Posted by: tootingtrumpet | June 16, 2019

The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket – 16 June 2019

We’ll have another look at 2.30 lads

Ball One – Somerset set for a summer of success?

Somerset found a way to win – yet again. With two days rained off, wickets needed to be taken, so Tom Abell tossed the ball to the player of the (half) season, Lewis Gregory and told him to do what he does better than anyone else just now – make something happen. 6-32 saw Kent whistled out in 41 first innings overs and 5-21 sent them back to the hutch for a second time, just 26 overs required. With Tom Banton batting two and a half hours for his 63, the match was wrapped up by ten wickets and Somerset’s lead at the top of Division One stretched to 26 points. Oh, and this match was at played at Canterbury.

Ball Two – More from Morne Morkel

Surrey couldn’t emulate their heirs apparent with a first win of the season, but the 11 points they squeezed out of a sodden Guildford ground lifted them to a scarcely believable fifth place in the table. Though some of the batters will be grateful for some time in the middle, it’s Morne Morkel’s 4-43 that will please Rory Burns the most. Morkel was the cutting edge last season, taking 59 wickets at 14, but 2019 has seen things work out a little differently for the big quick. Prior to last week, he was paying twice the price for each wicket, still handy, but not table-topping form. Morkel is a big unit and nearly 35, so perhaps it takes a little longer these days to locate that rhythm all bowlers need.

Ball Three – Good for Godleman

It’s not often that you travel to Wales and dodge the showers better than anyone else, but Derbyshire did. That said, with just 56 overs possible on the fourth day, Glamorgan batted out a comfortable draw to go second in the table. The match was notable for a career high score (227) by Derbyshire skipper, Billy Godleman. A one time golden boy, Godleman has never realised that potential, but, still only 30, he has time to come again and, captain at one of the lower profile counties, he might be in the exactly right place to do so.

Ball Four – Raine at Durham

Anyone who has played the game knows the feeling. You’ve got the oppo seven down for tuppence with just the bowlers left to shoot out, and then it’s feet up, a full glass and watch the openers knock ’em off (or get a lead). Or not. Northamptonshire had a dose of that in basement battle at Chester-le-Street, the home side floundering on 81-7 and thoughts turning to a big lead. Cue the very handy Ben Raine (surely a tad low at 8) and Brydon Carse, who, like so many South African seamers down the years, knows which end of the bat to hold. They weren’t parted for 57 overs, adding 144 runs for the eight wicket. Who said Division Two was soft?

Ball Five – Rainy days and ready data

The bonus points system is a necessary evil in a long season played on an island in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean. But cricket is embracing data analysis like never before, as sample spaces expand and computers can tell you how many deliveries, short of a length and outside off stump, at 84mph+, have been gloriously driven / wastefully wafted at, by Moeen Ali. So how often does a batting side fail to win over the full four days if the scorecard reads 98 all out, 110-3? That was where the match was left when the final day was washed out at Worcester, Lancashire leading, with power to add. The points? Worcestershire 6, Lancashire 8. A two points advantage may reflect what the teams have achieved, but does it reflect the balance of the match? Time for the Championship’s very own Duckworth-Lewis-Stern I feel.

Ball Six – Be like Mike

I was reminded this week of the much missed American polymath, Mike Marqusee, who wrote this little aperçu in “Anyone But England”, “We cannot return to a pristine cricket which never existed. Instead, we should see in the game’s inclusive premises, its autochthonous open-endedness, a rich realm of human possibility – a realm in which even England can find a place.” The rain makes the grass that makes the pitches that makes the game – a game rooted in its specific soils, its atmospherics and its light (and, in consequence, autochthonous). As the kids say, “True dat” – but so frustrating.

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