Posted by: tootingtrumpet | April 15, 2019

The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket – 15 April 2019

Ball One – Jacks put the boot in for Somerset

Jack Leach gets all those wickets because he plays at “Ciderabad” doesn’t he? And it’s April, so why play a spinner at all? The Somerset man showed he had plenty about him playing for England in Sri Lanka, the kind of sangfroid to deal with the bad days and the ruthlessness to capitalise on the good ones (and the nous to know that each can transform into the other in the blinking of an eye). The slow left-armer’s 6-36 (supported by Jack Brooks’s 4-22) saw Nottinghamshire collapse to an ignominious innings defeat, sending the visitors to the top of the table with the division’s only 100% record. Earlier, Lewis Gregory backed up last week’s fine bowling with 6-68 in the first innings, and two products of the academy (captain, Tom Abell and George Bartlett) had cashed in with centuries. It’s a little early to be talking about whether this could, at last, be the season for Somerset… isn’t it?

Ball Two – Gary Ballance scales the heights for Yorkshire, if not for England

Another innings away win sent Yorkshire back up North nestled in second place after Hampshire were despatched at the Rose Bowl. Gary Ballance, a man seemingly destined to live in “Hick’sville”, that space reserved for players not quite good enough for international cricket, but very good indeed in the domestic game, top scored for the White Rose with a seven-hour 148, but there was a 90-odd from Joe Root and solid contributions down the order too. Liam Dawson (pitching his tent on the town limits of Hick’sville) bowled 60 overs and made 57 and 92 for the hosts but Tykes’ captain, Steve Patterson, led his bowling unit well and the wickets were shared round.

Heino enforces the follow-on

Ball Three – Heino gets a tune out of his bowlers – eventually

The perils of enforcing the follow-on were underlined again at Edgbaston, where Kent had made the most of electing to bat on a very good pitch, piling up 500+ with centuries for Zak Crawley and Ollie Robinson (whose aggregated ages don’t sum to that of team mate Darren Stevens). But Heino Kuhn’s men had over 100 overs in their legs when he asked them to go again and, despite Warwickshire being five down for less than a hundred, resistance usually comes at some point –  and it did. Tim Ambrose and paceman Henry Brookes came together when the bowlers had racked up 164 overs in their legs and they stayed for another 45. Kent’s bowlers examined their blisters somewhat ruefully while the batsmen trashed the 123 runs required for the win.

Ball Four – DW Lawrence fired up after a season wrestling with poor form

Each of Surrey’s top five contributed at least 73 runs to the cause at The Oval, but Rory Burns’ four international bowlers couldn’t get past a combination of Essex resistance and poor weather knocking overs out of the match. Though skipper Ryan ten Doeschate’s century was critical in Essex overhauling Surrey’s 395, Dan Lawrence’s 93 was important too, both for his team and himself. It’s easy to think of Lawrence as yesterday’s man, the Next Big Thing that stayed small, but he’s still only 21! If this is a sign that he is putting his miserable 2018 behind him, Essex, and maybe England, will be very happy indeed.

Ball Five – Game of Moans – from bowlers anyway

Worcestershire – Daryl Mitchell 114, Hamish Rutherford 123, Ben Cox 100*. Derbyshire – Wayne Madsen 204*, Alex Hughes 104*. Sussex – Stiaan van Zyl 101*. Glamorgan – Marnus Labuschagne 121, Billy Root 126, Kiran Carlson 111; Northamptonshire – Ricardo Vasconcelos 184, Rob Newton 105, Rob Keogh 150. Lancashire – Haseeb Hameed 117, Rob Jones 122. Can’t we just leave these pitches until Patrick Cummins and co turn up breathing fire in August?

Ball Six – England watch

If Kent’s Ollie Robinson caught the eye with the bat, Sussex’s Ollie Robinson is catching the eye with the ball (this stuff reminds me of the 80s when there seemed to be a David Smith playing for every Midlands county). England need a squad of pace bowlers ready for Test cricket in different conditions to cope with form and injuries, so any bowler who is taking wickets should not be beyond consideration. Robinson has made a strong start to 2019 with five wickets in the match against Durham, all bowled or LBW, backing up his six in the season opener against Leicestershire. In 2018, he took 74 wickets at 19 in the Champo, so he knows how to get batsmen out. At 25, he has time on his side.

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Responses

  1. Somerset top so early makes me nervous and excited in equal measure. The signing of Brooks might be a master stroke as the seamers can be rotated with a lot more confidence but for Leach to take a six-for with the ball barely turning (Clarke was bowled through the gate) speaks volumes for his control, variation and accuracy. Early season form of Abell and Bartlett is encouraging and Hildreth hasn’t even got started yet…

    • I can understand that – shades of Lanky in 2011 with Leach as Kerrigan.


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