Posted by: tootingtrumpet | May 31, 2014

The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket – 1 June 2014


An Overton

Ball One – Win, Lose or Draw? Or get the calculators out and work out the bonus points?

Down came the rain and with it came the draws with no results possible in either division of the LV County Championship. Only Glamorgan vs Leicestershire in Division Two saw more than a two points differential between the teams – and that five points swing required Glamorgan to be just two wickets away from an innings victory. All of which leads to the old chestnut about the utility of bonus points. The pro argument is that English cricket’s susceptibility to rain interruptions means that the County Championship can’t do without them: the con argument is that they complicate an already complicated game. I’d like to see ten points for a win and three for a draw to encourage captains to go for the win whenever possible and to bring the four day game closer to the five day game – there are no bonus points in Test series after all, though the rankings use an algorithm that… As I said, I like win, lose or draw.


Another Overton

Ball Two – Much for all to enjoy from the likes of Gordon Muchall.

All eyes at Trent Bridge were trained on returning Test stars Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes: except for those looking out for Aussie Ashes stalwart Peter Siddle; or perhaps local hero Samit Patel caught the eye; maybe England middle order long shot James Taylor was worth a watch; and who wouldn’t enjoy dear old Colly, still on the circuit, giving back to the county that launched his career. But it’s one of the joys of county cricket that even the most glittering of stars, the most heartwarming of stories, the most “talking point” of talking points can be upstaged by a solid pro on his day. And so it was at Nottinghamshire’s ground, where Durham’s Gordon Muchall (13th season, average still not quite 30) bashed 158* off 189 balls as the weather beat the cricket. There are plenty of re-structuring advocates for franchise cricket, fewer counties, a stronger base for the England team etc etc etc whose ideas would exclude the likes of Muchall from domestic cricket – but some of us are pleased that there’s still room for such troupers.

Ball Three – Where are cricket’s Ross Barkleys and Steven Gerrards?

Liverpool’s glorious Victorian heritage has bequeathed us some of the country’s most spectacular architecture – and also some of its most beautiful cricket grounds (take it from me, I’ve played at many of them). And it’s not just England’s World Cup football captain who speaks with a scouse accent in the wider world of sport, so it’s somewhat inexplicable to find that there are so few cricketers from my home city. To my knowledge, Liverpool’s only Test player is Ken Cranston, the last of whose caps saw him running into Don Bradman’s 1948 Invincibles. Lancashire’s two Liverpool lads, Paul Horton and Tom Smith, are unlikely to add to Cranston’s caps, but they’re handy county players, as Smith’s fifty and five-fer in the Roses match underlined. The all-rounder is averaging almost 40 with the bat and less than 23 with the ball this season – and that’s no fluke as it supports career averages both of which are less than one run off 30. The spirit of Ian “Bully” Austin lives on at Old Trafford.

Ball Four – The scorer’s lot is not a happy one.

Even with today’s computerised scoring apps, the role of the scorer is much under-rated – at one point during the recent ODI at The Oval, the two scoreboards and the television feed were showing three different scores – and anyone who has volunteered to score an innings for their club soon finds out that concentration levels need to be very high indeed. So pity the scorers at Edgbaston, who had to deal with ten overs of late order thrashing from Overton (Craig) and Overton (Jamie), the Taunton Twins. Jamie biffed a maiden half-century while Craig finished 15 not out – at least, that’s what the scorebook says.

Ball Five – It’s Friday night and it’s a Blast!

At The Oval, the speakers that boom out Pharrell’s “Happy” and, in case you’re missing it having not heard it for a few hours, Psy’s “Gangnam Style”, are pointed all round the ground – except, mercifully, at the members. But the booze at the Blast and the novelties for the kids keep coming and, if it works, why not? It’s barely the same game (and often not the same players) as cricket’s four day and even its fifty over versions – that all important new audience needs to be stroked. The old ways still poke through from time to time and one couldn’t help but be amused when Azhar Mahmood hit the fourth ball of the 19th over to the boundary to seal a Surrey win over Middlesex that had been coming pretty much all evening. As the post-match party started, the players walked off and the presentation podium was wheeled on, the umpires were deep in consultation, both talking into their radios, standing alone in the middle. With one run needed, the crucial question that detained the officials was whether Azhar had hit a four or a six. It wouldn’t do to have those scorebooks wrong would it?

Ball Six – When is the cricket on?

Though the cricket season has a more predictable structure than in recent seasons, the schedules for which appeared to be put together by throwing darts at a calendar, there’s still a few wrinkles to iron out. Six LV County Championship matches started on Sunday June 1, but one (Northants vs Yorkshire) started on the Saturday. There was room for a T20 Blast match on the Sunday too (Leicestershire vs Warwickshire) which meant that Grace Road’s four day game started on the Monday. And I thought bonus points were opaque!

You can tweet me @garynaylor999


  1. Ball one: an alternative to bonus points is to use “net runs per wicket” to separate teams level on points for wins and draws. It’s the equivalent of goal difference – the total runs a team has scored in all its games, divided by the wickets lost; minus the runs conceded divided by wickets taken.

    Ball two: good point, but I don’t know about the phrase “dear old Colly”, I wouldn’t say it to his face anyway.

    • I like the net run rate – as long as the last match doesn’t finish with a team 1240-5 dec boosting it!

      I wouldn’t either!

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