Category: County cricket news (page 1 of 44)

Video: How Ben Coad takes his wickets

The ECB doesn’t get everything right when it comes to social media. Earlier this week, they captioned an Alastair Cook highlights reel “Terrific to watch!” which is palpably untrue.

But at least they do sneak out nice bite-sized chunks of County Championship footage these days.

Here’s Ben Coad taking ten wickets against Warwickshire last week. You can learn a surprisingly large amount about a player in 24 seconds.

We can also draw some conclusions about the nature of the County Championship compared to the IPL from this video.

In the Championship, the crucial action typically takes place behind the batsman, whereas in the IPL it is more common to see significant moments occur in front of him.

The IPL also has more cameras.

Other than that, everything’s exactly the same.

Exactly the same.


Great performances from Shiv, Coad, Footitt and no-one from Warwickshire, no-one whatsoever

Champo table

Screen-grabbed Championship table. Ain’t you a bunch of lucky basts.

Surrey v Lancashire

Surrey remain top of the table despite not having done anything of consequence. Mark Footitt continued being worth watching by again taking five wickets, Lancashire’s Shivnarine Chanderpaul continued being a majestic agglomeration of elbows and knees, and three other players also made hundreds while being far less interesting cricketers. Match drawn.

Hampshire v Middlesex

Middlesex still look well capable of gnarling out a load of runs and so will probably do well this season on that basis. Hampshire performed similarly, but only batted once so maybe they would have folded second innings. Kyle Abbott took a five-for in Middlesex’s second innings. He should probably be reserve seamer for South Africa. Match drawn.

Warwickshire v Yorkshire

Did Warwickshire make the most of home advantage? What if the answer’s yes? 77-7 in the first innings was, it turns out, a pretty tidy start because they were at one point 54-8 in the second. Ben Coad – which is also the name of a hill in Scotland – took five wickets in each innings for Yorkshire, which is pretty bloody good from anyone. Bres the Bat hit a fifty. Not entirely surprisingly given all of these facts, Yorkshire won.

Somerset v Essex

At some point Essex’s wafer thin attack is going to be too knackered to achieve anything. We’re adamant about this. However, for now they have The Great Neil Wagner running in hard, hitting the deck hard and taking wickets… hard. Plus they have Alastair Cook unencumbered by anything at all really. You can get a long way in life/cricket with both The Great Neil Wagner and Alastair Cook at your disposal. For their part Somerset have Roelof Van Der Merwe. Somerset lost.


County Championship Round Two – not even going to pretend to pass this off as a preview

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Photo by Sarah Ansell

We had at least one dissatisfied reader last week who seemed to be labouring under the misapprehension that we might have been looking to offer “insight”.

There’ll be none of that here.

Surrey v Lancashire

Surrey, just 22 points above the relegation zone, would do well to focus on gaining a few bonus points against unbeaten Lancashire.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul will be playing for Lancs and if Dane Vilas can somehow resist the temptation to call him through for a single that’s never there for the first week in succession, the Guyanan should secure victory for his side. Weirdly, Liam Livingstone will be captain.

Surrey should field Mark Footitt plus ten other blokes. If they even so much as look like winning, keep an eye out for those “it could be Surrey’s year” articles.

Yes, it could. Of course it could.

Hampshire v Middlesex

Middlesex have endured a diabolical start to the season and are currently propping up the table. Hampshire will also be playing.

Somerset v Essex

After cowarding out of a confrontation with Jimmy Anderson last week, Alastair Cook has recovered from his sore hip. Providing he doesn’t come down with the sniffles or an acute need for a bit of a lie-down, he will presumably open the batting.

Marcus Trescothick will open for Somerset. We’re keen to see whether he looks even more like a cuddly supply teacher this year, as this seems to be a look he’s moving towards (albeit a cuddly supply teacher who can crunch straight drives like no-one else).

Warwickshire v Yorkshire

Both teams lost last week and no-one else has, so this is officially Battle of the Losers.

Warwickshire currently boast one point from one match, which is the kind of form that second division Durham, who are currently on minus 48, can only aspire to.

Our analysis of Yorkshire’s first match of the season is that they made a bollocks of it.


Mark Footitt and some other stuff: a review of the first round of the County Championship

The first round of the County Championship is over. Here are some of the things that happened.

Hampshire beat Yorkshire

This match was one for true connoisseurs of momentum in cricket. Hampshire had all the momentum when Yorkshire fell to 152-7 in their first innings, but momentum being momentum, it wasn’t long before the home team had recovered to 273 all out.

From there, Ben Coad made Hampshire be losing at the cricketings, bowling them out for 141. The momentum was clearly now with Yorkshire. Or at least it was until Kyle Abbott did a Ben Coad and bowled them out for 187. Hampshire then sashayed to their target for the loss of just six wickets.

Marks Stoneman and Footitt v Jonathan Trott

Ex-Durham batsman Mark Stoneman made 165 for Surrey and then ex-Derbyshire bowler (and one to watch) Mark Footitt doused Warwickshire in petrol and lit them. After that, Jonathan Trott killed some time by making a hundred but Warwickshire still lost by an innings and a run.

The result means that a certain corner of the cricket press has leapt into “this could be Surrey’s year” mode. This happens a lot. The last time there was a groundswell of excitement, they got relegated. Technically, it could be their year though.

Lancashire may or may not have beaten Essex

We were going to wait until seeing the result before writing our review. That seemed to make sense. But then we suddenly decided we didn’t want to.

Dane Vilas ran Shiv out. That was the main thing that happened in this match. He partially made up for this by making a load of runs, but unforgiveable acts are unforgiveable, so we won’t be forgiving him.

Lancashire’s wicketkeeper Alex Davies made a second innings hundred opening the batting. This probably means that Jos Buttler will return to the side later in the year in a charity case sort of a role, batting at seven and not keeping wicket, purely so that Lancs don’t get told off by England for not picking him.

We can’t see Essex winning many games this year. They don’t seem to have enough bowlers.


Who is Ben Coad, Yorkshire’s new strike bowler?

Earlier this week, Ben Coad was just some dude; some dude called Ben Coad; a young bowler whose Cricinfo profile page has him down as a ‘workhorse seamer’.

A couple of days into the county season and he’s Ben Coad, strike bowler.

He finished the first day with 5-18 off eight overs as Yorkshire’s wobbly start receded from memory in precisely the way things rapidly recede from memory in this day and age.

He continued, albeit slightly less spectacularly, on day two and finished with 6-37.

Coad is from the miniature city of Ripon and from what we’ve read seems disinclined to concede runs. The only other fact we’ve managed to glean is that his nickname is Coady – and quite frankly, we could have guessed that.

Suggested nicknames for Ben Coad:

  • Coad Breaker
  • Coad Red
  • Coadeine
  • Bar Coad
  • Coadependent Personality Disorder

A preview of the first round of County Championship matches?

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Don’t expect us to ever do this again – and not just because the competition will, by definition, be moving onto the second round of matches next week.

Essex v Lancashire

This is the only one anyone really cares about, because everyone supports Lancashire. That’s what our empathy tells us. It tells us that if we were in your position, we’d support Lancashire. Why would we support someone else just because we were in your position? What would that change?

The big news is of course that The Great Neil Wagner will not be playing for Lancashire this season, which will be a tremendous loss. The situation is compounded this first week by the fact that he’s playing for Essex instead. All of Essex’s wicket-taking bowlers have retired due to acute old age, so they’ll need him.

Lancashire meanwhile might have Jimmy Anderson at their disposal. We can’t remember. We read which matches he was likely to be playing somewhere, but honestly, who can keep track of that stuff?

Prediction: Lancashire can’t lose because Shivnarine Chanderpaul is playing for them.

Yorkshire v Hampshire

Yorkshire may or may not have Australia’s Peter Handscomb playing for them. Honestly, who can keep track of these things?

South Africa’s B-team have some Hampshire players making up the numbers. They may or may not have George Bailey playing for them too. Honestly, who can keep track of these things.

Prediction: Either team could lose as neither has Shivnarine Chanderpaul playing for them.

Surrey v Warwickshire

It’s a surprising-but-true fact that Surrey remain a first division side. They have signed Durham’s top order to try and extend that unlikely record for another year.

The Warwickshire side increasingly comprises high-achieving available-for-all-matches county stalwarts like Keith Barker, Rikki Clarke, Jeetan Patel, Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott. You’d think they’d win more than they actually do.

Prediction: Either team could lose as neither has Shivnarine Chanderpaul playing for them.


As the IPL and County Championship loom into view, which fantasy cricket game is best?

telegraph-fantasy-cricket

If there’s one thing we like about fantasy cricket leagues, it’s eking out our few remaining fantasy points/doubloons over half a dozen all-but-unknown cricketers to complete our XI after going a bit overboard with our first two selections and an unsuccessful attempt to rein things in a bit with the next three.

If there’s one thing we don’t like about fantasy cricket leagues, it’s paying close attention to how our team is getting on as the season progresses. We don’t want to feel any sort of obligation to do ‘transfers’ to maximise our point-scoring. We just want to pick a team and then passively monitor them, checking in on them about once a fortnight and perhaps bemoaning the fact that our entire bowling attack is either injured or performing so poorly that they are no longer playing first team cricket. This to us is the whole point – the helplessness and underperformance.

That’s what we’ve been on the lookout for today: a kind of hands-off fantasy game that will if not exactly reward inactivity, then at least not punish it. They don’t really do this. They seem to want to you to repeatedly log in and do stuff. It’s almost as if that is the very thing they’re striving for with these games.

So, in summary, the best fantasy cricket game is all of them, right up until the point you submit your side. Our tactical withdrawal game-playing strategy also brings with it the benefit that you don’t have to pay anyone any money or give them your email address or owt.


County cricketers to watch 2017

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Photo by Sarah Ansell

We stopped doing this in 2014 because we always seemed to end up picking much the same bunch of players as the year before with perhaps one or two replacements. In short, it had become a bit boring and whenever we threw a leftfield selection into the mix to liven things up a bit, all we ever succeded in doing was making a mockery of the whole enterprise.

But after a couple of fallow years, we now feel like we can return afresh, so here’s a bunch of names to kick around.

Liam Livingstone, Lancashire

Has been pretty much monopolising the pre-season going-to-be-an-England-player-by-the-end-of-summer columns off the back of a strong Lions tour and the coaches’ knowing winks to journalists. Looks toss, but makes runs, which as you all know, is precisely what we look for in a batsman.

Nick Gubbins, Middlesex

Makes loads of runs.

Yorkshire’s opening batsmen, Yorkshire

The ALs – Adam Lyth and the alphabet-straddling AZ Lees – have taken different routes to nondescript competence. Lyth averaged 40.46 in the County Championship last year, Lees averaged 40.17. We can’t imagine either of them will play for England any time soon, but we’re interested to see them jockey for position. Surely someone has to nose ahead.

Tim Bresnan, Yorkshire

He made fewer runs, but a compelling case can be made for Tim Bresnan having been a more effective batsman than either of his top order colleagues last season.

Bres the Bat, who was last sighted before his England career even began, seemed to make a return in 2016 and if he only made the one hundred, we described his bonus point securing knock in the final match of the season as “a quite majestic innings of sturdy clomping.”

So yes, Tim Bresnan is one to watch in 2017 – on the basis of his batting. If he continues as he did last year and bowls as he can, we truly believe he could become a County Titan – whatever the hell that might mean.

Closer scrutiny means we may also be able to draw some sort of conclusion regarding whether or not he’s a bellend. We’re still erring on the side of ‘not’ – but let’s see.

Jack Leach, Somerset

We couldn’t for the life of us work out why we couldn’t find the article we wrote last year about how Leach isn’t some sort of saviour. Then we realised that it was because we’d for some reason decided he was called Joe. We’ve since reversed this decision as there’s already a cricketer called Joe Leach and things will only get confusing if we insist on calling Jack Leach by someone else’s name even though he’s got a perfectly serviceable one of his own.

Ollie Rayner, Middlesex

Rayner and Leach are both spinners who take sizeable hummocks of wickets at a decent average and may or may not be really good.

Mark Footitt, Surrey

England people don’t seem to think Mark Footitt is quite good enough for England, yet e bowls quickly using his wrong hand and his career average is 25.51.


Free-to-air cricket debate is short-sighted in the internet age

There’s been a few headlines about the possibility of some free-to-air cricket off the back of the ECB’s proposed new T20 league. People get excited about this sort of thing, but the whole point of free-to-air is that it opens up a larger market, yet this is a form of media which is of rapidly diminishing importance.

How many people will be watching conventional forms of TV by 2020, which is when the tournament is due to take place? Whatever free-to-air channel wins these rights may also broadcast via some sort of internet player, but it seems to odd to us that this is secondary and not the focus itself.

We saw one report on the tournament last night – which has since been edited – which floated the possibility of an online stream to which cricket fans could directly subscribe. We were briefly excited about the prospect, but then the end of the sentence revealed that this would only be available to overseas viewers.

Why?

Last month we wrote about how more and more people are streaming live cricket via Kodi or other online applications. It’s a mistake to think this is happening purely for reasons of cost. In many cases it’s because it’s more convenient, or because it’s literally the only way of accessing the matches you want to see.

The software is arguably not yet sufficiently mainstream to warrant serious consideration, but what will the situation be three years hence? The concept of a sport-specific subscription at reduced cost to the consumer – because they wouldn’t also be paying for darts, biathlon, motor racing or the broadcaster’s hardware – makes sense to us.

A broader cricket app could even serve as a hub from which individual matches could be ordered. That might typically be for a fee, but it could also be free of charge if the broadcaster in question could find a way of funding the broadcast through advertising or reduced outlay on rights.

The ECB seems keen to make at least some of their domestic T20 matches easily and freely accessible. Perhaps in 2020 the place where people will go looking for such a thing is in the ‘free sport’ category within their online TV application.


Everyone’s going mental about Hampshire’s Mason Crane

Despite his name, Mason Crane is not some kind of specialist stoneworking construction vehicle. No, HE IS A DESTRUCTION… person.

Crane is a 20-year-old leg-spinner who boasts the customary English leg-spinner’s first-class bowling average of 39. Things have changed over the winter though and from now on you’re going to start noticing everyone going mental about him.

This post gives you the opportunity to get in early. Forewarned, you can be ahead of the game and deploy your jaded cynicism from the outset.

Crane went to Australia this winter and hung out with Stuart MacGill. He played grade cricket, took three seven-wicket hauls on the bounce and was picked by New South Wales. He took 2-50 and 3-66 for them.

After that, he headed to the UAE for the North v South series. In the third match, he ripped out the North’s three, four, five and six in a spell of 4-1, which you can see highlights of here.

Pitches vary, but the drift hints that he is – in standard cricket parlance – giving it a rip, which can only be a good thing.

Having hopped straight over the bandwagon, our current position is that leg-spinners are never really fit for purpose at the age of 20, but Crane appears to have made rapid progress over the winter and we’re keen to see him do well this coming season.

We may remount the bandwagon at some point further down the line, so we’re just going to leave today’s article behind as a marker to prove that we’ve already been aboard.


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