Posted by: tootingtrumpet | May 23, 2017

The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket – 22 May 2017

The administrators’ plan to maintain interest in the RLODC

Ball One – Nottinghamshire enjoy a rainy day at Northamptonshire

The early abandonment at Wantage Road handed Nottinghamshire the point they needed to join Worcestershire and Yorkshire in progressing from the North Group of the Royal London One Day Cup. It also took the wind out of the sails of Durham, Leicestershire and Lancashire, all of whom might have squeaked in as the last round of matches started. It’ll be scant consolation for him, but Lanky’s Jordan Clark ended the group stage with the best strike rate of batsman scoring over 250 runs (143), a sentiment that might be shared by rock bottom Warwickshire’s veteran spinner, Jeetan Patel, whose economy rate of 5.12 was the lowest among bowlers taking at least ten wickets.

Ball Two – Southern discomfort in the wet sends last week’s top three through

With only Essex dodging the weather in the South Group, their win over Kent consolidating their position at the top of the table to earn a semi-final slot, Somerset and Surrey went into the eliminators with their North group counterparts. Despite having had a thin time of it lately, Kent’s white ball specialist, Alex Blake, took the batting honours in the South Group with a strike rate of 158, with Jade Dernbach’s economy rate of 3.8 just edging out Toby Roland-Jones as best of the bowlers. After a four week break (nobody is quite sure why), the tournament resumes with the knockout stage on 13 June.

Ball Three – Porter rises to the challenge of carrying the Essex attack

Just twelve points cover the top four in Division One of the County Championship, with Essex capitalising on Alastair Cook’s availability to lead the ladder having been promoted last season. Ryan ten Doeschate’s men simply hammered Hampshire (reprieved relegation last year, but I’m going to the Rose Bowl on Saturday, so I can’t say anything unkind) in just over 200 overs cricket. Whilst runs don’t look a problem for Essex, the question for 2017 was always about who would take the 103 Championship wickets delivered by those retired old foxes, David Masters and Graham Napier. Well, Matthew Quinn and Jamie Porter showed plenty of promise last year and combined to take 10-124 in this match. The two 24 year-olds will learn much from Neil Wagner and (can it be possible to say this?) the veteran Ravi Bopara, and will get plenty of overs if they can stay fit.

Ball Four – Picture perfect centuries for Kumar Sangakkara

Weather and some obdurate batting saw the other three Division One matches drawn. At Lord’s, Surrey’s somewhat imbalanced attack (Tom Curran, Sam Curran, Mark “Hot” Footitt and Stuart Meaker look like four new ball specialists with nobody to do a Peter Siddle job as third seamer) proved a notch or two below Middlesex’s, with two more potential England men, Toby Roland-Jones and Tom Helm, a very classy opening pair. Ultimately, it didn’t matter though, because Kumar Sangakkara walked past his portrait in the Long Room and did not stride back until he had stroked twin centuries, the ageless master half a dozen notches above his fellow batsmen. Two more needed now for a century of centuries in First Class and List A cricket – standing ovations can be cheap these days, but his will be richly deserved when it arrives.

Ball Five – Joe Leach sucks the lifeblood out of Derbyshire’s batting

Worcestershire squeezed the only positive result this week in Division Two (basement dwellers, Durham and Sussex, started their match on Sunday) to go three for three, as they say stateside. Hapless Derbyshire (played three, lost three) were swept aside once openers Daryl Mitchell and Brett D’Oliviera had replied to the home side’s 275 with 243 runs of their own. Joe Leach added five second innings wickets to his four in the first to lead his team to a very comfortable innings win. Australia’s greatest ever finger spinner and ninth on their all-time wicket-taking list, Nathan Lyon, picked up a couple of scalps, but was barely needed (or noticed) at all.

Ball Six – Boers bore to a valiant draw

Hitherto unstoppable Nottinghamshire looked like making it four wins in a row when Chris Read invited Glamorgan to follow on, 361 behind with two whole days to play. But Division Two cricket proved itself tougher than some (including me) say, as the Welsh county (if not quite Welshmen) dug in for an old-fashioned stalemate. Skipper Jacques Rudolph set the tone with 14 made in an hour and a half, before fellow countrymen, Colin Ingram and Chris Cooke, batted out the last day (yes, the last day!) with the former racking up nearly ten hours at the crease for his 155 not out. Stuart Broad had figures of 34-10-55-0 in Glamorgan’s second innings, which may or may not please Andrew Strauss, As for Broad, he’s probably sick of the sight of South Africans already and the First Test doesn’t start until July!


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