By Harry Hill (@HarryHill96)& Mark Kidger (@MarkFromMadrid)
Where else to start in Division Two than at Tunbridge Wells, where both Kent and Warwickshire would have surely been left wondering what could have been had a period of calm with the bat occurred. In a highly dramatic day, 20 wickets fell, with only Joe Denly and latterly Jonathan Trott occupying the crease for any period of time. The spectators at the Nevill Ground would have been forgiven if caught unprepared for the mass of wickets, on a ground famous for its favour with batsmen. However, Warwickshire skipper Jeetan Patel may have found something in the pitch at the toss, by electing to bowl. That decision was vindicated early as Daniel Bell-Drummond and Sean Dickson fell early before a stabilising 51 run partnership between Heino Khun and Joe Denly. A further 51 run partnership between Denly and Darren Stevens saw Kent into lunch, before Keith Barker set about mopping up the Kent tail with the wickets of Matt Henry, Harry Podmore and Ivan Thomas. Barker himself finishing with incredible figures of 5-32 from just 13.1 overs, as Kent finished on 197 all out. Warwickshire’s innings was even more brief, thanks to 4-52 from Matt Henry and 4-26 from Harry Podmore, including 3 wickets inside the 21st over by Podmore. Warwickshire’s blushers were saved somewhat by a 54 run partnership for the tenth wicket between Jonathan Trott and Henry Brookes. After all that, there was still room for 2 overs for Kent’s 2nd innings, leaving the hosts 76 runs ahead at the close.
Next to Arundel, where in contrast with the match at Tunbridge Wells, the batsmen can rest rest easy tonight with a job well done in the south coast sun. Phil Salt and Tom Haines in particular will be delighted with their day, as both reached maiden CC hundreds, with a mesmerising 244 run partnership. Despite the tough day for the Durham bowlers, credit goes to part-time leggie, Cameron Steel for breaking the partnership, along with the wicket of Luke Wright later in the innings from his 3 overs. Ominous signs for the bowlers tomorrow as Ben Brown and Michael Burgess return unbeaten on a 75 run partnership, with Sussex on 439-5.
We move onto Leicester, where all the talk in the local pubs tonight will be about Colin Ackermann and his magnificent 151*, as Leicestershire took the upper hand on day one against Middlesex. However, despite all their rightful plaudits, only Neil Dexter and Ben Raine accompanied Ackermann for a meaningful period of time throughout the day, as six Leicestershire batsmen failed to reach 20. The ever-reliable Tim Murtagh was the pick of the Middlesex bowlers, taking 5-52 from his 23 overs, including the significant wicket of Neil Dexter. Ackermann will return in the morning with Gavin Griffiths with Leicestershire already gaining maximum batting points on 353-8, looking to push up towards 400.
Meanwhile, at Swansea, rain restricted the first day to just 46 overs, but this didn’t stop Derbyshire from picking up seven Glamorgan wickets. Tony Palladino was very effective in swinging the ball in the helpful conditions with persistent dark clouds overhead. The home faithful would have been concerned with Glamorgan stuttering at 52-5 after the key wickets of overseas star Usman Khawaja and Kiran Carlson. Chris Cooke went about rebuilding the innings adding 69 valuable runs. Palladino finished the day with 4-49 and will be eyeing a five-for in the morning, as Glamorgan finished on 175-7 a the close.
Floodlights, a pink ball and day-night – maybe better “day-twilight” – cricket arrived at Wantage Road, when two of the less fashionable and, if truth be told, less supported sides of Division 2 tried out this recent innovation designed to bring in the crowds, although the anecdotal evidence is that the fans tend to leave at the normal time of Close anyway, with the after-dinner session sparsely supported.
Up to now this season, sides have looked at Northants in the fixture list and rubbed their hands with glee at a quick sixteen points. Here though it is more a case of two “horizontal heavyweights” with a glass chin, slugging it out… in a manner of speaking. Gloucestershire’s thin squad has been stretched to breaking point by injuries and unavailability and Andrew Tye’s bowling figures at Trent Bridge yesterday will have done nothing to convince the fans that his arrival will change things. Relief may be on the way as David Payne and Liam Norwell were in the 2nd XI today and, hopefully will be available for the second half of the season. In contrast, Northants must keep plugging away because the players who, largely, served them well last season, although the locals point to an excess of batting collapses, have not become poor ones overnight. The long and the short of it was that Gloucestershire rang the changes, the most radical being to drop the vice-captain, Jack Taylor (also on duty with the 2nd XI) and played just three specialist bowlers plus an assortment of batting and bowling all-rounders. This was the sort of decision that can backfire horribly if the conditions favour the batsmen or, alternatively, one of your specialists has a poor day. Suffice it to say that Ben Duckett went out of the blocks like a scalded cat. After a relatively sedate first two overs, Matt Taylor bowled the third to Duckett, which went: 44444. One suspects that the final dot ball was the batsman showing compassion. After 16 overs it was 97-0 and the decision to insert looked catastrophic. Then Craig Miles and Kieron Noema-Barnett bowled a couple of quiet overs and, out of the blue, Matt Taylor, whose first three overs had gone for 24, induced an edge from Ben Duckett: Gareth Roderick did the necessary behind the stumps and suddenly there was a wicket-maiden and the tenor of the game had changed. In his next over, Taylor Vasconcelos for a duck – 105-2. Noema-Barnett’s seemly inoffensive dibby-dobbers induced a return catch from Wakely – 112-3. Northants fans had seen promising positions collapse like a card house often enough, but Procter and Levi added 74 and, again, Gloucestershire started to wonder how they would ever take a wicket with the softening pink ball. Again, it was Taylor who broke though. One of the fastest bowlers in the County game, if he could only add accuracy to his pace because the scorebook only seemed to register one of three things when he bowled: “4”, “.”, or “w”. Adam Rossington got a fair selection of the first two varieties of scorebook entry before adding another “w” – 209-5 and the shine was coming off that fast start. Then Higgins added Levy, who had made 63 in the mayhem. Noema-Barnett lulled Zaib into a false sense of security and trapped him LBW while Steven Crook, no mean batsmen who, at one time, was talked of as a genuine England prospect, tried to shepherd the tail. Miles took Kleinveldt as we moved to some more normal chiselling of runs by the tail and, finally, just before the New Ball was due, Higgins added Crook and, with him, Northant’s chances of scoring 300. Gloucestershire eschewed the New Ball and Higgins knocked-over Hutton to leave Northants 282ao. Taylor finished with 4-70 and Higgins, 3-52.
This left Gloucestershire a trick 13 overs to face. The cynics among the Gloucestershire fans felt that it could be getting close to the follow-on by the Close. Benny Howell and Chris Dent though batted calmly and seemed to have averted the crisis until the scheduled antepenultimate ball of the day, bowled by Crook, got through Chris Dent and trapped him LBW. Gloucestershire start the second day 25-1 and, on the morrow, we will see which of these two pugilists has the more fragile glass chin!
6/20/2018 0 Comments
By Mark Kidger (@Markfrommadrid) & Harry Hill (@Harryhill96)
The story so far:
For half of the sides, this is now the seventh round of matches – the halfway point in the season; for the other half, the sixth. Forget the wishful talk that “there is a long way to go” because there is not any longer. Somerset and Surrey, not exactly the two sides that most people had in their Championship predictions, have a game in hand, sat proudly at the top of the table, unbeaten and, by a trick of mischievous fortune, play each other in this round. At the other end of the table, one suspects that defeat for Worcestershire would, even now, almost seal their fate, although the scheduling of the Championship assures that if so, they are condemned to a slow death.
The fixtures have worked out nicely in that the top four play each other and the bottom four play each other, which will add some clarity to the top and the bottom of the table. There is though only one place to start and that is at Guildford, where top side visits the side in second. This is a 48-pointer and will also pit the finest spinners in the country against each other: an enticing prospect.
Surrey v Somerset
Surrey Squad: Burns (C), Batty, Borthwick, Clarke, De Bruyn, Dernbach, Harinath, Jacks, Morkel, Patel, Pope (WK), Stoneman, Virdi.
Somerset Squad: Abell (C), Bartlett, Bess, Byrom, Davey, Davies, Gregory, Groenewald, Hildreth, Leach, Overton, Renshaw, van der Merwe.
What a game to open the 80th Guildford Cricket Festival. The two stand-out sides of the season play each other with the leadership of the Championship at stake and the chance to go for the jugular. The winner – if there is one – will open up a significant gap at the top, with a game in hand on most of the chasing pack. Both sides have played some wonderful cricket so far this season and come into this fixture unbeaten. Surrey are missing four of their biggest stars: the two Currans, Ben Foakes and Jason Roy are all playing for England, or for the Lions, so new signing, Theunis de Bruyn, on the Surrey books for just two matches, will almost certainly debut. Somerset have no such issues and welcome back Jack Leach from injury and have Dominic Bess back now that the Tests have finished for a while. Both sides have spin-heavy squads, with Somerset including Leach, Bess and van de Merwe, while Surrey have Batty and new sensation Virdi. The spin battle between Virdi and the Somerset tweakers will be an early indication about who is likely to be in pole position to go to Sri Lanka this winter. For Surrey, a concern must be the form of Mark Stoneman: how long can they persist with him at the top of the order? He has still not reached 30 this season. Somerset’s pace attack will undoubtedly give him a searching examination while Morkel, Dernbach and Clarke will provide a searching test for the Somerset top order. A wonderful heavyweight battle is on the cards here. Somerset want that first Championship pennant in their history and will sense a wonderful opportunity here against a weakened rival to push their claim.
Essex v Nottinghamshire
Essex squad: 21 Tom Westley (C), 31 Adam Wheater (WK), 25 Ravi Bopara, 6 Varun Chopra, 1 Matt Coles, 26 Alastair Cook, 11 Simon Harmer, 28 Dan Lawrence, 19 Michael Pepper, 44 Jamie Porter, 94 Matt Quinn, 13 Neil Wagner
Nottinghamshire squad: Jake Libby, Chris Nash (c), Mark Footitt, Riki Wessels, Harry Gurney, Luke Wood, Matt Milnes, Luke Fletcher, Matt Carter, Samit Patel, Tom Moores (wkt), Ross Taylor, Billy Root.
Essex and Nottinghamshire lead the chasing pack, but with a game more played. There is a huge incentive for positive cricket as the winner would maintain a strong challenge, while a draw would probably do little for the chances of either side. Tom Westley leads Essex in the absence of the banned Ryan ten Doeschate. The hosts are challenging despite a batting line-up that has managed just six batting points in six matches: for them, the good news is that, with England engaged in an ODI series, Alastair Cook is back and Tom Westley is starting to show signs of a return to the form that brought him an England cap. Of the bowlers, Jamie Porter, with 23 wickets, is coming into the sort of form that propelled Essex to the title last season. Nottinghamshire are without Steve Mullaney, who captains the Lions in the tri-series against India A and West Indies A. Chris Nash takes over as captain and Harry Gurney returns from injury. Like Essex, Nottinghamshire have struggled for first innings runs and without their leading run scorer, will hope that other members of the side step up to replace him.
Worcestershire v Lancashire
Worcestershire squad: Mitchell, Guptill, Fell, Clarke, D’Oliveira ©, Cox (w), Barnard, Twohig, Magoffin, Morris, Brown, Whiteley
Lancashire squad: Dane Vilas (c), Tom Bailey, Shiv Chanderpaul, Jordan Clark, Steven Croft, Alex Davies, Haseeb Hameed, Keaton Jennings, Rob Jones, Toby Lester, Joe Mennie, Graham Onions, Stephen Parry
Neither side can afford to lose this match. Worcestershire have lost four of their five matches so far: a fifth defeat would surely condemn them to relegation. While a side can make up ground in the second half of the season, five defeats in the first six games is usually too much to recover from and even more so now that there are two fewer matches. The visitors, Lancashire, are only six points clear of relegation and will see this as an opportunity to put some daylight between them and other sides in the bottom half of the table. Despite some fine individual performances, life in Division One has not been kind to a Worcestershire side, who sprinted so imperiously past Nottinghamshire last season to win Division Two; in fact, these performances have even been a handicap, as Joe Clarke has been called-up by the Lions, weakening the batting, which has struggled to cope with Division One attacks. Captain Joe Leach is out for the rest of the season with a stress fracture of the back. His replacement as captain is Damian D’Oliviera, while Steve Magoffin is fit again and Martin Guptill debuts. Similarly, Lancashire lose Matt Parkinson and Liam Livingstone to the Lions, with Rob Jones and Toby Lester replacing them. Dane Vilas has been named Captain. Keaton Jennings is back, but the suspicion is that his fine run of form has slipped back a little, although he might wish to show otherwise. Similarly, Haseeb Hameed seems to be regaining his form and will hope to demonstrate it.
Hampshire v Yorkshire
Hampshire squad: Jimmy Adams (4), Lewis McManus (18), Sam Northeast (17), Rilee Rossouw (30), Tom Alsop (9), Joe Weatherley (5), Gareth Berg (13), Ryan Stevenson (47), James Vince (14) Captain, Fidel Edwards (20), Dale Steyn (2), Kyle Abbott (51), Ollie Rayner (--), Ian Holland (22
Yorkshire squad: Gary Ballance, Tim Bresnan, Harry Brook, Jack Brooks, Karl Carver, Ben Coad, Jack Leaning, Alex Lees, Adam Lyth, Steven Patterson ©, Cheteshwar Pujara, Jonny Tattersall (WK), Jordan Thompson
A day-night, pink-ball fixture, with both sides too close to comfort to the relegation zone to want to lose. Hampshire are fresh from marmalising Yorkshire in their ODC Semi-Final on Monday. Yorkshire miss, not just their five England players, missing from that defeat, but also now, two further players to the Lions: Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, David Willey, Adil Rashid and Liam Plunkett, Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Matthew Fisher are all unavailable for this game. With spinners Mason Crane and Brad Taylor both absent due to injury and all-rounder Liam Dawson with the Lions, Hampshire have signed Ollie Rayner, out of favour this season at Lord's, on loan as a stop-gap, Middlesex fans wonder if he will return to Lord’s. Sam Northeast and Tom Alsop are available to Hampshire after injury. Yorkshire give a debut to Jonny Tattersall who did so well in the ODC defeat and thank their lucky stars that they have such incredible squad depth, however, the suspicion is that this is a catch-weight contest. A Hampshire pace attack of Edwards, Steyn and Abbott should have too much for an inexperienced Yorkshire side: a win for the locals would ease some of the growing relegation worries at the Ageas Bowl, although it would leave Yorkshire in a delicate position.
Glamorgan v Derbyshire
Glamorgan 12-man squad: Hogan, Lloyd, Selman, Khawaja, Murphy, Carlson, Morgan, Salter, Cooke, Carey, Sisidiya, Lawlor
Derbyshire 14-man squad: Godleman, Slater, Madsen, Hughes, Brodrick, Critchley, Hosein, Wilson, Viljoen, Rampaul, Olivier, Qadri, Palladino, Gleadall
Preview: Glamorgan welcome back Michael Hogan to captain the side, whilst Kiran Carlson joins after finishing university for the year. Furthermore, 19-year old Prem Sisodiya will debut if selected, adding to the sense of renewal following a sluggish start to the CC this season. Meanwhile, Gary Wilson returns to the Derbyshire side after his time with Ireland in their tri-series with Scotland and Netherlands. Derbyshire will, however, be without Luis Reece, following a recent operation.
Weather Watch: Cloudy day one, with a risk of an afternoon shower, greater sunny spells later in the week, with an average of 18c
Match Odds: Glamorgan 6/5, Derbyshire 4/6 (Betfair)
Kent v Warwickshire
Kent 12-man squad: Denly, Bell-Drummond, Dickson, Crawley, Kuhn, Stevens, Rouse, Podmore, Henry, Stewart, Riley, Thomas
Warwickshire’s 14-man squad: Patel, Ambrose, Barker, Bell, Brookes, Hannon-Dalby, Hose, Lamb, Poysden, Rhodes, Sibley, Sidebottom, Trott, Wright
Preview: The two sides battling out at the top of the CC Division Two meet at Tunbridge Wells, as the Spitfires look to claw away at the Bears’ 24-point lead. Kent are without Callum Haggett, Mitch Claydon and James Tredwell, whilst Warwickshire’s absentees include Sam Hain, Aaron Thomason and Olly Stone. Fresh from booking a Lord’s final, Hino Kuhn has proven himself to be an astute signing. In the week he got overtaken as England’s leading ODI runs-scorer, Ian Bell continues to pile on the runs in the CC with 454 so far this campaign.
Weather Watch: Sunny intervals, average 19c
Match Odds: Kent Evens, Warwickshire 4/5 (Betfair)
Leicestershire v Middlesex
Leicestershire 13-man squad: Horton, Abbas, Ackermann, Chapppell, Cosgrove, Dearden, Dexter, Javid, Jones, Hill, Parkinson, Raine, Griffiths
Middlesex 13-man squad: Malan, Barber, Cartwright, Eskinazi, Finn, Harris, Holden, Murtagh, Patel, Robson, Scott, Simpson, Stirling
Preview: Leicestershire can be pleased with their progress under Paul Nixon in the CC with wins over Northants and Glamorgan and draws against Derbyshire and highly-fancied Sussex. Muhammad Abbas is back at Grace Road with the red ball, following his Man of the Series award for Pakistan in the Tests against England. Middlesex are without two key men from their squad this season as Nick Gubbins and Tom Helm are with the England Lions, while Eoin Morgan, back playing red-ball cricket, is away captaining England to an ODI series victory over Australia.
Weather Watch: Sunny spells, average temperature of around 19c
Match Odds: Leicestershire 6/5, Middlesex 4/6 (Betfair)
Northamptonshire v Gloucestershire
Northamptonshire: Unannounced at time of publishing
Gloucestershire: Dent, Howell, Roderick, Bracey, Hankins, van Buuren, Noema-Barnett, Higgins, Miles, Drissell, M. Taylor, Liddle
Preview: After last years 3rd place finish in the CC Division Two, Northants have very much struggled with the unfamiliar tag of being the hunted as opposed to the hunters. Without a red-ball win yet, Northants’ faults have started at the top of the order, reaching 250 just once in eight innings, with the likes of Ben Duckett, Richard Levi and Rob Newton unable to replicate the form of recent years. Gloucestershire’s bowling stocks are somewhat weakened as David Payne and Liam Norwell are unavailable for the trip to Wantage Road.
Weather Watch: Sunny intervals, with average of around 20c
Match Odds: Northamptonshire Evens, Gloucestershire 4/5 (Betfair)
Sussex v Durham
Sussex: Unannounced at time of publishing
Durham: Unannounced at time of publishing
Preview: Only two points separate these two in the CC Division Two, as Durham have found a previously thought improbable return to winning ways thanks to home victories against Leicestershire and Derbyshire. Paul Collingwood is expected to return from injury for the north-east outfit, whilst Sussex are expected to name the trio of Jofra Archer, Chris Jordan and Laurie Evans.
Weather Watch: Cloudy on day one, with greater sunny intervals later in the week, average of 20c
Match Odds: Sussex 8/15, Durham 6/4 (Betfair)
5/16/2018 0 Comments
By harry Hill (@HarryHill96) and Mark Kidger (@MarkFromMadrid)
All the fun of the white ball cup circus returns to a ground near you as the Royal London Cup begins with five fixtures on Thursday including the Sky live fixture featuring the 2017 Champions Nottinghamshire’s trip to Old Trafford.
But we’ll start at a little outground in Hertfordshire where Middlesex will take on last season’s beaten semi-finalists Essex at Radlett.
Middlesex have a pretty awful record on the Royal London One Day Cup in recent seasons, and there are no great reasons for their fans to be more cheerful in 2018. Dawid Malan is not available for their first game, played at the outground at Radlett, so Steve Finn captains a remodelled side. Hilton Cartwright’s contract has been extended and will play, having already made a significant impact for Middlesex, while Middlesex welcome back Paul Stirling from his debut Test and have included Ravi Patel in the squad instead of Ollie Rayner. For Essex, Neil Wagner, who took 14 wickets in 7 ODC games last season, replaces Peter Siddle for the Eagles. Essex are feeling confident of going deep into the competition this year, having topped their group with seven wins from 8 in 2017 only to lose an epic semi-final to the eventual winners on the final over. Suffice it to say that for Middlesex, to have finished eighth in the same group felt like a degree of progress. Anything other than an Essex win would be a surprise here.
Middlesex squad: Steven Finn (captain), Tom Barber, Hilton Cartwright, Stephen Eskinazi, Nick Gubbins, James Harris, Tom Helm, Max Holden, James Franklin, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Patel, John Simpson (wicket-keeper), Paul Stirling
Essex Eagles squad: Ryan ten Doeschate (27) Captain, James Foster (7) Wicket-keeper, Aaron Beard (14), Ravi Bopara (25), Varun Chopra (6), Sam Cook (16), Simon Harmer (11), Dan Lawrence (28), Jamie Porter (44), Neil Wagner (13), Tom Westley (21), Adam Wheater (31), Ashar Zaidi (99)
Elsewhere, Northamptonshire will look to put their disappointing start to the season behind and press the reset button by entering more familiar ground with white ball in hand at Wantage Road against Leicestershire.
There is hope here though, as Northants won both of their group matches against the Foxes last season. Meanwhile, Leicestershire have enjoyed a decent start to the season under new Head Coach Paul Nixon, a man with significant white ball pedigree at Grace Road as a player. Zak Chappell and Ned Eckersley are returning from injury, whilst Deiter Klein is rested.
Northants (from 13): Josh Cobb, Luke Procter, Richard Levi, Ben Duckett, Alex Wakely, Adam Rossington, Rob Keogh, Steven Crook, Rory Kleinveldt, Graeme White, Brett Hutton, Ben Sanderson, Saif Zaib
Leicestershire (from 13): Michael Carberry, Varun Aaron, Colin Ackermann, Zak Chappell, Mark Cosgrove, Neil Dexter, Ned Eckersley, Gavin Griffiths, Lewis Hill, Paul Horton, Ateeq Javid, Callum Parkinson, Ben Raine
Weather Watch: Clear blue sky, high of 14c.
Match Odds: Northants 4/6, Leicestershire 6/5 (Betfair)
Warwickshire will be hoping to continue their excellent start to the 2018 season when they take on Derbyshire at Edgbaston. The limited overs format has often been the saving grace for the Bears in recent years after flattering to deceive in the longer format. A good start here against the Falcons may see them firing on all cylinders come September.
The hosts have picked a big squad for this one, as Ed Pollock, Liam Banks and Adam Hose have impressed in the 2nd XI so far this season. The champions of 2016 will be looking to continue a fine start to the season, and bounce back from a disappointing campaign last season. Bear skipper Jeetan Patel is full of experience, and his crafty off-spin is ideal for slowing the game down in the middle overs. Derbyshire welcome back Gary Wilson from test duty with Ireland, while Safyaan Sharif will make his Falcons debut if selected. Look out for Ravi Rampaul; the former Surrey man took 18 wickets last season during a brilliant run to the final.
Warwickshire (from 16): Jeetan Patel, Tim Ambrose, Keith Barker, Ian Bell, Henry Brookes, Sam Hain, Adam Hose, Oliver Hannon-Dalby, Ed Pollock, Josh Poysdon, Will Rhodes, Dom Sibley, Olly Stone, Alex Thomson, Aaron Thomason, Jonathan Trott
Derbyshire (from 14): Billy Goodleman, Ben Slater, Luis Reece, Wayne Madsen, Alex Hughes, Callum Brodrick, Matt Critchley, Gary Wilson, Daryn Smit, Hardus Viljoen, Ravi Rampaul, Duanne Olivier, Safyaan Sharif, Dan Wheeldon
Weather Watch: Clear blue skies, highs of 16c
Match Odds: Warwickshire 8/13, Derbyshire 5/4 (Betfair)
Perhaps the most exciting contest of the day is taking place at Old Trafford, as Lancashire welcome last season’s champions Notts to Manchester. One suspects that both sets of players are well aware of each other by now, having already faced off twice in the County Championship this season. Joe Mennie returns to the Lancashire squad, whilst Arron Liley and Karl Brown are set to play their first matches of the season. Notts are without last year’s hero in the final, Alex Hales, who is away with Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL. However, in Ross Taylor, they have one of the most formidable one-day players in the world cricket to fill Hales’ void, after an impressive series against England over the winter. With the ball, Jake Ball will be looking to make a statement after missing out on England test selection on Tuesday.
Lancashire (from 13): Liam Livingstone, Tom Bailey, Karl Brown, Jordon Clark, Steven Croft, Alex Davies, Keaton Jennings, Arron Lilley, Joe Mennie, Graham Onions, Matt Parkinson, Stephen Parry, Dane Vilas
Nottinghamshire (from 14): Jake Libby, Chris Nash, Steven Mullaney, Riki Wessels, Harry Gurney, Matt Milnes, Luke Fletcher, Samit Patel, Tom Moores, Ross Taylor, Jake Ball, Will Fraine, Billy Root, Jake Blatherwick
Weather Watch: Clear blue skies, highs of 16c
Match Odds: Lancashire evens, Notts 4/5 (Betfair)
Lastly, Sussex will hope their explosive batting line-up fires with the likes of Laurie Evans, David Wiese and Luke Wright, and a dangerous bowling pair of Ishant Sharma and young George Garton all sure to cause plenty of problems. Evans, Delroy Rawlins and Abi Sakande are all set to play their first matches of the season after missing out for Championship action. Meanwhile, Kent have enjoyed a good start to the Championship season, with three wins in Division Two, and will fancy a trip along the south coast to Hove. James Tredwell and Grant Stewart are both unavailable with injuries, whilst Darren Stevens is named but faces a late fitness test after a recent groin problem. Kent look to have a solid batting line up, but I suspect might lack the x-factor to go deep in the competition this year.
Sussex (from 14): Ben Brown, Danny Briggs, Michael Burgess, Laurie Evans, Harry Finch, George Garton, Delroy Rawlins, Ollie Robinson, Abi Sakande, Phil Salt, Ishant Sharma, Luke Wells, David Wiese, Luke Wright
Kent (from 14): Joe Denly, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Sean Dickson, Heino Kuhn, Zak Crawley, Alex Blake, Darren Stevens, Calum Haggett, Adam Rouse, Matt Henry, Harry Podmore, Ivan Thomas, Mitch Claydon, Imran Qayyum
Weather Watch: Clear blue skies, highs of 16c
Match Odds: Sussex 4/5, Kent evens (Betfair)
5/4/2018 0 Comments
By Mark Kidger (@MarkFromMadrid) and Harry Hill (@HarryHill96)
It is Spring Bank Holiday weekend. The weather is nice. The rain is forgotten. Pakistan take on Ireland in their inaugural Test next week, before facing England. It is time for England’s stars to show that they are up for it and for suitors for the open positions at opener and at #3 to hammer helpless attacks into cringing submission. That at least is the theory. The practice was that the star opener of the day is a sprightly 42-year-old and that the England stars making hay in the Sun were a little in short supply.
We start at Chelmsford. Alastair Cook, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Cheteshwar Puajar, Gary Ballance, Dan Lawrence, Tom Westley. Just tell the bowlers to take a couple of Aspirin before plays starts to dull the pain of a cricked neck caused by watching the ball whizzing past at great speed off broad bats. That was the theory. The reality was that the day looked more like a homage to the Marx Brothers’ classic “Duck Soup”. There was even, at one point, the very real possibility that the extra half hour could be requested to finish the game on the first day. Had it not been for Ballance’s 22 from 41 balls, Yorkshire could genuinely have lost in one day. Harry Brook went for the first duck of the day after nine balls of the morning. Adam Lyth, with seven Tests behind him, joined him back in the Pavilion pretty quickly. Joe Root took his cue from this and got a first-baller. None of them had troubled the scorer and Yorkshire were 9-3, all the runs to Pujara. Sam Cook had 3 wickets and the locals were rubbing their eyes. Pujara, who was obviously getting embarrassed by the length of his stay, rapidly joined the queue of batsmen at the door of the Pavilion. 27 balls. 11-4. Jonny Bairstow, who reportedly only had his first net of the season on Monday, also fell cheaply and surprise at the goings on was no longer sufficient: the members had to resort to astonishment. Six overs of – gosh! – sensible batting followed. Were Yorkshire going to dig in and scramble out of the mire? They reached 41-5 before the question was answered. The last five wickets fell in twenty-six balls for just nine runs. Yorkshire 50 all out and much consulting of the record books.
Surely Essex were going to return some equilibrium to the Force? After all, it was Star Wars day. Answer: no! Alastair Cook added his homage to the Marx Brothers (six balls, caught behind off Jack Brooks). Tom Westley may have fond thoughts of getting his England place back, but his innings, like Joe Root’s, was the shortest possible. In no time Essex were 12-3 and that Yorkshire total started to look like a decent score. The only batsman who seemed not to be in a hurry to get back and have a cup of tea and a chat with his teammates was Dan Lawrence, who even threatened to make a fifty. When Lawrence fell, the procession resumed. With more than forty overs of the day remaining, Essex were 93-7 and a result on the first day looked all too possible. Harmer and Siddle pushed the total up to 142. Yorkshire needed 92 to avoid the innings defeat. There were 31 overs left, plus the possibility of an extra 8. Let the fun begin! And it did, but suddenly it was the batsmen who were enjoying themselves. Jonny Bairstow was sent out to open and responded with 6x4 and 1x6 in a 44-ball 50. Harry Brook, demoted to #3, took his cue from that and Yorkshire knocked-off the deficit at quicker than a run-a-ball. We do not know what the batsmen were served at Tea, but it was certainly performance-enhancing. The bottom line is that Yorkshire lead by 62, with 8 wickets left and suddenly and bizarrely are on top. How often a side is dismissed for 50 in just over an hour and can end the day saying that is open to question. Heaven only knows what these two sides have planned for Day 2.
At Old Trafford it was definitely a batting day and what a hero to take advantage. Marcus Trescothick could well decide to call it a day if Somerset do not win the Championship this year but, if he does, he has shown that he still has runs in him. When Banger was an England regular, Jimmy Anderson was just getting established in the team. Today, he appeared on the pitch as a dyed blonde, possibly hoping to dazzle the batsmen into submission. Even if Matt Renshaw failed to score a century, Banger certainly had no intention of missing out. In the company of George Bartlett the batsmen set about the Lancashire attack, which was made to look pedestrian and helpless. What we did not know is that he had broken a bone in his foot in an awkward fall as he approached his century. Trescothick, who was in obvious pain, got those last few runs, before falling almost immediately to the leg-spin of Livingstone and heading straight off to hospital, where the break was confirmed. Hildreth missed out, but Bartlett went on his sweet way to his own century in company with the gloriously revived captain, Tom Abell. Lancashire were watching the overs ticking-down and beginning to wonder if they were going to get any more than the single bowling point that had been obtained by mid-afternoon. Two wickets in the last hour sweetened the medicine a little, but Somerset will certainly be hoping to obtain full batting points still. Oh yes… Jimmy Anderson ended with 0-70 and added his name to the list of England players who did not have the best of days. Somerset are making a fast start to the season and look to be real contenders for that Championship Pennant.
The Oval, in contrast, saw a day of more attritional play. Worcestershire’s start to the season has been dire and Surrey were in no mood to give anything away. with one exception (need one say that it was a candidate to open the batting in the 1st Test?) Rory Burns batted through the day for 137* and will come back tomorrow hungry for more. When anything happened for Worcestershire it was thanks to Barnard, Leach and Cox in differing combinations. Barnard ran out Stoneman for 28 – his second highest innings of the season so far, his best being 29 – Borthwick and Patel must be twins, both falling for 10 to catches by Cox off Leach, but Ben Foakes, one of the few England possibles to be scoring runs for fun, put on 125 with Burns before falling to the Cox/Barnard combo. With Ollie Pope bedding-in, there is a real danger of Worcestershire having to settle for a single bowling point in the morning. Surrey will hope to accelerate against a tiring attack and rub in their advantage. One thing that Worcestershire will not want is to spend five sessions in the field and concede well over 400, but that scenario looks more than likely right now. Worcestershire may be thinking fondly of how much easier life was in Division 2 last season and consoling themselves that another promotion bid lies in store in 2019. Surrey, in contrast, will be thinking of a 22-point win and getting themselves up into the jostling pack at the top of the table.
Last, but by no means least, the current leaders of Division 1, Nottinghamshire, can reflect on a thoroughly satisfactory day. At 27-3 in the seventh over, they would have settled gratefully for 302ao and three batting points. Their total was based on solid contributions from Ross Taylor (47), Samit Patel (73), Rikki Wessels (54), Tom Moores (29) and Stuart Broad (33), although it took one of those tenth wicket partnerships that drive opposing teams to distraction to add the third batting point, as Harry Gurney and Jake Ball added 27. What was remarkable is that the runs were scored at a fast rate and left Nottinghamshire plenty of time to go at Hampshire with the ball in the evening. While most of the England team and the possibles are having a fairly torrid time, Stuart Broad seems to be reborn. His form has definitely been the exception to the rule and he looks to be raring to go. 3-28, 38 & 1-17 v Worcestershire. Now, 33 with the bat and a fine new ball spell to put the skids under Hampshire and leave them 17-2. Broad has ended the day with figures of 7-3-19-2 and is currently averaging under 11 with the ball and 35 with the bat this season. Those figures won’t last, but the Stuart Broad of a few years ago seems to be back and loving playing cricket. We know how Stuart Broad saves his best for Pakistan and, yes, they are the first Test opponents that he will face. Luke Fletcher supported him well at the other end and, needless to say, another England hopeful, James Vince, his hapless victim. Scores of 75, 12, 6, 33, 47 & 5 make him one of the form England batsmen this season – arguably the only one and will probably earn him a place in the squad for the 1st Test, but today was definitely not his day with the bat. Amla and Rossouw have steadied the innings and taken the score from 23-3 at the fall of Vince, to 70-3 at the Close, but Nottinghamshire know that an early wicket will open-up an end with Liam Dawson at #6 and a long-looking tail. While the late partnership has evened things up, you cannot help thinking that, with the pace that this game is progressing, the win is there for Nottinghamshire if they want it.
Glamorgan V Kent
Allow me to briefly set the scene in Cardiff this morning, everything was calm, Nick Selman and Jack Murphy enjoyed a solid start with a 57 run partnership during the morning session, but the supporters in attendance at Sophia Gardens were unsuspecting of the drama that was about to unfold. After the lunch break, Kent stalwart Darren Stevens was a man possessed and on a mission, aided well by Matt Henry, 8 wickets fell in the first hour. Opening batsman Murphy was left stranded on 39 as Glamorgan fell to 94 all out. In overcast conditions, the Glamorgan batsman couldn’t read the movement that 42-year old Stevens achieved, as he finished on very impressive figures of 6-26. Without being too cheeky, one might wonder whether the Glamorgan batsman got a bit confused and thought the T20 Blast campaign started, falling inside just 15.3 overs after lunch. Perhaps with the surprise of getting out to bat so early in the day, the Kent batsman got off to a shaky start thanks to a good opening spell of bowling from Timm van der Gugten. Nevertheless, Kent skipper Joe Denly steadied the ship in a way the Glamorgan batsman failed to earlier in the day, sharing an important 78 run partnership with rising-star Zak Crawley. Not to be downhearted, van der Gugten soon got back to work, adding Stevens, Rouse and Henry to his scalps, finishing the day with 6-40. Harry Podmore offered some late resistance and is still at the crease with Ivan Thomas, with the spitfires closing on 163-9, 69 runs ahead of their hosts.
Durham v Leicestershire
A huge clash is taking place at Chester-Le-Street as last years’ bottom sides are looking for vital points to kick-start their respective seasons. Leicestershire’s opening batsman, Michael Carberry and Paul Horton got the Foxes off to a fantastic start with an opening partnership of 146, with the level of dogged resistance rarely seen this season. Durham skipper Paul Collingwood must have expected better from the likes of Chris Rushworth and Nathan Rimmington, who were unable to offer much threat with the new ball. Runs continued to flow after lunch with the introduction of Barry McCarthy and James Weighall into the attack. Carberry and Horton went on to make fifties alongside Mark Cosgrove, who were very patient in their attention of the Durham attack. In the final overs of the day, Durham were unable to find a 5th wicket that might open the match-up on day 2, as Mark Cosgrove returns to the crease with Lewis Hill on 66*. Leicestershire reached 301-4 at the close, with more Durham toiling in the field expected tomorrow.
Sussex v Middlesex
Middlesex’s blushes were sparred on the south coast today thanks to a fluent 84* from young Max Holden, who seemed to be the only batsman capable of facing Ollie Robinson in the form that he showed today. More top order woes will be a concern for Dawid Malan’s men, with Gubbins, Robson, the skipper himself and Cartwright all falling short of meaningful contributions. Despite this, full credit should go to Ollie Robinson, achieving career-best figures of 7-58 on a lively pitch at Hove. It could have been worse for Middlesex, had Sussex not dropped the three chances they created, although Stevie Eskinazi and Hilton Cartwright will be disappointed to have not punished such mistakes. At 169-8, and looking like missing out on any batting bonus points, Tim Murtagh added some useful late runs with Holden, as Middlesex finished on 230 all out. However, with the bat, Sussex were unable to capitalise on Robinson’s good work, thanks to some very tight bowling from Tim Murtagh in particular, who picked up the wickets of the opening pair of Luke Wells and Philip Salt. In honesty, it was difficult to see what Middlesex could achieve in the tricky 21 overs left in the day, but the Londoners will be delighted with the wicket of the dangerous Luke Wright towards the close. Sussex will return in the morning 60-4, with Harry Finch set on 26*, 170 runs behind.
4/26/2018 0 Comments
By David Bowden (@Bowdenwhu), Mark Kidger (@MarkFromMadrid) & Harry Hill (@HarryHill96)
Game week three sees the start of the introduction of the England Test players returning to the County fold looking to find some vital form ahead of the English Test summer.
Alastair Cook in particular needs to find something, anything, to get him going ahead of potentially his last English Test Summer. The former England skipper looked woefully out of touch in the winter and will be hoping some time back with his beloved Eagles will rejuvenate him and offer him some vital time in the middle. Last summer, he was fantastic for the Champions contributing with nearly every innings in an Essex shirt and Anthony McGrath will hope the legendary left-hander can find that form again to help aid the Eagles to their second success of the season in Southampton.
It won’t be easy for Cook though, Hampshire are blessed with one of the best bowling attacks in the division with the likes of Kyle Abbott, Fidel Edwards and Gareth Berg already well amongst the wickets. That, of course, doesn’t even mention Liam Dawson and Chris Wood who are also always a danger with the ball in hand.
The Chef though will just want to go about his work, free of the pressure of holding up an end for England as the doubts continue to linger about his future and the batting order around him. A few early season runs will do Cook the world of good you would expect, and you could also argue he needs them to keep his place in the Test side.
The returning ‘little Chef,’ Sam Cook, who burst on the scene at the back end of last season for the Champions, will join ‘big Chef ‘in the squad. I was lucky enough to witness Sam Cook’s finest hour in his early career in an Essex shirt as he ripped through the Hampshire line-up at the Ageas Bowl last September. How he would love to repeat that trick again in Southampton to prove it wasn’t just a fluke.
A three-pronged pace attack of Cook, Jamie Porter and Peter Siddle, with the spin option of Simon Harmer, is one certainly to challenge the strength Hampshire have and you suspect the performance of those two attacks will go a long way to deciding the outcome of this encounter.
There is still no place in the side for former Hampshire man Matt Coles who is seemingly being saved for Essex’s one-day side.
For Hampshire, they remain unchanged as they look to bounce back from their defeat at the Oval. They would have been pleased to see Sam Northeast amongst the runs, as they look for more stability in the middle order. Essex will know all about Hashim Amla, who previously spent a stint in Chelmsford. The form of the South African will be key to ensure Hampshire get runs on the board as you suspect the visitors will put Hampshire in on the opening morning. It is sure to be an exciting encounter with plenty of international stars past and present on show in Southampton, and who will come out on top is anyones guess, much will rely on Cook and Amla as these two bowling attacks have the ability to blow any batting line-up away.
How they line up:
Hampshire: Adams, Wood, Dawson, Berg, Vince ©, Amla, Northeast, McManus (w/k), Rossouw, Weatherley, Wheal, Edwards, Abbott and Sole
Essex: ten Doeschate ©, Foster (w/k), Beard, Bopara, Browne, Chopra, A. Cook, S. Cook, Harmer, Lawrence, Porter, Siddle and Westley
Day one: Heavy rain – little chance of play
Day Two: Cloudy
Day three: Cloudy – with a chance of afternoon showers
Day Four: Morning rain – clearing in the afternoon
Meanwhile, at Old Trafford, the Lancastrian faithful will be hoping and praying that they can get their season up and running.
It has been a surprisingly testing start to the campaign for Glen Chapple’s men with defeats to Nottinghamshire and Essex leaving them rock bottom of the Championship. They were many people picks for the Championship, a strong looking bowling attack coupled with a decent looking top order meant some of the esteemed View From the Outfield writers fancied them to lift the Division One trophy come September.
However, with a tricky looking game against Surrey now on the horizon, they must now start to look to get their season moving as they are at risk of being cast adrift even this early in the season.
The Red Rose have been forced to wait for the arrival of James Anderson back to their side, but they do still have an impressive attack with Joe Meenie settling in well to County cricket and the evergreen Graham Onions still look dangerous after his switch to Old Trafford from Chester-Le-Street. They do have plenty of potential run-makers in Hameed, Livingstone and Jennings at the top of the order, in theory, all the ingredients are there to make a title-winning team, for one reason or another it just hasn’t quite clicked yet for the Lanky boys.
Glen Chapple has made just the one change to the squad that lost in Chelmsford with promising pace bowler Saqib Mahmood coming into the 14 replacing all-rounder Danny Lamb.
For Surrey, they tasted the sweet taste of success at the first time of trying thrashing Hampshire at the Oval in game week two. The ‘Reys squad looks well balanced and is a threat to any side. The mystery of Amar Virdi adds a different dimension to their team, whilst Sam Curran is another year older and stronger and Jade Dernbach looks to have finally worked out how to stop leaking runs.
With the bat, they have runs throughout the batting line-up as was proved last week with Ollie Pope striking his first century of the season. Mark Stoneman is an England international and in Ben Foakes they have one of the best wicket-keeper batsmen in England. It is hardly surprising they nullified the threat of Hampshire with such ease and grace last week.
Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that ‘moneybags’ Surrey have named no fewer than nine Surrey academy graduates in their 13-man squad travelling to Manchester. Ravi Patel – who has been impressing in the 2XI and Stuart Meaker join the eleven men who played in their opening games success over Hampshire. Clearly, the Rey are expecting some seam movement at Old Trafford as they pack their squad with talented seamers.
If they can dodge the weather the visitors will fancy their chances of making it two-out-of-two at Old Trafford.
How they line-up:
Lancashire: Liam Livingstone (C), Tom Bailey, Shiv Chanderpaul, Jordan Clark, Steven Croft, Alex Davies, Haseeb Hameed, Keaton Jennings, Saqib Mahmood, Joe Mennie, Graham Onions, Stephen Parry, Matt Parkinson, Dane Vilas
Surrey: Rory Burns (C), Mark Stoneman, Scott Borthwick, Dean Elgar, Ollie Pope, Ben Foakes, Sam Curran, Rikki Clarke, Jade Dernbach, Matthew Dunn, Amar Virdi, Ryan Patel, Stuart Meaker
Day One: Light Rain – expect little play
Day Two: Light clouds
Day Three: Light Clouds
Day Four: Rain in the morning clearing throughout the day
Worcestershire v Nottinghamshire
Worcestershire 13-man squad: Daryl Mitchell, Brett D’Oliveira, Tom Fell, Joe Clarke, Travis Head, George Rhodes, Ben Cox, Ed Barnard, Joe Leach, Josh Tongue, Charlie Morris, Ben Twohig, Ross Whiteley.
Nottinghamshire 12-man squad: Jake Libby, Chris Nash, Steven Mullaney, Stuart Broad, Riki Wessels, Harry Gurney, Luke Fletcher, Samit Patel, Tom Moores, Ross Taylor, Jake Ball, Billy Root.
Ross Whiteley comes into the Worcestershire squad as a replacement for Steve Magoffin, who is rested after suffering a tight hamstring against Somerset last week. Young legspinner Ben Twohig could make his first-class debut if selected. Ed Barnard will be looking to continue his fine form, after taking 11-89 in the defeat at Taunton last week. For Notts, Stuart Broad returns after being rested for his first match of the season, whilst Tom Moores will be looking to take some more stunning catches behind the stumps, that attracted the attention of Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea during the week. Notts will know that they need to improve their batting from defeat at Headingley last week, after relying on Jake Ball’s 44* in the first innings.
Weather Watch: Rain forecast for Friday and Saturday, before dry spells on Sunday and Monday. Highs of around 10c.
Match Odds: Worcestershire 7/4, Nottinghamshire 4/9. (Betfair).
Somerset v Yorkshire
Somerset – Tom Abell (c), Tom Banton, George Bartlett, Dom Bess, Josh Davey, Steve Davies, Lewis Gregory, Tim Groenewald, James Hildreth, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Matt Renshaw, Marcus Trescothick and Paul van Meekeren.
Yorkshire – Gary Ballance ©, Tim Bresnan, Harry Brook, Jack Brooks, Karl Carver, Ben Coad, Andrew Hodd (WK), Jack Leaning, Alex Lees, Adam Lyth, Cheteshwar Pujara, Josh Shaw, Matthew Waite
Top of the table Yorkshire visit Taunton. The Yorkshire faithful see their good start as evidence that Yorkshire will be Championship contenders, after being well off the pace in 2017. Somerset fans will hope that their side can follow up the win last week and get the fast start that will allow them to play their trump card of Leach and Bess successfully during the Championship run-in. For Somerset, Eddie Bryom dislocated a shoulder in the field against Worcestershire and Jamie Overton has a side strain, although it is minor and he is expected to be back quickly. Paul van Meekeren replaces the latter, while Tom Banton and George Bartlett are added to replace the former. Yorkshire have a long list of absences: apart from Adil Rashid, taking a red-ball sabbatical, Steve Patterson (broken finger), Matthew Fisher (torn side), Liam Plunkett and David Willey (both IPL), Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow are unavailable. Root and Bairstow will be netting at Headingley and should be available for the trip to Essex, although Bairstow will not start preparation until Monday. Yorkshire have won more than half of the 175 games between the two sides (91 wins to Somerset’s 24), but things have been far more even in recent seasons and this game could turn out to be finely balanced. Ben Coad has been flying again this season for the Yorkies and it must be a worry that he may get into the England squad this summer to add to the drain on resources. Jack Brooks is also having a good start to the season. For Somerset, there is quiet optimism, particularly as the quicks proved so potent against Worcestershire, meaning that they will be just as happy if the Taunton pitch has something in it for the seamers as they will be if it is a turner.
Middlesex v Glamorgan
Middlesex – Dawid Malan (captain), Tom Barber, Hilton Cartwright, Stephen Eskinazi, James Franklin, Tom Helm, Max Holden, Tim Murtagh, Ollie Rayner, Sam Robson, George Scott, John Simpson (wicket-keeper), Paul Stirling.
Glamorgan – Hogan ©, Selman, Murphy, Marsh, Carlson, Donald, Cooke, Lloyd, Salter, Carey, de Lange, van der Gugten, Smith
This is one of the most interesting games of this round, matching 2nd v 3rd in the table. Despite their late scare, Glamorgan looked very good against Gloucestershire, while Middlesex have shown the frustrating Jekyll and Hyde inconsistency of 2017 in their first two games. Glamorgan pick the XII who went to Bristol but add Ruaidhri Smith to give them an extra pace option. The Middlesex dressing room, in contrast, resembles a plot line from a popular BBC series when I was a (young) kid, called “Emergency Ward Ten”. While Middlesex welcome back Dawid Malan after his enforced rest for the first two rounds of Championship cricket and Steve Eskinazi (after missing two games with a virus), there is still too much bad news for comfort. After missing the end of the season and the England tour through injury, Toby Roland-Jones has been found to have a recurrence of the stress fracture of his back and will miss the rest of the season. “Toblerone” made such an impact for England on his debut last season and his injury is a tragedy both for Middlesex and for England: he seems fated not to add to his Test caps. Toblerone joins a lengthy injury list of James Harris (side), Steve Finn (knee), Nick Gubbins (not yet quite ready to come back) and Eoin Morgan (broken thumb). Tim Murtagh has recovered from his back spasm and is in the squad, although one suspects that the coach will watch him closely in the pre-match warm-up as Middlesex can ill-afford another bowler to breakdown mid-match, having lost Roland-Jones, Harris and Murtagh at different moments against Derbyshire. While Middlesex’s squad depth is such that they can still field six internationals, one wonders if the fates are against them in their promotion push. This game already looks like a “must not lose” for the Londoners, while Glamorgan are looking forward to their first game at Lord’s for nine years and travel with great optimism that they have a real chance to back up last week’s impressive win, with a big scalp.
Sussex v Gloucestershire
Sussex – Ben Brown (c/wk), Danny Briggs, Michael Burgess, Harry Finch, Ollie Robinson, Phil Salt, Ishant Sharma, Stiaan van Zyl, Stuart Whittingham, David Wiese, Luke Wells, Luke Wright
Gloucestershire – Dent (c), Howell, Roderick, Bracey, J.Taylor, van Buuren, Higgins, Noema-Barnett, Miles, Worrall, M.Taylor, Liddle, Hankins
Gloucestershire travel to Sussex-by-the-Sea having followed a fine win against Kent, with three days of abject cricket against Glamorgan that left them just too much to do to salvage the draw. Sussex have been unfortunate to play their first two matches on absolutely dead surfaces that would not have produced a result in five days and, the pitch at Grace Road, probably not even in six. Both sides want the win to keep up the pressure on the sides at the top of the table. Sussex replace Will Beer, who has a sore side after a long bowl on the pitiless Grace Road pitch, with Danny Briggs, who has recovered fitness after a knee operation and has been playing for the 2nd XI to get match fit. Many people see Sussex as a good outside bet for promotion and it is certainly true that they have impressed in the two draws. Gloucestershire go back to the team that beat Kent. Giant Liam Norwell, who came out batting on one leg to try and save the game against Glamorgan, misses the game with a hamstring injury. After perhaps unwisely being left out against Glamorgan, Craig Miles will expect to be in the final XI. Both sides will hope that the pitch offers something but, if it does, an opening attack of Worrall and Taylor will be a handful, with Miles as first change. Sussex will undoubtedly play the same XI save for the aforementioned enforced change of spinner. Gloucestershire will be delighted by the form of Ryan Higgins and the return to form of Bobby Bracey, but captain Chris Dent is struggling for runs and putting too much pressure on Benny Howell and Gareth Roderick at the top of the order.
Northamptonshire v Durham
Northamptonshire 13-man squad: Alex Wakely, Luke Procter, Richard Levi, Adam Rossington, Josh Cobb, Rob Keogh, Ben Duckett, Steven Crook, Doug Bracewell, Brett Hutton, Richard Gleeson, Ben Sanderson, Rob Newton.
Durham 12-man squad: Paul Collingwood, Aiden Markram, Cameron Steel, Will Smith, Graham Clark, Michael Richardson, Stuart Poynter, Nathan Rimmington, James Weighell, Chris Rushworth, Barry McCarthy, Josh Coughlin.
Both teams will be looking to bounce back from less than ideal starts to the season after Northants have lost both matches inside three days, whilst Durham were taken part by Kent in just two. Northants will be keen to occupy the crease better, starting at the top of the order with Rob Newton and Ben Duckett. Meanwhile, for Durham, Cameron Steel returns to the squad after missing last week’s fixture with illness, as Gareth Harte misses out. Aiden Markram will be looking to put a difficult match last week behind him, after becoming the first player to make a pair on their first day of the County Championship.
Weather Watch: Rain Friday and Saturday afternoon, cloud on Sunday before more rain forecast for Monday. Highs of around 9c.
Match Odds: Northamptonshire 8/11, Durham 11/10 (Betfair).
Leicestershire v Derbyshire
Leicestershire 12-man squad: Michael Carberry, Varun Aaron, Colin Ackermann, Mark Cosgrove, Ned Eckersley, Neil Dexter, Gavin Griffiths, Lewis Hill, Paul Horton, Dieter Klein, Callum Parkinson, Ben Raine.
Derbyshire 14-man squad: Billy Godleman, Ben Slater, Luis Reece, Wayne Madsen, Alex Hughes, Matt Critchley, Callum Brodrick, Gary Wilson, Tony Palladino, Ravi Rampaul, Hardus Viljoen, Duanne Olivier, Will Davis, Hamidullah Qadri.
Paceman Varun Aaron could make his Leicestershire debut for this East Midlands clash in place of Mohammed Abbas who joins up with Pakistan training squad in preparation for the test matches with England next month. Ned Eckersley returns to the squad after a groin injury kept him out of last week’s draw with Sussex. Harry Dearden and Richard Jones are both ruled out through injury. Derbyshire will be high on confidence after a rare home victory against Middlesex last week. The same 11 from that match remain in the squad, with the additions of Will Davis, Hamidullah Qadri and Callum Brodrick.
Rain on Friday, dry and overcast conditions on Saturday and Sunday with the risk of further rain on Monday. Highs of around 10c.
Leicestershire 11/10, Derbyshire 8/11 (Betfair).
By the View from the outfield team
The official hashtag on Twitter for County Championship cricket is #ProperCricket, and today we saw plenty of that in the Saturday sun.
Of the nine Championship games over the two division, we saw one concluded in five sessions, although there were plenty of twists and turns in those sessions. All four Division One encounters are delicately poised although again one suspects if you fancy a trip to the cricket on Monday you may be hard pushed.
We'll start in Chelmsford where Lancashire will require 320 to win in two-days as Essex enjoyed the better of the second day at Chelmsford. In a game where the ball has often dominated the bat, the Eagles showed that it wasn't the minefield that everyone previously had made it seem. The day started perfectly for the hosts who wasted no time in wrapping up the Red Rose’s innings with Jamie Porter and Simon Harmer picking up a wicket apiece to both collect their first five-wicket hauls of the season.
That all meant that Essex had squeaked a lead of six on first innings, that small lead seemed to give Anthony McGrath’s men the momentum and they looked to capitalise with some attack minded batting against the new ball. Varun Chopra, who was presented his county cap during the lunch interval, in particular, took the mentality of see ball hit ball; he raced to 32 before having his stumps rearranged by the impressive Graham Onions. That brought Tom Westley to the crease, the Essex number three still harbours genuine hopes of a future England berth if he can impress again this season and he looked in good touch at the County Ground as he patiently made his way to 49. Nick Browne fell for 17 edging Australian Joe Meenie to Dane Vilas in the slips, whilst Dan Lawrence was the only man to not really get a start for the hosts as he also edged through to the slips off the bowling of Meenie. Westley finally found a partner in crime in Ravi Bopara and the pair began to show the wicket wasn’t as bad it had seemed. The pair added 57 for the fourth wicket before ‘The Big Bopper’ as he is affectionately known as in Chelmsford drove to Livingstone in the slips to give Tom Bailey his first wicket of the innings. Westley and Ryan ten Doeschate continued to build the lead playing with some renewed freedom with the Essex skipper taking a particular liking to young Lancashire Leggie Matthew Parkinson swatting him for a big leg-side six on his way to 25. But it was to be Westley who would be the next to fall. The Essex vice-captain going for his 50th run drove a long hop from Parkinson to Keaton Jennings in the covers and he whacked his bat against his pad in disgust as he walked off knowing that that is another start that he has failed to cash in on. And when ten Doeschate departed with Essex’s lead on just 180, Lancashire began to sniff a chance of victory, and whilst Paul Walter looked all at sea against the Red Rose pace men he provided able support to James Foster albeit by playing and missing an awful lot against the luckless Onions. Walter took the Eagles through to Tea alongside Foster stretching the host’s lead to 214 before finally running out of luck edging Meenie through to the keeper.
Foster was left begging for a partner to add to Essex’s lead with and he found the perfect right-hand man in Simon Harmer, fresh from receiving his County cap he looked like a man on a mission. The pair totally nullified the Lancashire attack playing in a patient yet assured manner waiting for the right ball to slap away to the boundary rope. The duo hit 15 boundaries between them as the long day in the sun seemed to begin to take its toll on the visitors. They shared a potential match-winning 103 for the 8th wicket taking Essex’s lead beyond 300 in the process. But then cruelty struck as Harmer, approaching a well-deserved 50 feathered an edge through to Davies with just five-overs remaining in the day. But he had done his job helping to guide Foster through to his fifty during the partnership. Siddle, whose first innings score of 33 is proving vital came and went for a duck as the effects of the new ball began to show, and with the last ball of the day Foster was adjudged LBW to give Bailey his third wicket. That left the visitors with 320 to get for victory in this clash of potential champions in two days in what is sure to be a fascinating climax to this match.
Surrey took a hulk like grip on their game against south coast rivals Hampshire at the Oval on Saturday. In a contest that looked evenly poised at the start of the day after Surrey could only manage a disappointing 211 in their first innings and Hampshire getting a quarter of the way to that total by the close of day one. But early wickets soon turned the game on its head as the momentum shifted across to the Rey in dramatic fashion. It took just two balls for the pendulum to start swinging the host's way with the experienced Rikki Clarke removing James Vince leg before. Sam Northeast, still yet to find his feet in a Hampshire shirt was soon joining Vince in the dressing room as he pushed forward to a delivery from young Sam Curran only to find the gloves of Ben Foakes behind the stumps to leave the visitors well and truly wobbling on 63/5. Another man struggling for runs is Rilee Rossouw, his disappointing start to the season continued as Tom Dunn, another Surrey youngster pinned him in front to leave Hampshire staring down the barrel on 79/6. If Hampshire were to get anywhere near Surrey’s first innings score everything rested on the shoulders of Hashim Amla, who clearly saw a different wicket to those around him as he serenely went on to his half-century. He shared a mini-revival partnership of 37 with Liam Dawson as Hampshire chipped away at the Surrey total but Dawson’s departure was another untimely blow for the visitors with Jade Dernbach finding the edge of his bat. Perhaps the surprise of the ‘summer’ so far for Hampshire is the batting form of Kyle Abbott, and he again played a steady hand sharing a decent stand of 31 with Amla before two quick wickets from Sam Curran (4-39) put the Rey back in the driving seat. The very next over Amla departed to give Clarke his fourth and spookily gave him the exact same figures as Curran in the process and Surrey had a lead of 64.
With three England hopefuls and a South African run machine in the top five that deficit already looked ominous for Hampshire, and it was only going to get worse as the afternoon wore on in the London sun. Abbott gave them some brief early respite taking the wickets of Rory Burns (10) and England’s Mark Stoneman (24) but Borthwick, Elgar, Foakes and Pope all played decent hands to stretch the hosts lead into a winnable position. Borthwick is the current top scoring hitting eight fours and a six in his total of 74, but with the ever impressive Foakes currently unbeaten on 50. You fear it could be a long day tomorrow for Hampshire unless they can go ‘bang, bang’ in the morning session.
You have to make Surrey firm favourites for this one now with a lead of 281 and six-wickets in hand.
In these days of the super-reduced Championship, three wins give a side a good chance of surviving the drop and four seals the deal. Somerset have been many peoples’ tip for relegation for the last two seasons but will hope to seal the first of those wins tomorrow. Having started the day 49 ahead, but with two Worcestershire wickets left, the first order of business was to knock over the rabbits, breaking the annoying ninth wicket stand. Barnard and Tongue added 20 more before Tongue fell to Gregory and Overton then finished off the innings by dismissing Barnard, but not before he had reached a valuable 50. Somerset must have been heartily sick of Barnard by the end of the day, as he added 5-37 in the second innings to his 5-52 in the first innings and 50 with the bat. However, one man, however brilliant, cannot make up for the inadequacies of the other ten and Worcestershire, beaten once already this season, look to be heading straight back down to Division 2. With a lead of just 23, far fewer than they had hoped for, the last thing that Somerset needed was to lose two quick wickets, one of them Matt Renshaw. However, Marcus Trescothick was still there and, with James Hildreth, steadied the ship. Although Hildreth has Lions caps, he has never had an England call-up and now, 34 in September, never will receive a call from the selectors, despite a First Class average of 43 and, today, making his 42nd First Class century. Hildreth ended the 2017 season with 41 and 109 against Middlesex, which sent the Londoners down, here he has added 48 and 111* on a similarly crabby pitch: one cannot but wonder if he might not have done better than some of the sacrificial lambs sent on recent England tours. When Trescothick fell for 43, Hildreth received useful support from captain Tom Abell; together, they seemed to be batting Worcestershire out of the game. Somerset though, seem to like to get from A to B by the scenic route: 145-3, a lead of 168 – very nice! 153-6… three quick wickets to Beastly Barnard – not so clever! Despite the wobble, Somerset have been battle-hardened by the struggles over the last two seasons and their young lions are starting to show why they might not be a bad outside bet for a top-three finish this season. Rather than folding, the tail gave sensible support to James Hildreth and, despite no one making a big score, the runs were accumulated: 53 added with Overton, 17 with Davey, 16 with Leach and, so far, 16 with Groenewald. It all adds up and, in the case of Worcestershire, adds up to a substantial chase tomorrow. The lead is now 278, Hildreth has only let Groenewald face three balls so far and every additional run added on the third morning will be a further nail in the Worcestershire coffin. Somerset will feel confident of finishing this one off and not a rake, or even a delivery from Jack Leach in sight.
Elsewhere, at Leeds, there was not a pair of water wings in sight in the outfield and the only sharks had a hard, red ball in their hands. Starting 53-4 in reply to Yorkshire’s 256, Nottinghamshire were desperately in need of someone to help Ross Taylor after his first four partners managed just ten runs between them. Rikki Wessels applied for the job and even started to make a go of it, although a tip to Nottinghamshire in their pursuit of First Division success is that finding yourself 6-3 on a regular basis is not the best place to begin. A second tip might be: if you have found yourself 6-3, try to avoid a new collapse just as you are starting to get out of trouble. At 100-4, things were beginning to look up, Ross Taylor was past his 50 and starting to look good and Rikki Wessels was giving a nice imitation of a limpet mine at the other end. Ten balls later it was 102-6 and the outlook was decidedly less rosy. Half an hour later, it was 130-8 and things were looking decidedly grim. Had it not been for Jake Ball, who was so impressive with the… err… balls… against Lancashire, who showed that he can also handle a bat, scoring 44* from 36 balls, Nottinghamshire would have been in an even sorrier plight. Ben Coad was the chief wrecker with 4-49 and is following on from last season’s success. Coad can expect to play for the Lions soon and a trip with the England side in the winter cannot be out of the question. This is only his sixteenth First Class match, but he is averaging around 22 with admirable economy and a strike rate of 48. A lead of 68 was less than the White Rose may have wanted, but still handy, although they made a ropey start in a quest for a winning lead. Like Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire seems to like repeating a good collapse and, in their case, they repeated their first innings slump to 37-3 [this is a nice one for the statisticians – if Nottinghamshire fall to 6-3 for a third consecutive inning it will start to get positively spooky]. In the first innings, it was Lyth and Brook who started to pull things around from 37-3, this time it was Ballance and Brook: different names, similar result: a fifty stand and then a wicket. The difference though was that this time Ballance and Leaning followed through and are closing on a century stand for the fifth wicket. Yorkshire are now 257 ahead and Nottinghamshire have the sort of headache that not even two double-strength Tylenol is going to clear. If the lead gets past 300 – and, surely it will – the writing will be on the wall and Nottinghamshire will be reading something along the lines of “defeat is coming”. With two days to go, they are getting into the sort of bind that would have taxed the powers of Harry Houdini.
Wickets continued to tumble across the grounds on day 2 in Division Two, and there was even a result within 5 sessions at Chester-Le-Street as Kent cruised to the 93 runs required; losing just the one wicket in the process. The day started with Durham 13-1, 65 runs behind Kent, and the day played out as many would have expected, with Matt Henry taking a highly impressive 12 wickets for 73 runs in the match. Only James Weighell and Nathan Rimmington offered some resistance to the Kent attack as Durham added 131 runs for the final three wickets, with Durham recovering from 39-7 to finish 170 all out. Paul Collingwood’s men will need to improve drastically as they head to Wantage Road next Friday to face Northamptonshire.
Meanwhile, at Derby, Middlesex's struggles continued, reaching just 157 all out in reply to Derbyshire’s 265 from day 1. Six Middlesex batsmen made double figures, but no one was able to make a meaningful score as John Simpson top scored with 32. South African Duanne Olivier was the pick of the Derbyshire bowlers on debut, with a probing spell, finishing with 4-26. The Middlesex batsmen may be well advised to re-check their guard, as half of the wickets fell LBW. After lunch, Derbyshire were out to look to extend the first innings lead of 108, with Ben Slater and the highly rated Luis Reece getting off to the good start before rain disrupted proceedings at 56-0. Play resumed after a lengthy delay, as Middlesex were left to toil to no avail as both Slater and Reece pilled on the runs. Derbyshire settled with 118-0 at the close, surely delighted with a very handy 228 run lead.
Across the county border from Derbyshire, at Leicestershire, Sussex bucked the trend of weak batting performances across the country as they extended their total to 438, thanks to a free-flowing 101* Michael Burgess before Sussex skipper Ben Brown called them in with a declaration halfway through the afternoon session. The rain immediately disrupted Leicestershire’s reply meaning an early tea interval. Ishant Sharma got an early breakthrough after the break, as Paul Horton played across a straight one, out LBW. However, Colin Akermann was solid in the face of adversity against a talented Sussex attack and made it to the close on 62*, as Leicestershire reach 112-2, trailing by 326.
Elsewhere, Warwickshire added to Northamptonshire’s early-season woes at Wantage Road. Tim Ambrose shared a 116 run 9th wicket partnership with young Henry Brookes. Ambrose managed a fine 103, and Brookes made 70 in only his 2nd first-class match. Northants had no answers with the ball and will do well to make Warwickshire even bat again, with a 266 first innings deficit. Northants then faced a tricky 10 overs to see out before the close, which Rob Newton and Ben Duckett negotiated well, closing on 41-0, requiring another 225 avoid an innings defeat.
Finally, to Bristol, as a classy 111 from Shaun Marsh has left Glamorgan in control against Gloucestershire. Marsh was well supported by the other batsmen, with 40s from Jack Murphy and Kiran Carlson. With the ball, Ryan Higgins offered the biggest test for the Glamorgan batsmen, with 2-43. This is likely to be the most exciting matches in the next two days, and with a few early wickets tomorrow, all three outcomes remain possible. Glamorgan finished on 296-5, 60 runs ahead.
Written by David Bowden (@Bowdenwhu), Mark Kidger (@MarkFromMadrid), and Harry Hill (@HarryHill96)
7/1/2017 0 Comments
Alex Hales struck a stunning unbeaten century to guide Nottinghamshire to a four-wicket success over Surrey to become the first county to pick up silverware in 2017.
The England one-day opener struck 20 fours and four sixes on his way to a record-breaking unbeaten 187 as the Outlaws chased 297 to win the Royal London One-Day Cup on a warm day at Lords.
In front of a large Nottinghamshire following at the Home of Cricket, Hales shared 137 for the sixth wicket with Nottinghamshire stalwart and leader Chris Read to seal a memorable win for the Trent Bridge based county.
Having chased a mammoth 370 to reach the final against Essex a couple of weeks ago, the Outlaws wouldn’t have been too disappointed to be invited to bowl first by Gareth Batty at the toss.
But the Surrey opening pair of Jason Roy and Mark Stoneman appeared to have vindicated that decision to bat first by reaching 74-0 inside the first 10 overs. Roy, who has been struggling for form in recent months had his blushes spared after Riki Wessels dropped an edge from the first ball of the match at first slip. To further add to the frustration for the sizable Nottinghamshire supporters at Lord’s, Steven Mullaney dropped a sitter at extra cover of Stoneman after Harry Gurney invited the Surrey man into a lofty drive in the 8th over.
Despite this, the Notts bowlers couldn’t quite find the right line, with Luke Fletcher and Harry Gurney offering too much width outside the off stump, which was punished by the left-hander Stoneman in particular. It took Samit Patel to halt the Surrey pair when Roy attempted to play against the spin into the leg side; an outside edge found Mullaney at mid-off and the England man returned to the hutch with a breezy 23 to his name. Kumar Sangakkara looked set for a big score on 30 before he nicked a ball off Mullaney to Notts’ keeper Read, who was standing up to the stumps. Patel and Mullaney offered the most threat, as Scott Borthwick fell for 14 after playing a pull shot to midwicket of Patel. Wickets kept falling around Stoneman as Ben Foakes and 19-year-old Ollie Pope both went early, shifting the momentum to Notts as Surrey went from 83-1 to 180-5. Stoneman reached a glorious ton, finishing on 144*, to hold the innings together. Surrey though could only add 71 runs in the last 10 overs, finishing with 297-9.
Alex Hales was the star man with the bat for Nottinghamshire in reply; it could have been very different had Ollie Pope held onto a drive at extra cover when Hales was on 9 in the 2nd over. Sam Curran found the pads of Michael Lumb with a full and straight ball to fall leg before for 21. Wessels was next to go after Ravi Rampaul nipped one back into the right-hander down the slope for just 6. Hales carried on regardless, with little concern for the bowling figures of any Surrey bowler, with a collection of superbly balanced front foot cover drives when width was on offer. After Patel was caught at deep fine leg taking on a short ball, both Brendon Taylor and Steven Mullaney fell, leaving Hales and Notts skipper Chris Read in a precarious position with the score at 150-5. With immense calmness, a partnership was finally built, and by the time Read fell for 58, the match was all but won. James Pattison had the honour of scoring the winning run, handing the One-Day Trophy back to Trent Bridge for the first time since 2013, as Hales finished on 183*. It was a fitting tribute to soon retiring Notts skipper Chris Read, but give a thought to Surrey’s Mark Stoneman, who in a similar fashion to Hales played his part in a superbly captivating contest.
By Harry Hill (@HarryHill96)
5/3/2017 0 Comments
Reports by Harry Hill (@HarryHill96)
Where else can we start than at Northampton, where a stunning 277 run a piece tie left the honours even. Northants skipper won his first toss in 11 attempts and elected to bowl first on an overcast day at Wantage Road. Worcestershire lost Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Tom Fell early thanks to Graeme White and Richard Gleeson respectively. Daryl Mitchell and Joe Clarke stabilised the innings before a useful contribution of 82 from Ben Cox and a quick-fire 42 from Ed Barnard gave Worcestershire a decent score to defend. In response, good early bowling from Jack Shantry and Ed Barnard saw the dangerous Josh Cobb and Richard Levi out early. Rob Newton, however, played superbly for his 107 off 123 balls, sharing a century stand with Alex Wakely (52). With the tension rising, Northants required an unlikely 14 from the last over, Adam Rossington (63*) found the boundary with immense calmness. However, with two needed from the last ball, a scrambled single left both teams with a point each.
At a high scoring day of 50 over cricket at Headingley, Jonny Bairstow starred after contributing an enthralling career-best 174 off 113-balls to Yorkshire’s run case. Durham skipper Keaton Jennings won the toss and elected to bat, which appeared the correct decision with a superb opening stand of 124 from Stephan Cook and Jennings himself. Following a spectacular catch at deep mid-wicket by Peter Handscomb from the bowling of Matthew Waite, Jennings was walking back to the hutch for 72. That did not deter Cook, who was seamlessly joined in the middle by Michael Richardson, both of whom reached a ton. When Cook eventually fell in the 40th over with the score at 248-2, progress was slowed somewhat with the wickets of Clark, Collingwood, and Coughlin giving Durham a respectable 335-5, but will think that they should have finished better. Bairstow took no time to get started in his effort towards the highest ever List-A score at Headingley and notable contributions from England Test Captain Joe Root (55) and Peter Handscomb (47) saw Yorkshire reach the target inside 48 overs.
At a rain-affected game at the Ageas Bowl, Middlesex beat Hampshire by 89 runs (D/L Method). The ever-impressive Nick Gubbins was the key man for Middlesex with the bat reaching 114 from 117 balls. After Middlesex reached 180-2, wickets kept falling at regular intervals, thanks in part to four wickets from Reece Topley and three for young spin bowler Mason Crane helping to dent Middlesex’s progress. Chasing 296 to win, the Hampshire top order couldn’t deal with Toby Roland-Jones’ brilliantly hostile bowling (4-10). The threat of rain hung over the Hampshire reply and only George Bailey (52*) and Sean Ervine (33) offered any real resistance. The rain eventually came and the players were called off the field with Hampshire well behind the rate at 146-7 from the 30.3 overs possible.
This week’s Division Two fixtures kicks off the season for Derbyshire, Sussex, Durham, and Worcestershire who face Northamptonshire, Kent, Nottinghamshire, and Glamorgan respectively.
Arguably, the most intriguing fixture in Division Two this week is the battle between the two relegated sides, Durham and Nottinghamshire at Chester-Le-Street. Notts started the season well last week with a good win against Leicestershire, following a superb all-round performance from James Pattinson. In all honesty, it is hard to predict how Durham will go this season, the loss of Scott Borthwick and Mark Stoneman to Surrey will no doubt be a challenge, but the 48-point deduction could well create a siege mentality in the North East, eager to prove a point first up.
This week also sees Northamptonshire travel to Derbyshire, on a high following a win within two days against Glamorgan last week. 2016 was a distinctly forgettable season for Derbyshire who will be hoping to make an impression early. I’m excited to see how new signing Gary Wilson from Surrey goes for Derbyshire. Coach John Sadler is said to be attempting to impose an aggressive brand of cricket, but this may be difficult against a Northants side full of confidence.
Next, Glamorgan host Worcestershire at the lovely SWALEC ground in Cardiff, hoping to move on from their collapse last week against Northants. There may be some scarring in the batting line up after being bowled out for 101 and 187 that the Worcestershire bowling attack will undoubtedly be looking to target, particularly if it’s a green deck. Glamorgan welcome back Michael Hogan who was unavailable for last week’s game, the Cardiff faithful will be hoping to see a good partnership with him and new signing Marchent de Lange.
Also this week, Gloucestershire welcome Leicestershire to Bristol. Its been a tough week for Leicestershire after losing to Notts and finding out about a 16-point deduction after numerous misdemeanours in the past 12 months. Gloucestershire are set to be captained by new signing Phil Mustard after club captain Gareth Roderick has been struck down with illness. Gloucestershire suffered a heavy defeat by 334 runs last week in Canterbury, including the embarrassment of being bowled out for 61 in their 2nd innings. How this young Gloucestershire team respond will show a lot about their temperament and self-belief going into this season.
Finally, Kent travel along the south coast to Hove to face Sussex. Kent will be determined to back up last season’s 2nd place and and impressive win last week. Veteran all-rounder Darren Stevens took 6 for 22 amidst the carnage in Gloucestershire’s 2nd innings last week. Sam Northeast’s men from Canterbury will also be boosted with the addition of fast bowler Wayne Parnell to the attack this week. Sussex are also set to give debuts to two South Africans, Vernon Philander and Stiaan Van Zyl, a hard game to call, but it is set to be an interesting game.
Previews by Harry Hill - You can follow Harry on Twitter @HarryHill96
You can also follow live updates from throughout the four days on our Twitter feed @ViewFromTheOut
10/8/2016 0 Comments
County Championship Review: The County Championship started slowly for Northamptonshire drawing 7 of their first 8 matches. However, once the white ball cricket was out the way, Northants finished well with 4 wins from the last 6 games giving the club a 5th placed finish in Division 2; which will be a cause for optimism for Alex Wakely’s men going into next season.
One-Day Cup Review: Northants played some superb cricket to win the North group of the One Day Cup. Northants faced Surrey at the County Ground at the Quarter Final stage and were agonisingly beaten on the last ball of Surrey’s run chase of 279-9, which included a glorious 130 from Kumar Sangakkara.
T20 Review: Northants have enjoyed T20 cricket of late and hopes were high this season, having won the T20 Blast in 2013, and reaching the final last year in 2015. Northants came 2nd in the North group with 7 wins from their 14 games with scores of 160 plus a regularity. At Finals day, Northants beat Notts in the semi-final with an explosive 84 from star man Ben Duckett. In a tense final, Northants collapsed to 9-3 chasing 154 against Durham, but an 110-run stabilising partnership from Josh Cobb and skipper Alex Wakely secured a glorious victory at Edgbaston.
Moment of the Season: Winning their 2nd T20 trophy was undoubtedly the highlight of the season for Northants. Additionally, part-time spinner Rob Keogh getting 9/52 in the innings and 13/125 in the match against Glamorgan was extraordinary and the best match figures for the club for 40 years.
MVP: Without any question, the MVP for Northants this season has been Ben Duckett, is there any limit to this man’s ability? 1,338 runs at an average of a shade over 58 in Championship cricket, including 282 against Sussex has seen England come calling for the Bangladesh tour this winter – not to mention becoming the first cricketer to win both the PCA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards in the same year.
Low point of the season: In a largely successful season for the club, there were not too many low points. Losing on the last ball in the Quarter Final of the One-Day Cup was tough. Although the injury suffered by Olly Stone which ruled him out for the season whilst celebrating the wicket of Moeen Ali was a huge blow for the club.
Ones to watch for next season: In addition to Ben Duckett (who may find himself occupied on England duty), Ben Sanderson has impressed everyone in his return to professional cricket after playing in the minor counties league. Sanderson took 55 wickets at an average of 21 in the championship, including career-best figures of 8/73 in the victory against Gloucestershire, form which earned him a new three-year contract with the club.
Where do you need to strengthen next season?: With the loss of Olly Stone to Warwickshire, Northants look light in pace bowling without having to rely on the all-rounder Rory Kleinveldt to get through so many overs. The recent addition of Nathan Buck from Lancashire is a brilliant signing, but one more addition to the bowling attack could push Northants on to taking 20 wickets more regularly.
Hopes for next season?: For next season, I’d like to see Northants really push to turn more of the 9 draws they had this season into more wins and to compete near the top of division 2. The County ground has always been spin friendly so White, Keogh and Panesar may be the key to success next season. It is notoriously difficult to defend a title, but Northants will aim to once again be in the knockout stages with the white ball next season.
Describe your season in a sentence: Northamptonshire have once again proven the worth of good coaching, leadership and team spirit.
Review by Harry Hill (@HarryHill96)
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