Posted by: tootingtrumpet | May 13, 2019

The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket – 13 May 2019

Ball One – 50 overs and out

26 days after the first match of the Royal London One Day Cup, there’s just the final to come. Each team in the North played each other and the same was true for the South. Three counties from each group of nine qualified for the knockout stage, which kept plenty of counties in the hunt and there was a real benefit from topping the group with a guaranteed home semi-final, with the Home of Cricket to make an occasion of the final. It must have been tough for the players, playing and travelling day-in, day-out, but they’re athletes on year long contracts and they should be able to cope – to be fair, most do. For fans, the narrative was easy to follow with neither breaks nor other formats butting in to distract attention. All the RLODC needs is a bit of marketing and a bit of trust – and a future.

Ball Two – Somerset’s tale of the tail

I remarked in an earlier column about the strength of Somerset’s late order batting and that asset proved critical in taking them to consecutive scores of 337, enough to overwhelm Worcestershire in the first quarter final and then Nottinghamshire in the semi, the winning margins well over 100 runs in each case. Roelof van der Merwe and the Overton twins reached 337 from 264-6 and 252-6, the three bowlers all dangerous boundary hitters at the death. In the final, Somerset will look to set a target again and will not be phased by the loss of middle order wickets.

Ball Three – Slow bowling speeds Somerset to Lord’s

Somerset have a bit of pace up top, but chases of 300 or more required batting sides to do more in the middle overs than quietly manoeuvre the ball into gaps and despatch the bad ball to the fence. Once the pace on the ball has to come from the batsman, the slow bowlers are in business, bat speed adding risk for all but the most accomplished of white ball players. The part-time legspin of Azhar Ali (what a useful thing it is to have a halfway competent wrist spinner in the top six of the order) saw off half the Worcestershire line-up, while van der Merwe’s three wickets helped send Notts from 125-2 in the 21st over to 156-6 in the 30th.

Ball Four – James Harris a centurion at last

In the Lord’s quarter-final, Lancashire had to win the match twice, keeping their cool after James Harris and John Simpson went on that bittersweet journey from “At least they’re making a game of it” to “This is more interesting than I expected” to “I think they might just do it you know” to “Ah, well it was good while it lasted.” Incredibly, it was Harris’s first century in senior cricket and few would have suggested it would have taken so long for him to register the mark in his days as a teenage prodigy at Glamorgan. Even more incredibly, Harris is still only 28! Few things in cricket would give me more pleasure in 2019 than to see Harris go on to realise his tremendous potential at long last.

Ball Five – Lancashire’s Titanic bowling resources no match for Berg

Lancashire may have seen off one bowler who bats in Harris, but, in the semi-final, they ran into another in Hampshire’s unsung veteran, bustling Gareth Berg. Unlike Somerset’s late order that runs something like 7, 8, 9, 11, Lancashire’s runs 11, 11, 11, 11 and Berg simply barged through the door that Mason Crane had opened to send the visitors from 231-5 to 241 all out. Even Lancashire’s splendid attack, with the excellent Saqib Mahmood, supported by England men Jimmy Anderson and Graham Onions and then the phalanx of spinners, had too much to do, with a partnership of 122 between James Vince and Rilee Rossouw allowing the other batsmen to chip in with cameos. And who was there at the end? Why that man Berg of course.

Scott Boswell – in the semi-final, his wickets were Michael Atherton, Neil Fairbrother, Andrew Flintoff and Graham Lloyd

Ball Six – Farewell to a much loved friend

So it’s Somerset vs Hampshire at Lord’s on Saturday for the last ever (proper) long form one day county cup. The old Gillette Cup was once the FA Cup of cricket and has arguably fallen even further than its winter counterpart in the public’s consciousness, but the 60, 55 and now 50 overs competition holds a similar place in old school fans’ hearts. Oh my David Hughes, my Mark Ramprakash, my Scott Boswell of summers past.


  1. Halfway competent he is, and RVDM is also very handy – though more than a ‘darter’ than a ‘spinner’ – but the one thing that mystifies many Somerset fans is why, given the embarrassment of twirling riches down at Taunton, one of our other frontline slow men do not feature in this format. Leach hasn’t appeared at all, extraordinary really given the regard he has, and now Dom Bess has left for Yorkshire on loan due to lack of playing time…..too early to compare this with Buttler’s departure, and the circumstances are not the same, but Somerset really need to be looking after their assets.

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