Posted by: tootingtrumpet | July 4, 2019

The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket – 4 July 2019

Ball One – Somerset happy after hammering Hampshire

After last week’s defeat at Chelmsford, Somerset were back at Taunton and looking to re-establish winning ways. Their opponents, Hampshire, were a lesson in themselves, their strong start to the season dissipated in a recent run of draws and defeats. In such circumstances, it’s important to play positively, and, by the end of the first day, the home side had notched over 400 and taken a first Hampshire wicket. The middle order did the damage, old hand James Hildreth making a ton, while young guns Tom Banton and George Bartlett chipped in with half centuries all at strike rates above 80. Seamers Jamie Overton and Lewis Gregory shared seven first innings wickets and spinners Jack Leach and Dom Bess bagged 5-26 between them in the second dig. Result – a huge 313 runs win for Somerset and confidence restored.

Ball Two – Troubled waters at Trent Bridge

If you were to ask Essex for their ideal trip to back up the win that launched their title challenge, they would make all the right noises about “no easy games” – yadda yadda yadda – but be thinking “Trent Bridge please”. And so it proved, Nottinghamshire’s desperate season continuing with an innings and plenty defeat to Ryan ten Doeschate’s men. It was a classic of its kind. Lose the toss and bowl in good batting conditions, but shoot out the oppo for 200 or so and knock a few of them off after tea. Bat all day (and a bit more) to take the defeat out of the equation, and then use scoreboard pressure to prey on fragile confidence – and run through the batting again. Nick Browne’s seven an a half hour 163 and Ravi Bopara’s 135 underpinned the strategy, while the bowlers shared the spoils, showing great patience when needed, that invaluable experience from the title win of 2017 once more on show.

Ball Three – Olivier’s curtain call brings the house down at Scarborough

Match Of The Week came, perhaps unsurprisingly, at sunny Scarborough, where the home crowd enjoyed a thrilling late win over Surrey, the points secured with minutes to spare. Duanne Olivier was the man who led the celebrations, inducing an edge from Yorkshireman, Gareth Batty, to end the Londoners’ resistance and put the White Rose in pole position to be “Best of the Rest”. It was a hard fought win for the home side, for whom Will Fraine made a century and the two South African bowlers, Keshav Maharaj and Olivier shared half the visitors’ wickets. Surrey will rue the fact that Yorkshire’s last four wickets added over a hundred runs in each innings and might wonder how four international bowlers let that happen.

Ball Four – The Batters’ Tale at Canterbury

Canterbury hosted Definitely Not Match Of The Week, the home side and Warwickshire batting each other to a standstill as over 360 overs produced just seven wickets for each side. There were big tons for Sean Dickson and Daniel Bell-Drummond and one should commend the attitude of Will Rhodes and Dom Sibley in putting on an opening stand of 221 all the while seeing a scoreboard that showed the height of the mountain to be climbed. Sibley was at the crease for well over ten hours, which proved his ability to concentrate, if little else.

Ball Five – Lancashire and Glamorgan stay top of Division Two after draws

As in Division One, two sides look to be pulling away in Division Two, but neither could force a win in the hottest week of the season so far. Lancashire ran into Australian, Durham’s captain, Cameron Bancroft, who made 77 and 92 not out to thwart a bowling attack that looked light on spin options, Matt Parkinson otherwise engaged playing T20 for the Seconds. Another Aussie in form, Manus Labuschagne, added two more centuries to his season’s bag, but Glamorgan’s David Lloyd could have declared a little earlier, a target of 326 in 66 overs always likely to receive the dead bat from Worcestershire. It’s wins that matter in a promotion charge and, even with three teams promoted come September, it’s best to have points in the bag while the leaves are still on the trees.

Ben Sanderson at Hove

Ball Six – Third promotion spot wide open after Sussex collapse at Hove

Sussex missed the chance to bank a win at the seaside, going down to an abject 393 runs defeat at the hands of Northamptonshire. There were few signs of it on day one, with the visitors dismissed for a regulation 273, but the home side had “lost” the last session badly, Northants’ last three wickets adding 123, while both openers were shot out in the evening sunshine before double figures were posted. Ben Sanderson and Brett Hutton proceeded to stamp all over the locals’ sandcastles, with match figures of 10-55 and 7-79 respectively. All ten sides in the division could still go up, but captains will need to be bold with declarations and fields and bowlers will need to take wickets to squeeze the wins from tight matches. There’s some good cricket to come in Division Two.

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