Posted by: tootingtrumpet | September 24, 2018

The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket – 24 September 2018

Ball One – Clarke signs on the dotted line

Worcestershire’s relegation – as much expected as their Twenty20 Cup win last week was unexpected – was sealed with an abject defeat by 2017 Champions, Essex. It was the Jamie Porter / Simon Harmer double act (that did so much in that glorious season) making the difference, as Porter picked up 11 wickets and Harmer five, the Worcestershire batting failing twice, the margin an innings and 129 runs. News that Joe Clarke, top score in both innings in this match, a local(ish) lad and leading run-getter for the club in both the Championship and the Twenty20 Cup, is off to Nottinghamshire for 2019 will hardly help the county’s cause. If the salary cap allows Nottinghamshire to sign all these players (Ben Duckett, Ben Slater and Zak Chappell have also recently gone to Trent Bridge) perhaps its operation needs a review?

Ball Two – Donald doesn’t duck his responsibilities

Yorkshire’s eight points from their game in hand, a draw against Hampshire, sent them 23 points above their Roses rivals, whose last hope to avoid the drop is a highly unlikely 20 points swing against now sixth placed Nottinghamshire – stranger things have happened, but not many. One of the joys of football, back before it all got grimly tribal and the impact of luck was minimised by armies of substitutes, was the chance of seeing an outfield player don an ill-fitting green jersey, oversized gloves and step between the posts, the named goalkeeper having gone off injured. Such was the scene’s comic potential that one didn’t even mind it if it were one’s own team so afflicted. But a substitute wicketkeeper favours tragedy over comedy, and so it proved at Headingley, where Aneurin Donald, the new boy presumably handed the gloves and told to get on with it as the senior pros stared at their feet, had a torrid time after replacing Tom Alsop.

Glamorgan’s motley crew arrive for their match against Kent

Ball Three – Glamorgan can’t cope with Kent

It must have particularly pleasing for Kent, on the brink of promotion, to see the Glamorgan team coach pull into the car park, knowing that the conveyance usually brings plenty of points as well as cricketers.. And so it proved, as the Welshmen were despatched back down the M4 by an innings and 172 runs, with the hosts looking forward to matches against Surrey, Essex and the like in 2019. Only the relatively inexperienced Jack Murphy (102 runs for once out) emerged with any credit from a side that failed to cope with Matt Henry’s pace, Darren Stevens’, well, darrenstevensness and Zak Crawley’s runs. It’ll be different next year, but Kent fans can enjoy a title decider this week knowing that the season’s objective is already in the bag.

Ball Four – Trott off at Edgbaston, so young batsmen must raise a gallop

That de facto play-off comes courtesy of a draw against Sussex at Hove, in which Warwickshire’s top order distinguished themselves with a barrage of runs. closing their second innings on 381-3, having been 421-4 at one point in the first dig. How the Bears will go in Division One in 2019 may well depend on replacing the retiring Jonathan Trott’s reliable runs at Number Three and whether the old guard: Ian Bell (36); Tim Ambrose (35); Chris Wright (33); and Jeetan Patel (38) can support the younger players back in the top flight. It’ll be a big test for the likes of Dominic Sibley, Will Rhodes and Sam Hain, who have a bit to prove if they are to fulfil their considerable potential.

Ball Five – Thank God it wasn’t this week!

The penultimate match of the Durham’s season got off to an unremarkable start. Foregoing the toss, Paul Collingwood invited the home side to bat and Leicestershire compiled 321 all out, the top ten making double figures, but (perhaps ominously) nobody bettering Ateeq Javid’s 58. In less than two sessions’ playing time, the match was done, the visitors dismissed for 61 and 66, both scores lower than their previous worst, that 21 year-old record now expunged from the books. As Mohammad Abbas had shown in the Lord’s Test back in May, if there’s a bit in it, the magic of Pakistani fingers and wrist can find it, 10-52 his reward for his craft. But at least it wasn’t this week, the occasion of the valedictory match for Paul Collingwood, whose 23 seasons at Durham have seen plenty of thick and thin and no little amount of blood. sweat and tears expended in the cause. He deserves the grandest of sendoffs on home territory against Middlesex – so let’s hope his batsmen have got the worst of their form out of their system and use their bats for more than just the thoroughly deserved honour guard Colly will undoubtedly receive.

Ball Six – Having blown away opponents in nine matches, Surrey are blown away in tenth

“Points: Surrey 13, Somerset 6”. Really? Not “Points: Surrey 24, Somerset 0”? Okay, it doesn’t really matter, with Surrey having clinched the Pennant last week, but does that distribution of the spoils strike you as odd? It’s the home club’s obligation to provide a playable surface for the match and, whether it be the visitors who were 174 ahead with seven wickets to take (as was the case at Taunton) or the home team so well placed, surely the match should be forfeited? It has hardly been plain sailing for Somerset’s groundstaff this season and while Chief Executive, Andrew Cornish, may choose to hide behind the phrase “Act of God”, others may prefer to say “Should (indeed must) do better”. Late September storms in the west of England may or may not be conjured by a deity, but they’re reasonably foreseeable and adequate provision should be made.

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