Posted by: tootingtrumpet | August 13, 2018

The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket – 13 August 2018

Ball One – Red Rose withers, then blooms

After six weeks of sixes, the Vitality Blast enters its last rounds of matches this week. Lancashire have just completed a busy one, starting with a deflating defeat to table-topping Durham, Liam Trevaskis making a name for himself conceding just two off a heart-stopping last over, as Lanky sought the six runs they needed for the win. To their credit, and without Liam Livingstone, their injured skipper, Lancashire bounced back to beat Durham at the end of the week, having despatched Yorkshire and The Birmingham Bears Warwickshire in between. One of the players responsible for the Red Rose charge is teenage left-arm wrist spinner, Zahir Khan, who has taken six wickets at an average of 17 and a strike rate 7.1 since coming into the side. The Afghan is forming a deadly duo with right arm wrist spinner, Matt Parkinson, whose 18 wickets have come at 19.4 and 7.8. Lancashire’s fragile batting, far too dependent on the ultra consistent Alex Davies, may yet stall their progress, but if the tweakers get any kind of score to bowl behind, at least it’ll be fun!

Ball Two – Moores the merrier, as Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire enter decisive week

With Worcestershire also guaranteed a top four slot, the last quarter-final place in the North Group lies between Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire, who play at Headingley this week in what may prove to be a play-off. Notts will start as favourites having beaten the Tykes at Trent Bridge last week, their 212, scored off a depleted Yorkshire attack, proving too many. Tom Moores’ 80 not out anchored the innings in a good season for the wicketkeeper-batsman, in fact, in a good season overall for wicketkeeper-batsmen (though not all are donning the gauntlets in the field). It’s easy to forget that Moores is still only 21, perhaps because he garnered more press coverage than other youngsters since his father is ex-England coach, Peter Moores. It’s never easy to follow in the footsteps of a famous parent, but Stuart Broad and Jonny Bairstow are doing okay just now, and David (son of Peter) Willey will be making plans for that potential showdown.

Ball Three – Corey scores for Somerset

A hat-trick of wins saw Somerset sail clear at the top of the South Group, securing their quarter-final berth. The big Kiwi bruiser, Corey Anderson, proved instrumental in those victories, even if he is not bowling these days. Across those three matches, Anderson (it’s a good week to have that surname) made 150 runs off 78 balls, striking 6 fours and 12 sixes. Usually coming in around the halfway mark and certainly after the powerplay overs, that’s the kind of hitting that lifts a target beyond opponent’s batting capacity or re-invigorates a stalling chase. Anderson will never be a pretty player to watch, but few are more powerful.

Ball Four – Cockbain crows after miraculous knock

In a productive week for the West Country clubs, Gloucestershire joined Somerset in the quarters with two wins and a washout. They racked up a remarkable 242-4 against the increasingly ragged Middlesex, Ian Cockbain’s 123 off 61 the standout performance. Cockbain (at this point I’m obliged to write that I played against his grandfather, the formidable Big Ronnie Cockbain of Bootle CC) is exactly the kind of journeyman pro for whom it occasionally clicks and a glorious day ensues – and county cricket’s many followers, no matter their personal allegiances, always crack a wry smile when it does. Much can happen between now and Finals Day on 15 September, but I do hope some journeymen make it to Edgbaston and that short term overseas players and loan deals do not crowd them out. There ought to be a rule forbidding such sharp practice, but who knows?

Ball Five – Can Joe Denly find a home in England’s squad for Sri Lanka?

The other two spots in the knockout stage rest between Kent, Glamorgan, Surrey and Sussex, all of whom will be praying for a bit of more luck with the weather this week compared to last. Kent have the most points of the quartet and the momentum, such as it is, after a win over whipping boys Middlesex at Beckenham.  Joe Denly underlined his all-rounder status again, having been taken for a predictable 13 in the first over of the match by Paul Stirling,  he returned to take 3-12 in the remaining three overs of his allocation, not conceding a boundary on a bijou ground. England have five ODIs and a T20 coming up in Sri Lanka and could do a lot worse than having another look at a man who last played for England as a pure batsman nine years ago. The legspinner’s T20 record in 2018 reads 16 wickets at 15.1 and a strike rate of 7.7 and, in 50 overs cricket, 14 wickets at 30.8 and 5.9 – it speaks of a man reborn at 32 years of age.

Ball Six – Two batches of almost 36 overs – two very different games

What is this “cricket” of which you speak?

I was lucky enough to be at Lord’s for the Test match on Friday and witnessed 35.2 overs in which India crept to 107 all out, failing to deal with the swing and seam England’s bowlers were able to generate at will. Too often, bats were half-closed as heads moved outside the line of the ball, the better to flick it into the legside for runs – that it was hard enough to hit the ball with the full face did not deter such ill-judged “strokes”. Before I left HQ, I watched a bit of televised T20 as Glamorgan and Hampshire played 35.5 overs, in which 306 runs were scored for the loss of the same number of wickets I has seen fall at Lord’s. The legside play in Cardiff was more successful, the bowling less skilled and the batting more confident. That said, nobody arriving from Mars that day would have claimed that they were watching the same game, so different was, well, everything. But is this stark (and growing) difference in cricket’s formats a strength to be celebrated or a weakness to be feared?

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Responses

  1. Any thoughts on Lanky stockpiling left arm spinners? An Afghan and a Scot recruited in last couple of weeks, while Lanky have also won the 2nd XI 20/20 competition including a promising leftie Tom Hartley from Ormskirk. I read somewhere Kerrigan is concentrating more on coaching, sadly, he never recovered from that Oval disaster and Parry seems to have slipped down the pecking order.

  2. Romaines reached an unromantic fifty in the fifty-sixth over (see below)

    Dear Gary Naylor,

    Thank you for your writing and commentary.

    When will you be back at the Guerilla stand?

    That Big Ronnie Cockbain sounds like a tough nut.

    Good on you for championing the journeyman professional.

    My openers in a journeyman’s XI: Stovold and Romaines of Gloucestershire. Yours? Just for fun, can we say that both openers have to be from the same county?

    Best wishes

    Mark Aldridge

    See: https://archive.org/stream/NewsUK1984UKEnglish/Jun%2026%201984%2C%20The%20Times%2C%20%2361867%2C%20UK%20%28en%29_djvu.txt

    • Back for Guerilla on Monday with any luck.

      Paul Romaines enjoyed one of my favourite nicknames – Human.

      Andrew Kennedy and Mark Chilton?


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