Posted by: tootingtrumpet | August 14, 2017

The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket – 14 August 2017

The Roses Match last week

Ball One – Mohammad Amir is a prince of bowlers, but Jamie Porter is no mere bag carrier.

The County Championship is back – was back – and is now gone again until the end of the month, like a satellite briefly returning to Earth’s orbit before being slingshot back into outer space (a fate, one can’t help feeling, some administrators would invite for the grand old competition). Not down Essex way though, as the southern softies went into the heartland of tough northern cricket and blew Yorkshire into the North Sea at Scarborough inside two days. With the honourable exceptions of Adam Lyth (last man out in the first innings) and Jack Leaning (last man out in the second), the home side had no answer to Mohammad Amir and Jamie Porter, whose combined figures of 17-157 will win 99.94% of matches. Amir’s class is obvious – what a signing he is – and Porter’s 40 wickets at 22 this season must surely earn him an overseas tour this winter. Essex lead by 46 points with five matches to play.

Ball Two – Matthew Lamb not led to the slaughter

The midsummer interregnum in four day cricket allowed for some soul-searching at Edgbaston and changes in personnel. For the team at the foot of Division One, this round of matches had to produce a win and it did, a late-middle order rally in the third innings proving the difference in a low scoring contest with Middlesex, whose title defence limps on. England man, Chris Woakes, was the catalyst, arriving at the crease with half the second innings wickets gone and the lead just 104. His half century, plus 71 from new face, Matthew Lamb and an unbeaten 62 from the admirable Keith Barker, set a fourth innings target of over 300 which proved far too much for the champions’ depleted batting. Warwickshire are still 31 points off safety, but have hope, though they will likely lose Woakes to England for the run-in.

Ball Three – Chris Read re-writes the record books

Nottinghamshire’s lead in Division Two is almost as forbidding as Essex’s in Division One, as they underlined their superiority, dismantling Derbyshire by an innings. Alex Hales, who must feel like a pro playing league cricket at the moment such is his contempt for the bowling, made a run a ball 218, Brett Hutton bagged five wickets in each innings and Chris Read set a new record for a Nottinghamshire wicketkeeper with his 968th first class dismissal in a one-sided affair. The question is not whether Notts will be promoted in 2017, but how they were ever relegated in 2016.

Ball Four – Dan Christian resurrects the spirit of David Hussey at New Road

Away went the slips and in came the scoops, as the T20 Blast barged back into the schedule with the penultimate week of group stage matches in a competition that seems to have been going on for months already. Notts (them again) became the first club to qualify from the North Group after captain, Dan Christian, inspired his team with bat and ball. Christian isn’t quite the same player as his fellow countryman (and ex- Nottinghamshire player), David Hussey, but he does support an old conjecture of mine – that T20 sides will morph into 10 davidhusseys and a batsman-wicketkeeper. Useful though such 130 strike rate biffers/60mph – 80mph bowlers/gun fielders are in the format, whether fans will tire of watching eight or more in every team day after day is a moot point.

Ball Five – Glamorgan take de Lange way home

That cynicism aside, Glamorgan qualified from the South Group in a thriller at Taunton with a key contribution from a genuine quick. After something of an old school innings in which Glamorgan constructed a platform before a pushing on to a competitive total (127-1 after 14.3 becoming 183-6 after 20), Somerset went into the last three overs needing a highly gettable 22 with experienced old pros, Johann Myburgh and Jim Allenby both well set. Cue South African speedster, Marchant de Lange (still only 26!), who dismissed both Somerset men – and 20 off two overs with new batsmen at the crease proved too much.

Ball Six – Jack Leaning leans back to pluck one out of the sky

Though it grieves a Lanky fan to write it, the T20 highlight of the week was a spectacular catch by Yorkshire’s Jack Leaning to dismiss Lancashire’s Arron Lilley, as white beat red in the Roses match. Not bad in perfect fielding conditions, but all the more laudable on a wet outfield that would have seen play abandoned in seasons past. It’s always been my view that, unless it’s raining or there is standing water on the field, T20 cricket should be played, the players trusted to look after their own welfare underfoot – umpires and players seem to be coming round to that, and about time too.

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Responses

  1. How Essex have leapt to third in the Blast table is beyond me. They were bottom before Friday’s game.

    I watched it through the live stream with BBC commentary and the product was pretty good. Come on ECB, give us a MLB/NFL Network and lets get these games shared as widely as possible.


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