Posted by: tootingtrumpet | May 1, 2018

The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket – 1 May 2018

Wrong all-rounder named TE Bailey, but a nice photo

Ball One – Fletcher and Ball arrow in on top spot

Nottinghamshire sit atop Division One after a second win of the season, blowing away Worcestershire by an innings at New Road. Four tall pacers proved too much for Joe Leach’s men, who surrendered their 20 wickets in just 65 overs – it might be a long season for the winless Pears. Stuart Broad and Harry Gurney did their bit,  but credit also goes to a couple of comeback kids: Luke Fletcher and Jake Ball. Fletcher spent the second half of the 2017 season wondering if he would play again after being hit hard on the head by a Sam Hain drive, filling in his rehab time doing media work, demonstrating that his reputation as a good egg is well earned. Jake Ball had been dreaming of Ashes glory, but looked intimidated and broken after a disastrous First Test in Brisbane and had but a single ODI after that on a long and difficult tour. Each got a “Michelle” in this match – and another boost to confidence.

Ball Two – Renshaw roughs up Yorkshire bowlers

Somerset sit second with two wins from two, Yorkshire vanquished after getting themselves too far behind in the game in a dismal first innings of 96 all out. The most impressive Tyke on show did not wear the White Rose (as he does not wear the three lions) – Baggy Green man Matt Renshaw. The opener has smoothly stepped into the shoes vacated by Cameron Bancroft and found his technically correct, slightly old-fashioned game ideally suited to April in Taunton (which, to be fair, probably feels like July in his birthplace, Middlesbrough). It’s an ill-wind that blows nobody any good, with Renshaw likely to reclaim his Test spot and Somerset the beneficiaries of his back-to-back centuries. As an aside, wouldn’t it be great to see Steven Smith play some county cricket this summer, perhaps using his fee to sponsor some young Afghan cricketers making their way in the game?

Ball Three – Surrey park the bus at Old Trafford

Surrey, taking their cue from the captain, Rory Burns who made 33 in nearly three hours, batted out the final day to force the draw, six down, after following on in Manchester. Lancashire’s card had a curious upside-down quality to it, with the all-rounders and bowlers-who-bat getting them up from 128-5 to 439-9, when the declaration came on the dismissal of Tom Bailey for a career-best 66. He added eight wickets in a personally impressive match, but Surrey’s young team (including two teenagers in Sam Curran and Amar Virdi and two 20 year olds in Ryan Patel and Ollie Pope – all England qualified) held out in a match in which a draw was the best they could hope for, but from which they will take the greater satisfaction.

Ball Four – Essex fail to forge ahead despite the hats

Peter Siddle showed what he thought of the Spring weather by donning a woolly hat to bowl, as just 16 wickets fell in the 180 overs possible as the elements had their say at Hampshire’s Rose Bowl. Hashim Amla and Alastair Cook – 21000 Test runs between them – both registered half centuries, while Ravi Bopara, who is still only 32, spent 50 overs making 84 not out. Essex are yet to lose in their title defence, but, with rain having ruined two of their three matches to date, they’ll be hoping for a little of the home comforts come Friday against Yorkshire.

Ball Five – Just you wait Ryan Higgins – for a second win for Gloucestershire

Things are tighter in Division Two with six of the ten teams boasting one win after three draws and a total washout this week. One of those tremendously exciting (yes, red ball cricket can be tremendously exciting) low scoring matches was poised for a fascinating final day when the rain arrived at Hove, Sussex needing four wickets and Gloucestershire 59 runs. Ryan Higgins was the pick of the bowlers, with match figures of 32 – 9 – 86 – 8 for his new county, having moved to Bristol at the end of 2017. How Middlesex must rue that decision now the luckless Toby Roland-Jones, their ace card bowler who bats, is out for the season.

Ball Six – England watch

Some numbers. 4, 24, 0 and 29. 75, 12, 6, 33 and 47. 5. 0, 82, 11 and 19. 17, 49 and 0. 2, 24 and 15. 3, 19, 8, 1 and 4. 6, 9, 0 and 12. These are the scores made this season by Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Dawid Malan, Gary Ballance, Tom Westley, Keaton Jennings, Haseeb Hameed and Ben Duckett, all of whom have played Test matches for England within the last couple of years. Who would want to be Ed Smith just now (apart from Ed Smith, obviously)?


  1. The Renshaw innings was remarkable. Century before lunch with each landmark – off the mark, fifty, hundred – reached with a six. Not so much as his natural game was suited to the conditions rather that he was able to change his style of playing completely to give Somerset the crucial advantage. In the end a victory by 118 runs – Renshaw’s contribution: 112. No other batsman dominated the bowling to that extent. Abell (batted skip) and Leaning’s were the types of gutsy, occasionally fortunate, innings one would otherwise expect.

    • I was hugely impressed with what I saw when he played for Aus. I think he’s a real class act.

  2. ‘As an aside, wouldn’t it be great to see Steven Smith play some county cricket this summer, perhaps using his fee to sponsor some young Afghan cricketers making their way in the game?’

    That would be somewhat wonderful.

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