Posted by: tootingtrumpet | July 17, 2019

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

Ball One – Yorkshire plunder runs against weakened Somerset attack

Somerset ran into three Yorkshire centurions, as Gary Ballance, Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Harry Brook tucked into an attack shorn of Lewis Gregory and Jack Leach. All credit to the Tykes, for whom Keshav Maharaj picked up ten wickets, conceding just above two an over, finding support from Matt Fisher, still only 21, who picked up four wickets to back up a decent performance last week at Chelmsford. Perhaps England Lions selectors should be restricted to one player per county though – slicing away both Gregory’s 44 wickets at 14 and Leach’s 29 at 19 this season seems a little unfair on Tom Abell.

Ball Two – No Sibley, no Sam, so Simon and Siddle supreme

Essex got the other end of the selectors’ red pen, surely happy to lose Jamie Porter given that he was on the same coach to Canterbury as Dominic Sibley and Sam Hain, the only two Warwickshire batsmen with over 125 runs at an average above 30 in 2019. Peter Siddle helped himself to a fivefer first time round, while Simon Harmer – imparting plenty of overspin to his off breaks – finished off the match with 6-75, as Warwickshire’s callow batting predictably failed to deal with experience and class. Olly Stone finished with match figures of 2-141, but he bowled very fast indeed, making set batsmen jump and twitch. Had Test level players edged or gloved a few others missed, he could easily have had six or seven wickets. Nevertheless, Essex go top.

Ball Three – Watch the Virdi

Nottinghamshire have tried everything to force a win in 2019 (except playing consistently good cricket) so, with Ravichandran Ashwin in their ranks for the rest of the season, it may not have been a huge surprise to see a surface conducive to spin bowling served up at the home of Rice and Hadlee. But Surrey dug in with the bat mustering contributions pretty much right through the order, then played an ace card of their own. Amar Virdi is never going to excel at the beep test (I’m not sure Ashwin does either) but the man who turns 21 this week can bowl, his 14 wickets ample demonstration thereof, securing the win for the visitors. After a difficult first half of the season, Virdi seized his chance when it came – usually the sign of a player going places.

Ball Four – Parkinson walks the walk as Sussex fail again

Lancashire put some daylight between themselves and their pursuers at the top of Division Two smashing a Sussex side who are sinking like a pebble dropped off Brighton pier. Almost half of Sussex’s runs off the bat came from Delray Rawlins’s maiden century and some biffing from David Wiese down the order – not really good enough from a side with an experienced top five. Leg spinner, Matt Parkinson, hitherto as out of favour as Amar Virdi, was chief destroyer with a ten-fer, but Glenn Maxwell (yes, that Glenn Maxwell) picked up useful runs and wickets too. as the Red Rose bloomed again.

Police are looking for men known locally as Dawid, Sam and Toby

Ball Five – Middlesex put Welsh dragon to the seax

Middlesex are the form side in Division Two, class players running into nick at the same time, as the Londoners hammered second placed Glamorgan by over 250 runs. England Test men Dawid Malan and Sam Robson both scored big centuries and Toby Roland-Jones (who surely should have been playing for England Lions this week instead of Sam Curran) bagged nine wickets and more handy runs down the order. Middlesex are fifth in a very tight division, but only two points off a promotion spot – somebody is going to have to play very well to deny them that come September.

Ball Six – Anyone looking forward to a break from the County Championship?

So that’s it for the County Championship until a round in mid-August and then the September denouement. Incredibly, the ECB have something even more disrespectful lined up for next season, when the unloved “The Hundred” is foist upon a baffled public. The Champo can trace to its roots back to the early 18th century and, were it hanging on a wall or standing facing a square in a city centre, would be protected from such vandalism. Times change and all that, but there are tremendous scraps going on in both divisions and someone should really tell the powers that be that they can’t simply march the audience out into the street for a few weeks, before inviting them back in for the final act. Sooner or later, they’ll just go somewhere else.


  1. Regarding ball Six. BBC Essex’s commentators said that this has been the longest period of uninterrupted championship matches played since 1962.

    I think this season’s structure and scheduling has been the best in living memory. We’re about to have England playing tests at the height of the summer and the Twenty20 Blast is about to start, with the crowds and great cricket and excitement that all brings.

    The narrative of the Summer has been allowed to play out and the blocks have also allowed the less-resourced clubs to play each tournament on their merit and give it their all. Somerset could win the treble or be denied the title by another non-test hosting county like Essex.

    Ideally this would be repeated next year and allow the game to build fans using the summer holidays to showcase cricket in its best light and build a momentum that carries on into the start of the football season.

    • I think you’re right about all that – but it does make it a wrench to have to leave the Championship at its most interesting moment!

  2. One England Lion per county as it left Somerset light against Yorkshire!? What about the four Yorkshire players in the England team on Sunday – one per county?

    • There’s no equivalence between playing for England Lions and playing for England.

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