies, as twenty wickets were surrendered in fewer than 108 overs. With four matches to play, Yorkshire lead by 25.5 points.
Ball Two – Derbyshire might escape the drop
Middlesex had the misfortune to run into the remarkable charge of Derbyshire, whose 57 run win lifted them out of the relegation zone for the first time since mid-April. The pitch rewarded ten bowlers with wickets and the highest stand of the match was just 85, so skipper Wayne Madsen’s 138 not out in the first innings was the key to Derbyshire’s success. They’ll believe that they can pull off a miraculous escape now and, though I can hardly believe I’m writing it, so do I.
Ball Three – Lights good enough for night-time Twenty20 Final not good enough for daytime LVCC match, six days later.
Derbyshire were replaced in the bottom two by Somerset, who were saved from another defeat by an early close at Edgbaston. With Warwickshire needing 66 from 18 overs with seven wickets in hand, quite why the batsmen should be forced off by the umpires with the lights blazing overhead, puzzles everyone who is not an umpire – but they all do it, so no blame can be attached to Rob Bailey and Steve Gale. It’s an unsatisfactory state of affairs that’s doing the game no good. The early close also pretty much turned the lights out on Warwickshire’s defence of the pennant, as they are now 51 points off the pace, with more draws than any team outside the relegation places.
Ball Four – Surrey’s season is disintegrating
After the Twenty20 Final mauling at the hands of Northants, Surrey were always going to find it tough at Chester-le-Street, where Durham have now won six of seven matches. But scores of 108 and 169 in a match in which Scott Borthwick made 135 on his own, will not be accepted by Alec Stewart nor the membership. Surrey, winless, are rock bottom of Division One and must hope that Hashim Amla lifts them – but he can’t do it alone.
Ball Five – Glamorgan’s Goodwin delivers good win
I’ve always been a great admirer of Murray Goodwin, now almost 41, but still good enough to be third in the Division Two run charts, with another 1000 run season already notched. If his combative nature has led him astray from time to time, it’s that same nature that carried his old bones for nearly seven hours, as his 178 was the cornerstone of Glamorgan’s 508-9d, plenty enough to see off a sorry, and still winless, Leicestershire. Glamorgan are no more than mid-table, so it was the kind of match that mattered little to either side, but nobody told the Zimbabwean – not that he would have understood anyway.
Ball Six – Two old stagers turn it on for Northants
Just a few days after lifting the FLT20 Trophy, Northants were back in action against the team they vanquished in the semi-final, Essex. But it was two men who missed out on county cricket’s biggest day who laid the foundations for the win with a century each. Stephen Peters is 34 now and never quite fulfilled the potential he showed in 1998 when making a ton in England’s victory over New Zealand in the Under-19s World Cup Final. That side included future Internationals Owais Shah, Robert Key, Paul Franks, Chris Schofield and Graeme Swann – a level Peters never reached. David Sales is a year older, but arrived in even more spectacular fashion with a Championship double century as an 18 year-old debutant. Both look likely to be rewarded for solid county careers with a promotion to Division One. Few will begrudge them that.
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