Posted by: tootingtrumpet | August 28, 2017

The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket – 28 August 2017

Not David Ward

Ball One – Now That’s What I Call Hitting

In the 70s, in motorway service stations, you could buy Top Of The Pops albums (and even cheaper copies) with their glamour girl covers and their small print (“Re-recorded for your pleasure – not by original artists”). Then. in the mid-80s, came the “Now That’s What I Call Music” series which gave us the actual songs by the actual artists and you didn’t need to record them off the radio and catch a few seconds of Peter Powell or anything! But we got tired of those soon too and wanted to look at them yo-yos play the guitar on the MTV. Watching Shahid Afridi tee off and make a century to smash Derbyshire and catapult (checks who Shahid Afridi is playing for this week) Hampshire into Finals Day, reminded me of that series of albums. All those hits, all that star quality, but I’ve seen it so many times now that I turned right over to the TV page and watched Game of Thrones long before the match slumped to its conclusion.

Ball Two – Glammie slammie Foxes

The second quarter-final was even more of a non-event, Glamorgan deploying a little dibbly from Graham Wagg and a little dobbly from Craig Meschede to strangle Leicestershire, before Jacques Rudolph and Colin Ingram cruised to 126-1 in the 14th over. That’s all I have to say about that.

Ball Three – The treble (well, a treble) is still on for Nottinghamshire

It wasn’t as one-sided at Trent Bridge, but Nottinghamshire are enjoying 2017 as much as they endured 2016 and, like all sides in form, found a way to win. After Somerset’s Steve Davies and Peter Trego rolled back the clock with a partnership of 85 in 10.3 overs to set up a handy target of 152, the home side were in a bit of trouble at 66-4 in the 10th over. But captain Dan Christian knew that he had Samit Patel at the other end – what a fine cricketer he is – and the resourceful Steve Mullaney still in the hutch. Text book finishing from that experienced trio got Notts over the line with nine balls to spare and a second day out at a one day final beckons.

Ball Four – Bears win for grizzly old pro Grant Elliott

Ian Bell bowed to the inevitable and resigned the captaincy of Warwickshire after months of drift and under-achievement, individually and collectively. As is so often the case, fortunes immediately changed the the Birmingham Bears with a win over Surrey to continue a much improved second half of the season. 205 is stiff ask even at the fast scoring Oval, but new captain, Grant Elliott, has steered ships home in stormier seas, and his 59 not out, having come to the crease with 121 needed at that crucial tick under ten an over, proved sufficient. Surrey failed to emulate Notts with a second white ball Finals appearance in 2017 and can concentrate on a pitch for the pennant.

Ball Five – Some decisions should stay downstairs

Controversy at The Oval again in what is one of cricket’s most tedious and, I venture, unnecessary, delays. Technology should be used where it helps – as it does so often (if not quite always) with the edge on to the pads reversing an LBW. But does it ever help to determine if a catch has been held cleanly? So… Rory Burns takes a “catch” in the deep, Grant Elliott stands his ground and umpire, Martin Saggers, takes that fatal look towards Tim Robinson and the whole charade plays out as it does 99% of the time, with the doubt going in the batsman’s favour. Cue the boos and the bad blood bubbling between the players, but we’ve been here so many times before that it’s taking on elements of pantomime. Well over a decade ago, Dermott Reeve (remember him?) showed how television pictures’ flattening of a three dimensional event into a two dimensional representation rendered the third umpire’s job impossible in these circumstances – viz the technology doesn’t help. Tough job though it is, the field umpires should make a decision and stick to it – and the players and fans should accept that they might sometimes err.

Ball Six – “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this any more’ – but I will, of course

Haseeb Hameed may yet open the batting for England in The Ashes against Patrick Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood – quite an assignment. In the last 50 days, he has played one match of first team cricket. Can’t the boozers, the families and the money men who seem to love T20 cricket give the rest of us just a few more days of – I’ll say it – proper cricket at the time of year best suited to it? Watching the likes of Hameed make a fourth innings 70 off 200 balls on a dry turner in a match that goes 240, 200, 170, 211-8 may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there are hundreds of thousands of us for whom scorecards like that have defined our summers. If the County Championship were a physical construction, it would be protected from predatory development – it’s at least as culturally significant as 95% of listed buildings (you may, like me, up that figure by 5% if you wish), and it’s about time it was treated with a bit of respect.

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Responses

  1. Re: Ball six… well said. T20 has it’s qualities but the day after day twists and turns in the longer format are just something uniquely challenging and appealing.


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