Posted by: tootingtrumpet | May 18, 2019

The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket – 18 May 2019

Ball One – Weather taunts Somerset

Somerset lead a trio of counties at the top of Division One of the Championship, but it could have been so much better for the Cidermen. At lunch on day three, Somerset trailed Surrey by 27 runs, with three wickets in hand, one of which belonged to Lewis Gregory on the verge of a century. A combination of weather and a second three hours plus knock from Rory Burns thwarted any home chase for a third win from three. There’s a feeling abroad that this might just be Somerset’s year at long last, but one feels that they’ll need to keep Gregory (five wickets and 129* in this match) and Jack Leach (57 – 13 – 155 – 6) fit and available if they’re to break the hoodoo. The Gods (and Ed Smith) may have a say in the pennant’s destination yet.

Ball Two – Coad Red for Kent

Not sure they do “quietly” in the Broad Acres, but Yorkshire slid into second spot with an impressive “come from behind” win over Kent at Canterbury. Trailing by 86 on first innings, the Tykes needed at least one batsman and one bowler to perform at their peaks, and they got that from Gary Ballance (159) and Ben “Betsy” Coad with 6-52. Though Ballance has his champions, his England days may be over, but Coad must be shouldering his way towards the front of the queue to take the new ball when Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad finally take their sweaters one last time. Other bowlers may be more exciting or flash more often on the speedgun, but Coad has 123 first class wickets at less than 20 and doesn’t turn 26 until next year. He gets good batsmen out and that’s bowling that wins matches.

Ball Three – Will Hampshire be marooned without their bowling quartet?

Despite Dom Sibley’s century, his sixth in successive first class matches, Hampshire swept aside a lightweight looking Warwickshire XI by over 300 runs at Edgbaston to take third spot in the nascent Division One table. Five visiting bowlers shared the second innings wickets in the charge to victory, all of whom have been round the block, as an examination of their ages and first class wickets shows: Kyle Abbott (31, 384); Fidel Edwards (37, 422); Keith Barker (32, 365); Liam Dawson (29, 199) and Gareth Berg (38, 261). County cricket is a grind, so whether this nap hand of old pros can keep it up will be a challenge – they go again this week on the Isle of Wight.

Ball Four – Notts in knots

Nottinghamshire, having failed last week to get to Lord’s for next Saturday’s Royal London One Day Cup Final, took a bit of a shellacking in a low scoring game at Chelmsford. Though better sides than Steven Mullaney’s have come off second best to Jamie Porter (30.3 – 6 – 116 – 7) and Simon Harmer (39 – 14 – 80 – 8), Notts’ season is in danger of entering a tailspin that may prove hard to arrest. Given the talent at Trent Bridge, that shouldn’t really be on the agenda.

Ball Five – Pears and Roses make a pretty pair

Worcestershire and Lancashire enjoyed comfortable wins to maintain their 100% records at the top of Division Two. Durham’s Chris Rushworth did what he could to scare Joe Leach’s men with a fivefer, but teams just don’t fail to get 81 in the fourth innings do they? At Old Trafford, a brace of fivefers from 31 year-old Richard Gleeson (taking him past 100 wickets in his 25th first class match) smoothed Lancashire’s path to a ten wickets win over Northamptonshire. One (or both) of those perfect records will go, as the front runners square off in Manchester this week.

Ball Six – Wicked wickets at Lord’s?

To Lord’s for one of those May days when it was lovely in the sun but chilly in the shade, for the third day of Middlesex’s draw with Leicestershire. With much employment for the square in this World Cup year, new Head Groundsman, Karl McDermott, has his hands full taking over from the legendary Mick Hunt. For this match, he had cut a strip well over to the Tavern Stand side of the ground which (whisper it) gave the impression that the famous old ridge had risen from the dead to walk once more amongst us. Mohammad Abbas, skilful but no speedster, hit a few batsmen on the gloves and six of the last seven wickets in the match fell LBW (the other bowled) as the odd one also kept low. Things might get interesting at HQ in 2019.

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