Category: County cricket news (page 1 of 40)

Brummie Kryptonite and unbeaten failures – this week’s County Championship round-up

Let’s write a pointless opening sentence so that the formatting doesn’t look quite so weird when we give the Warwickshire v Durham game its own subheading.

Warwickshire v Durham

Warwickshire were very much on top after two days, but somehow, after making 313 and bowling Durham out for 190, they contrived to lose. How did this happen?

It’s tempting to say that Josh Poysden is some sort of Brummie Kryptonite. He joined the Bears team at that point and you could argue that he dragged them down.

Or maybe it was psychology. Having Chris Woakes, a good batsman, open in the second innings in the knowledge that he was about to be replaced by Poysden, a shit batsman, was taking the piss a bit. We wouldn’t be surprised if that added to Durham resolve. It can also be a challenge for the guilty side to play remorselessly when they’ve doubtless got a nagging sense that they’re in the wrong.

Rather more prosaically, the guy who took 9-36 in the first innings left the match midway through to go and meet up with the England squad. No matter how well they’d bowled ‘as a unit’ Warwickshire’s other bowlers had only actually managed one wicket between them in that first innings and weren’t much more toothy in the second.

For Durham, Keaton Jennings made another handy hundred. Perhaps we’d make him ‘one to watch’ if we did that kind of thing.

Lancashire v Surrey

Warwickshire are third and Durham move to second. Both are behind Lancashire, who are making the most of the North’s dry season this year. Doubtless they’ll fall back come the August rains, but for now they’re ten points clear.

Their latest win was built around a sterling performance by The Great Neil Wagner, who took 3-52 and 2-17. He was ably supported by Kyle Jarvis who took 11 wickets in the match and Alviro Petersen who made a ton.

For their part, Surrey are quite bad at cricket.

Hampshire v Nottinghamshire

Hampshire won despite none of their players doing anything particularly noteworthy. Tino Best got a four-for. That’s something – although Harry Gurney got nine in the match for the losing side.

Somerset v Middlesex

Two of the first division’s unbeaten sides continued their proud tradition of failing to win or lose a match this season. Middlesex are getting close though. They’ve mostly been rained off during their tour of the South-East in recent weeks but this time, at Lord’s, they were merely struck down by bad light.

Sam Robson made 99. Nick Gubbins made 109. We’d include more details but the Cricinfo scorecard we were looking at has gone invisible and won’t rematerialise even with a refresh.

Hereby we declare this week’s County Championship Division One round-up over.

Samit Patel is a big fat loser – a majestic, admirable, envied, big fat loser (plus a round-up of this week’s other first division matches)

If respect were something tangible and delicious rather than an abstract concept, Samit Patel earned more of it than even he could eat this week. He also won the battle of the Patels. What he did not win was ‘the match for Nottinghamshire against Warwickshire’.

The man Kevin Pietersen calls Sandwich Patel made 124 out of his side’s fourth innings 173 all out, hitting Jeetan Patel for seven sixes in the process. Chris Wright – one of those dull-named county players you can never quite remember – eventually got him and Warwickshire won.

Another win!

The outstanding performer in the Durham v Lancashire match was The Great Neil Wagner, who returned figures of 0-89 and 0-28. Durham’s Scott Borthwick also played quite well and made a hundred in each innings. This week was also the first occasion we’ve called him ‘Scott Borthwick’ without first calling him ‘Steve Borthwick‘ and then correcting ourself. Clearly he’s gone up a level.

Durham won. Some dude called Barry McCarthy took a five-for in the first innings. McCarthy is the youngest Barry we know of. But then he is Irish.

Draws everywhere else in the first division

Still not bad though. Two results last week and two more this week and we’re actually getting somewhere. Sadly for Somerset, there were altogether too many runs for a result against Yorkshire. James Hildreth continues to make hundreds for them, while Adam Lyth got one for the visitors.

After being rained off in Hampshire a fortnight ago and rained off at home last week, Middlesex headed all the way to Surrey in the hope of finding some good weather. They were rained off. Ollie Rayner – who has somehow accelerated to the age of 30 at some point very recently – took six wickets between the deluges.

Das table

That’s German for ‘the table’. (It isn’t, and while we could easily look up the correct translation, it seems to make far more sense not to.)

  1. Warwickshire – 67
  2. Yorkshire – 66
  3. Lancashire – 62

Lancashire still have a game in hand though. It’s also worth pointing out that they’ve only drawn one game. Somerset and Middlesex have both drawn five.

Reading this back, it probably would have been more accurate to label this section ‘some of das table’ – but what can you do? You can’t edit things on the internet, can you?

Can you?

Where next for Chris Woakes?


Photo by Sarah Ansell

Chris Woakes played in England’s last Test. He dismissed Stephen Cook for 115. Now he’s out of the team and out of the squad.

England like the idea of Woakes, but they don’t like that idea enough to commit to giving him a long run in the side. It’s understandable. When he does play, he rarely seems to take any wickets.

Sometimes he bowls badly. More often he bowls well but still doesn’t take wickets. The first Test of that South Africa tour was a prime example. Like an angry bad driver gesticulating at another motorists, Woakes can often seem to be all threat, no follow-up.

Woakes’ first-class record is exceptional, but it’s not easy to see him making it back into England’s Test team as an opening bowler. They’ve flirted with him, but there’s now too much distrust for a proper relationship. Does that mean his England ambitions are over? There are other jobs in the team. A dull and dutiful line bowler who swings it a bit can be a handy thing to have, particularly if that player can also bat. Woakes can definitely bat.

Yesterday, against Nottinghamshire, he made 121, batting at seven and if he’s keen to play Test cricket for England, maybe he should ask to go in earlier. It’s important to know your niche. A fourth seamer who can bat should probably try and do as much batting as he can, while an irreverent cricket site with no real authority should probably steer clear of making suggestions about how marginal England players should go about their game.

They’re finally using robots to promote cricket tournaments


About time.

This particular robot’s got flames for eyes and is, quite frankly, a bit of a tosser.

Also keep an eye out for the guy who doesn’t know how to clap. That’s our favourite bit.

Assuming embedding doesn’t work in the email – because it never does – here’s a link so that you know what we’re on about.

Cricket was played either side of the Pennines – a County Championship round-up

It was an uncharacteristically eventful week by the standards of the 2016 County Championship with two whole wins in the first division.

Two losses as well, we suppose.

The wins/losses

After three successive draws, Yorkshire soared like a heron to their habitual place at the top of the table. Surrey kept pace with them for an innings and a third, at which point Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow happened. Yorkshire then shared the wickets about en route to an innings victory.

Lancashire soared like an-ever-so-slightly fatter heron to second place after an innings victory of their own over Hampshire. The Great Neil Wagner made the decisive contribution with two wickets in the match and he was ably assisted by James Anderson (six wickets) and Luke Procter (137 runs and three wickets) before Simon Kerrigan exploited arid springtime conditions to take 5-59.

Lancashire are one point behind Yorkshire, but have a game in hand.

The draws

It pissed it down at Lord’s and they got through barely much more than a day’s play. You already know about Sam Robson’s hundred, so we won’t mention that.

It also pissed it down at Edgbaston and they played even less. Boy-faced Tom Willingon Abell made a ton.

Yes of course Willingon is a real name and yes of course Abell’s really called that.

The table

We’ve already talked you through this so this section’s basically redundant. Nottinghamshire are third if you want us to go all ‘in-depth analysis’ about things.

A hatful of willow

Will Smith just got off the mark from the 43rd delivery he faced. Hampshire are currently careering along at 1.25 runs an over knowing that the rain that has hit the rest of the country will soon arrive in Manchester.

So far, this round of County Championship matches has been more eventful than the last – so eventful, in fact, that we feel moved to do a mini round-up midway through. It’s not very focused, hence the vague headline.

Lancashire managed to get a first innings lead of almost 350, which is quite some feat from a side who haven’t shown any real taste for run-scoring in recent years. Clearly, they have been greatly inspired by the arrival of The Great Neil Wagner.

Warwickshire v Somerset threatens to end in something other than a draw. The home team have been asked to make 322 to win – not an outrageous total, but more than were scored in any of the first three innings.

Over in Yorkshire, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow have been underlining that for all that the first division of the County Championship is closer to Test cricket than the second division, it’s still not exactly a terraced housing neighbour. It’s more of a detached neighbour with a very high hedge who votes a different way to you. Root made a quick double hundred and Bairstow basically did. Surrey’s attack has been given a bit of a slap by two England certainties.

It underlines the feeling that you’d really like to see potential England players tearing county cricket to pieces rather than ‘doing well’ or ‘making a strong case for inclusion’. Down at Lord’s, Sam Robson has made his third hundred of the season. They’ve all been on his home ground, but top order rival and team-mate Nick Compton has been bumbling along not really doing much of anything by way of contrast.

Considering they won their last Test series, the next England team remains remarkably uncertain.

North v South one-day series is the future of county cricket

Counties or franchises? Let’s discard both and instead play endless North v South matches.

Imagine the crowds. Nothing gets people in like a rivalry and this new series has the potential to divide the nation. They’ll have to properly define North and South first, but all it will take is a shibboleth. How do you pronounce ‘bath’? How do you pronounce ‘butter’?

The Southerners could wear top or bowler hats in the field. The Northerners would wear flat caps. Fans will adopt the same attire and there’ll be Gangs of New York style fighting in the streets.

Then the Aussies will come over and everyone will shake hands, apologise and boil the kettle, before settling down for a nice patronising snigger at the tourists’ increasingly rampant metrosexuality.


A veritable smorgasbord of draws in the latest exciting instalment of the 2016 County Championship

This week’s matches varied incredibly. We had fraught, tense, hard-fought draws; ambling draws that were obvious from a mile out; and everything in between. The 2016 County Championship is not yet proving to be a competition in which people win cricket matches.

The fraught, tense, hard-fought draw

Yorkshire gamely went after a tough fourth innings target after Chris Read had gritted, nurdled and punched a hundred from number seven. In so doing, they almost capitulated. But they didn’t. It was a draw.

The other three matches

In Surrey v Durham, Ben Stokes took seven wickets on a pitch where 457 was followed by 607-7 and then 244-6. It’s not really worth paying attention to who made runs because it was basically everyone. The match finished in a draw.

We presume it rained during Hampshire v Middlesex. Both teams batted at three an over, made moderate totals, but ran out of time to resolve things. It was a draw.

Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone made a hundred in his second match after making 70 on his debut the other week. Sadly, even The Great Neil Wagner couldn’t prevent quadragenarian Somerset opener Marcus Trescothick from batting out the match in partnership with the youthful tricenarian, Chris Rogers.



Nottinghamshire were on telly this week, so we got to see a bit more of Jake Ball. Just as we suspected when we read that he was ‘the brisk side of fast-medium,’ he actually appears to be ‘resolutely fast-medium’.

This is okay though. He’s tall and appears to swing and seam it without flitting between good balls and toss ones, so he’s still got plenty going for him. We were hoping he’d have everything going for him, but we hope for a lot of things and almost none of them come to pass.

One time we hoped that there was still water in the kettle and there was. That’s the only positive outcome we can think of off the top of our head.

Highlight of the week

With each passing replay, we had less and less of an idea what the actual balls Jonny Bairstow did to a delivery from Stuart Broad on the final day of the Notts v Yorkshire match. Dropping down on one knee, he seemingly wrist-swept an offside wide through midwicket. For six.

It was a kind of flat-batted flamingo shot played with entirely immobile arms. How he propelled it beyond the ropes is entirely beyond comprehension.

This seems a bit of a wishy-washy doubt-filled way to end proceedings, so we’re instead going to try and add a more definitive note of finality by writing ‘the end’.

The end.

Except it isn’t, because you never said who was top of the table

Nottinghamshire. By a point from Warwickshire, who are two points ahead of Middlesex. Lancashire are a further point back but with a game in hand.

We knew we’d forgotten something. Doing the top-of-the-table thing is a good way to finish as well. We really are going to have to start remembering it before we first click ‘publish’.

Alastair Cook in the second division of the County Championship

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Photo by Sarah Ansell

We always say that the second division of the County Championship doesn’t count. Hopefully it’s obvious that this is rhetoric.

Our exaggerated stance is not borne of a belief that the cricket played is worthless, but of a perception that some still haven’t quite accepted that it is in any way a lower standard. The sport isn’t always swift on the uptake. When MCC voted on whether or not to allow female members in 1998, it took two votes before the ‘modernisers’ got their way.

We’ve had two divisions for almost as long, but there are still plenty of people who will cite a ‘first-class’ average when pushing the international case of a particular second division player. Alastair Cook has tried to put such figures in perspective so far this season. He has played four County Championship matches and only failed to make a hundred in the first of them, when he made 65 in his only innings.

At the time of writing, he is averaging 156. He is playing in the same match as Moeen Ali, who is averaging 210.

Cook is an exceptional individual, but it’s worth remembering this kind of thing the next time you read an article in which so-and-so’s said to be making waves after averaging 44 – or, more likely, after they’ve made a hundred during a season in which they’re not even averaging that.

Cook’s clearly seeing them well in the second division, so he’ll be hopeful of performing well when he returns to the nets with England.

Last week’s County Championship cricket was even less consequential than the week before

At least last time around someone won. Halcyon days.

Out of the three draws in the latest round of matches, the points scored ranged from Middlesex’s 10 to Warwickshire and Surrey’s 13. Surrey v Somerset was the only fixture to reach the fourth innings and Durham v Middlesex didn’t even get halfway through the second.

Player of the week

Ooh, let’s go with Adil Rashid. Not because he made 63 and then took four wickets, but simply because he actually managed to grip the ball at all. Here’s a picture of him wearing lots of clothes.

Anything else to report?



Oh, wait. We should probably say something about the table too.

Warwickshire are now top. Quite what this means is anyone’s guess being as they’ve played 50 per cent more matches than Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire in second and third and three times as many as Lancashire in fourth.

Surrey are bottom, obviously.

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