4/16/2018 0 Comments
by Mark Kidger (@MarkFromMadrid)
Let’s start with the bad news. Despite the optimistic noises, the Yorkshire v Essex game was called-off well before the start of play. There had been some hope that there might be a game under one innings rules for games that start with less than four sessions to play, with extra overs added to make up for those lost, but not even that could rescue this disaster for the White Rose. As Yorkshire’s university warm-up was also washed-out, there has been no play at all so far this season at Leeds. Andrew Gale is confident that the warm, dry weather expected this week, the game against Notts starting Friday will go ahead. That there is even a question about a game not starting for another four days is embarrassing enough. The club say that the water table is so high after three months of solid rain that there was no chance of the ground draining, but not everyone is happy with the explanations offered. This is the first abandonment at Leeds without a ball bowled in the Championship since 1967!
The two promoted sides enjoyed differing fortunes on their returns to the top division. Worcestershire reinforced their status as favourites to go straight back down – they are the original yo-yo side who have gone up and down constantly since two divisions were introduced – with a huge defeat to Hants at the Rose Bowl. Starting at 59-3, chasing 324, they needed a major miracle and a couple of minor ones to get anywhere near the target and had no answer to the pace of Fidel Edwards and Kyle Abbott. The end was quick. When Tongue and Mitchell both fell in the fourth over of the morning the word must have been sent to the catering staff to get cracking on with preparing lunch. Head and Rhodes slowed down the preparation of the soup for a while, before another rapid clatter of wickets occurred, before the tenth wicket pair held out for ten overs, showing that conditions were not impossible. On this showing, it may be a long season for the Pears.
In contrast, Notts wrapped up their win in quick time, but not before a bizarre final day. When Lancashire started at 58-2, with England hopefuls Jennings and Livingstone at the crease, a draw seemed a real possibility. Instead, mayhem ensued – it seems that the players had decided that it was unfair that Division 2 bowlers should have all the fun – and the dismissal of Jennings to the third ball of the morning led to an astonishing 12 wickets falling for just 25 runs. Lancashire’s last eight wickets fell for just fifteen, as Harry Gurney and Jake Ball proceeded like a major tsunami: 10-5-14-4 for Ball, 12.2-5-25-6 for Gurney. Chasing ten to win, Notts were in major strife at 9-4, with Mennie and Onions almost unplayable, before Rikki Wessels guided Graeme Onions for the winning single. One could almost hear Dave Bracegirdle start to breathe again in the commentary box…
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