Posted by: tootingtrumpet | May 26, 2019

The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket – 26 May 2019

Ball One – Is Ciderabad bad or good for the game?

Somerset and Hampshire both won this week to continue their Manchester City / Liverpool duel at the top of Division One, their six wins two more than the other six counties have mustered in total. Warwickshire were the latest victims at Taunton, 49 runs the margin in another low scoring match. The home side have now won two home matches (the other was against Kent) in which only one of their batsmen has crossed 50 (George Bartlett) and no team has survived more than 75 overs. Though the other Taunton match (vs Surrey) did not follow the trend, the balance between bat and ball will be closely scrutinised when Liverpool Hampshire visit at the end of June.

Hampshire take the field at Newport

Ball Two – Horror show for Notts as Hampshire prove too hot to handle

Nottinghamshire’s trip to the Isle of Wight went about as well as Edward Woodward’s trip to Summerisle, the visitors burned by 244 runs. Things were not going too badly when Luke Fletcher and Stuart Broad knocked over Hampshire’s openers with the lead a manageable 80, but Ajinkya Rahane and Sam Northeast got to work with the wicker and their partnership of 257 left the door open for Fidel Edwards, Kyle Abbott and Keith Barker to push Notts inside. Steve Mullaney’s men have just one draw to show from four matches – and plenty of firefighting to be done – Hampshire stay second.

Ball Three – Dickson fails to provide photo finish as Kent cling on

Kent held out for 113 overs at Beckenham to deny Surrey victory in exactly the kind of match that produced the wins that led to the Londoners’ procession to the pennant last season. Perhaps things would have been different had Sam Curran (80 with the bat and 3-54 in Kent’s first innings) not been indisposed for much of the fourth day, hamstrung by a hamstring, his only victim the nightwatchman, Adam Riley. It was Kent’s opener, Sean Dickson, who caught the eye, his knocks of 128 and 91 ending a lean spell to throw his name into a crowded field of potential Ashes partners for the opposing skipper, Rory Burns, who could do with a few runs himself over the next couple of months just to be sure.

Ball Four – Lancashire’s promotion bid bowling along nicely

Lancashire made it three out of three to go top of Division Two, Worcestershire the latest victims of the Red Rose’s superlative bowling resources. Dane Vilas asks Jimmy Anderson which end he wants and then has a chat with the two top wicket takers in last year’s Division One, Graham Onions and Tom Bailey, to see who will open with England’s record wicket-taker and who will bowl first change. With Anderson and Onions both 36 now, they need a bit of back-up, so up steps Richard Gleeson, a man with three fiverfers in his last four innings. Vilas won’t have such riches for every match this season, but he has the highly rated Saqib Mahmood and Matt Parkinson waiting in the wings, so he can hardly complain.

Ball Five – Somerset win!

They may be the two best sides this season, but, on the day, one was a lot better than the other. Hampshire, their ranks depleted by England calls, won the toss, lost a couple of quick wickets to Josh Davey, and then kept losing wickets, the only partnership to cross 50 that between James Fuller and Mason Crane – and they have other jobs to do. 245 is a “keep your heads” target and once three figures were posted without the openers being separated, it was a cruise. James Hildreth scored the winning runs, a first trophy for Somerset since 2005 (ooh omens…) and a popular result around the country. Did Hildreth pause for a moment and think of England playing a warm-up at whatever the Rose Bowl is called this week? Had the dice fallen differently a few years ago, he might have been there instead. But I suggest that he might be very happy to have been at Lord’s.

Ball Six – Missing you already…

If it was an underwhelming Royal London One Day Cup Final, the last domestic front ranking 50 overs competition made a good bid to be resurrected at the earliest opportunity. Good weather, a clear narrative and some bold cricket gave cricket fans a compact tournament that, ironically, solved a lot of longstanding scheduling problems and tapped into England’s ultra-positive approach to the format. Other sports would give much to have what cricket is tossing aside.

Batsman of the Tournament? Tom Banton, Somerset’s 20 year old wicketkeeper-batsman, whose scores in the knockout matches read 112, 59 and 69 in yesterday’s final. Not every month in his career will be like May 2019, but he should enjoy it now.

Bowler of the Tournament? Hampshire’s Liam Dawson is the kind of cricketer who does what’s asked of him, applying his skills to any situation, knowing that others may have more talent, but do they want it more? His 18 wickets at the 20th century economy rate of 4.1 was enough to bag him a spot in the England World Cup squad – Hampshire certainly missed him in the final.

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