Posted by: tootingtrumpet | July 24, 2022

The Final Over Of The Week In County Cricket – 25 July 2022

Surrey and Hampshire still at loggerheads in Championship

Superb competitive matches and sensational records marked a splendid week of county cricket

Ball One – Jacks bowls along to game-changing 150

On London’s hottest day, in front of a disappointing crowd as it was neither dangerous nor uncomfortable if due precautions were taken, Surrey’s match against Essex started with ebbs and flows and continued so over all four days.

Dan Worrall and Kemar Roach bowled with great control and just the right amount of movement to threaten both edges of the bat, but you just had the feeling that Adam Rossington and Simon Harmer were the right men to come in at 91-6 with the sun at its most fierce. The former made 100 and the latter 50 in a stand full of nous and game was very much on.

Almost exactly 24 hours later, Surrey were in similar straits and were rescued by Will Jacks, who used less nous and more belligerence in getting his side initially into the game, then to parity and finally on to a lead of 42, the all-rounder’s 150 not out one of the innings of the year.

Five more wickets for Dan Worrall left Surrey with 161 to get, which any cricket writer is contractually obliged to describe as ‘potentially awkward’. But local lads, Rory Burns, Ryan Patel, Tom Lawes and Ollie Pope (aided by imports, Hashim Amla and Jamie Overton) saw the leaders home in a splendid game of two innings cricket. Surrey stay top by 14 points, finding a way out of a tough situation yet again.

Ball Two – Abbott secures redemption for errant fielders

Hampshire are still snapping at their heels after a thrills and spills final day at Cheltenham.

With thunder forecast to be in the air and butter on their fingers, Hampshire were slowed down by Miles Hammond, on his way to a career-best 169 and Ryan Higgins, a classy man for Gloucestershire to be hiding at number seven. But Kyle Abbott, the old pro, knew that he had to seize the game after catches had been dropped, and his hat-trick helped reduce the home side from 315-5 to 337 all out.

Higgins got in the game again pocketing three wickets, but Hampshire, with more of an eye on their weather apps than the ball, got the 82 they needed, four down, in ten frenetic overs. Hampshire have the most wins in either division and this match showed why.

Ball Three – Washington capitalises on opportunities with bat and ball

Lancashire picked themselves up off the canvas after their last ball knockout in the Blast final and fashioned a superb win at Wantage Road to keep their Championship hopes alive.

After new signing, Washington Sundar, had shown no rustiness in taking five wickets to bowl out Northamptonshire for 235, Jack White got a tune out of the pitch with five of his own and spirits can’t have been high, Lanky conceding a first innings deficit of over 100.

But Tom Bailey and New Zealander, Will Williams, know that you just have to get on with things and they shared nine wickets to give their batters 278 to chase for the win, the highest score of the match.

Someone had to anchor the innings and, for four hours, Josh Bohannon did just that from number three, putting a flat season behind him with a super century when it mattered.

The Red Rose still required 69 runs when Sundar joined nightwatchman-doing-overtime, Williams, at the crease, each with a fivefer already under their belts. But, as England fans know, the young Indian spinner is a very classy operator with the bat and the two imports got their team across the line for a victory that will go some way to banishing memories of late night chaos in Birmingham last Saturday .

Ball Four – Bears looking forward to hibernation?

Kent and Warwickshire had just two wins between them as they faced off at Edgbaston – trophies in 2021 had turned to trauma in 2022.

When Oliver Hannon-Dalby knocked over half the visitors’ batting in his opening spell, it might have been easy to say “Here we go again” and subside to another defeat. But Indian pacer, Navdeep Saini, was on debut and so carried none of that baggage and his fivefer held the deficit to 60.

Joe Denly brought a bit of his Test class to the crease with 141 spread out over almost six hours, finding an accomplice in Jordan Cox, who took his match aggregate to 127 runs with a useful knock, affording Sam Billings the luxury of a declaration late on day three. Only Dom Sibley and a bit of late order biffing from Harry Brookes provided any kind of resistance and Kent had the points to leapfrog their opponents in the table.

Ball Five – I do declare! (But maybe too late)

In a summer of big partnerships, Haseeb Hameed and Ben Duckett (25 and 27 years of age if the selectors need a nudge), put on 402 for Nottinghamshire’s second wicket, 393 of them on the first day. The question for Steve Mullaney as day two dawned was how best to plot a route to a win with all that credit in the bank?

On a flat pitch and with this season’s batch of cricket balls so well behaved they could have been taught by Miss Jean Brodie, captains may need a little more imagination than the old school plan of batting the opposition out of the match then enforcing the follow-on. But does 618-8 declared offer any other choice? Would 513-7 (when Hameed was dismissed) have been enough? Not to insure against the defeat, but maybe to enhance the chance of a win after a couple of hours rest between innings for the bowlers?

As it turned out, Mullaney did ask Derbyshire to bat again, but was forced to keep his trump cards, Luke Fletcher and James Pattinson, largely in his hand, the two seamers bowling only 24 of 97 second innings overs between them (on the back of 49 first time round) and no wickets either.

A draw was the product of over four hours resistance from openers Harry Came and Luis Reece, dogged determination from the middle order and maybe, just maybe, an overly cautious approach to shaping the match. Notts do stay top of Division Two, their advantage still a handy 15 points.

Ball Six – Playing to win

I’m as guilty of loving a cricket stat as the next fan (here’s a confession), but some of the magic has gone these days? Is it yet another case of getting older with the inevitable accretion of so many amazing things that they cease to be amazing? Is it the paradoxical development of the increasing pleasure one finds oneself taking in the bland, the predictable, the comforting – possibly because it’s still there? Is it the sledgehammer of ever more esoteric information that clouds the peak in a mist of detail? A biscuit to anyone who can find the tiniest possible record rewritten by this stand.

Sam Northeast’s 410 not out is remarkable, a record-breaker to set Roy Castle’s toes tapping and an achievement for the ages. Congratulations are in order to him – a player whose talent far outstrips many who have received international recognition – and to Chris Cooke, who had plenty of fun at the other end in the Keith Piper role.

But did you, like me, inwardly cheer at lunch on Saturday when David Lloyd decided that he had enough and that there was a cricket match to be won? 30 years ago, I’d have been disappointed, robbed of the prospect of seeing 502 on a scoreboard, but these days, I was pleased that a captain saw through the hype and did what was best for the team and best for the game. Well played Sam Northeast; well played Chris Cooke and well played David Lloyd, whose decision yielded the win that was his team’s objective when they set out three days earlier – and is the point of playing the professional game after all.


Responses

  1. With you 110% on Ball Six, Gary.

    And it’s been brilliant to read and watch all the interviews with Sam, Cookie and Matt M since the end of the match.

    The club has to be bigger than individual records.

  2. I’d disagree about the ‘neither dangerous or uncomfortable’ at the oval, having spent a short while on the bus I’d normally take to get there it was *deeply* uncomfortable – maybe it was better at the ground!

    But in more optimistic news they had more than 50k viewers on the *excellent* YouTube streams for days two and three. (seriously, the Surrey stream is at least equivalent to early 90s BBC coverage)

    • Buses are always uncomfortable! But there was shade available and water, hats and sunscreen is sensible.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: