Category: County cricket news (page 1 of 40)

A rather hasty July 21 County Championship round-up

What a headline.

Okay, let’s hustle through this unsatisfactorily before another Test match starts. In fact it occurs to us that the daily email comprising this particular post will go out at almost exactly the time the match starts. We really should plan ahead.

Never mind. The headline’s written. County Championship it is.

You could start with the table?

No. It’s too time consuming to do all the cropping and uploading and we’re in a hurry. All you really need to know is that Middlesex are still top and that they’re 13 points ahead of Durham who have a game in hand.

Where did Durham come from?

Assuming that’s not a poorly-worded geographical question, they rose after positively beating Lancashire.

Lancs have foolishly allowed The Great Neil Wagner to slip from their grasp and so frankly deserve everything they get. Keaton Jennings was at the centre of Durham’s successful fourth innings chase of 247. He is having a nice season.

Middlesex beat Somerset

James Fuller’s 93 batting at ten stands out as the defining contribution from this match.

Somerset beat Nottinghamshire

Remember when Nottinghamshire were good? They were 196-0 batting first and lost. How? A Marcus Trescothick double hundred, partly.

Surrey beat Hampshire

Remember when Surrey were rubbish? Everyone made a hundred and then one of those centurions, Gareth Batty, took a bunch of wickets.

A couple of draws

Not even going to mention which sides were involved. Can’t be bothered typing it out. All we’ll say is that they were good matches for Adams, with Wheater and Lyth both making double hundreds.

James Vince’s batting average in the second division, first division and Test cricket

We had a first look at James Vince in Test cricket and weren’t much impressed – but we did add the proviso that we don’t ascribe much value to debut performances anyway. We’ve had a few more looks now and we’re still not particularly impressed.

We generally find people’s decisiveness about relatively new players unsavoury and hasty, so let’s just say that we’re politely awaiting an innings that will persuade us of his worth. We hope it arrives. Don’t keep us waiting too long, Jim.

So with our non-judging position established, this is nevertheless the situation as it stands. After five innings – which is very few – Vince is averaging 14 in Test cricket. More worryingly, this fits a trend where he seems to average less in higher standards of cricket.

In 2013, Vince averaged 64 in first-class cricket. Very impressive. In 2014, he averaged 61. In both of those seasons, he was playing in the second division.

In large part thanks to those 2014 performances, Hampshire were promoted. Last season Vince averaged 33 in first-class cricket.

To be fair to him, this year he’s averaging near enough 40 in the first division (although he’s only actually passed 50 the once).

Moral of the story? How about three?

  • The first and second divisions of the County Championship are different standards of cricket
  • Batting averages only tell you what’s already happened, not what’s to come
  • Yasir Shah is okay at bowling

Only half of this week’s Division One County Championship matches were draws!

Does this make it the most resultsive week yet? Is this as much winnery and lossery as we’ve had? Has the staggering impact on the County Championship table bespoilt our internal dictionary?

Middlesex beat Yorkshire

This was the big result. Middlesex’s wise decision to finally play a match outside the South-East led to only their second non-draw of the season. Even better for them, they were the non-losers.

A Gary Ballance hundred for Yorkshire was matched by one from South African vessel, the SS Eskinazi, while James Franklin made 99. You rather suspect that Franklin got out deliberately because he still clings to the belief that he’s primarily a bowler.

After that came the important stuff as Yorkshire were bowled out for just 167 in their second innings. Who did the damage? Everyone. Tim Murtagh, Steven Finn, Toblerone Jones and Ollie Rayner shared the ten wickets out as evenly as could be expected considering there were four of them.

Middlesex are now top of the table, having won one game more than Hampshire, who are bottom.

Warwickshire beat Surrey

After Surrey’s bizarre and unprecedented decision to win a match last week, this was infinitely more reassuring. In fact it was such a normal result that Warwickshire’s success was built on a Jonathan Trott hundred, ten wickets for Jeetan Patel and a fifty for Ian Bell which had promised much more.

Lancashire drew with Nottinghamshire

Which means they’re second. Haseeb Hameed – who is just desperate for people to get his name wrong somehow – made another hundred, while pretty much every single Nottinghamshire player made between 40 and 70 runs.

The Great Neil Wagner put a proper shift in.

Durham drew with Hampshire

Another Keaton Jennings hundred, plus some other stuff.

Why haven’t you put the table in?

Quite honestly? We couldn’t be bothered.

Lancashire are a bit more top in the County Championship

We’ve missed a couple of rounds of the County Championship because (a) the matches took place after a big slab of shorter format stuff, (b) pretty much all the matches were draws so there wasn’t much to say, and (c) we’re feckless and unreliable.

Last time around, Lancashire had gone slightly top; equal on points with Yorkshire, but ahead on either wins or because of the alphabet – we’re not sure which.

Lancashire are now a bit more top. They thrashed Warwickshire 11 bonus points to 10 with Steven Croft, Haseeb Hameed and Liam Livingstone all making hundreds and then went down to Lord’s for that ground’s increasingly traditional rain delays. The marvellously-named Nick Gubbins made a double hundred for Middlesex and The Great Neil Wagner played both matches.

Yorkshire only played once (and drew) which means the table now looks like this.

County Championship - June 30, 2016

The only match to end in anything other than a draw in the last fortnight was Surrey v Nottinghamshire. Utterly bizarrely, Surrey won. Their two spinners, Gareth Batty and Zanzibar Fan Arsey shared 12 wickets in the match, which is quite a nice thing to happen in this day and age and seems a perfectly reasonable return for a team that’s willing to pick two spinners in the first place.

As for Nottinghamshire, they seem to have turned into one of those teams that’s good on paper but not on grass. This weekend they host Lancashire while Yorkshire will play Middlesex (and at Headingley, so they might actually get a game in).

Mop-up of the day – in, out and not out

An inadvertently topical but quite possibly inaccurate-by-the-morning headline for UK readers.


Anil Kumble’s… well, he’s not exactly back. He’s back in the public eye, we suppose. He’s India’s new coach.

Kumble is a hard, smart and determined man. Coaching India demands more than those qualities, but it’s a fair start.


Poor Nick Compton. For 20-odd years he’s worked towards being an England cricketer. Last week he was just such a thing. This week it seems rather obvious that he is not – and nor shall he ever be again.

That kind of thing is not easy to take. It’s the nature of top level sport, but to have played and been found wanting is nevertheless a crushing blow for the individual. Understandably, he isn’t quite sure what he’s doing any more. He’s taking a break from the game and who knows whether he’ll find a reason to return.

Not out

Earlier this season, we mentioned that Durham’s Keaton Jennings might have been one to watch this year if we still did such things. Today he denied Yorkshire what had seemed a highly likely win by making 221 not out in the second innings.

In fact, that score was sufficiently large that it was actually Durham who were pressing for victory towards the close, despite having conceded a sizeable first innings deficit.

Fortunately for Yorkshire, Tim Bresnan and Jack Leaning remained not out. Wonder whether the nation will follow their lead.

Is Rory Kleinveldt the archetypal South African pro?

As you may well have seen, Michael Lumb and Riki Wessels shared a 342-run partnership in a one-day game last night. Even more dispiritingly for the opposition, they did it as openers while batting first.

You could easily have been forgiven for thinking that the game was essentially over even before the fall of that first wicket, but Northamptonshire bounced back well, even if they couldn’t ultimately chase down Notts’ final total of 445. After falling to 206-5, Rory Kleinveldt came in and made 128 off 63 balls. He was batting with a runner due to a calf injury – although with 10 fours and nine sixes, there wasn’t an awful lot of running to be done.

Rory Kleinveldt is very, very South African indeed. If we try and imagine the archetypal South African county pro, he is in his early thirties, a solid seam bowler and capable of lower order batting that demands the description ‘muscular’. Muscular means fairly sloggy but somehow not suicidally so – enough to average about 20.

You’d expect such a player to have played a small handful of international fixtures and while you may sort of remember them being in the team, you won’t recall any specifics.

The ageing South African pro is also liable to be carrying a bit of extra heft. You would never call him Rory Kleinsvelte.

Hampshire’s innovative approach to losing ground on rivals

Uninformative lead-in paragraph. Brace yourselves. Uninspiring but undeniably informative subheading to come.

Middlesex v Hampshire

This was our favourite match this week, largely because Hampshire scored -1 points. They did actually score a point for taking three wickets in Middlesex’s first innings of 467 but were deducted two for bowling too slowly.

Excellent work, Hampshire.

Somerset v Surrey

Hampshire’s ability to cede ground against the odds was great news for Surrey who arguably put in the performance of the season to engineer a breathtaking defeat to Somerset.

Having taken a 162-run first innings lead after bowling out the home side for 102, Surrey subsequently did everything in their power to lose. Surrey’s match-losing powers are, apparently, phenomenal.

Bowled out for 138 they then permitted Somerset to reach their target of 301 with nine wickets down despite no batsman managing to make more than 56.

Excellent work, Surrey.

Nottinghamshire v Durham

This match was more like the classic 2016 first division fare we’ve come to expect – a big fat draw.

Scott Borthwick took eight wickets bowling leg-spin either side of scoring 188 not out. Scott Borthwick is playing dream cricket.

Excellent work, Scott Borthwick.

Yorkshire v Lancashire

We know as a Lancashire supporter that we’re supposed to get really upset when Lancashire lose to Yorkshire because of that whole bitter rivalry thing, but we can never really muster the emotion. The truth is, we quite like Yorkshire – not as much as Lancashire obviously, but easily enough to subdue tears.

This match pretty much confirmed that Yorkshire are the best team around. That might seem like an odd thing to say when their specialist batsmen mustered just 135 runs across two innings, but it’s striking that they still would have won had each of them made a pair.

Yorkshire have a lot of good cricketers. With a bit of batting and a bit of bowling, Adil Rashid and Tim Bresnan all but won this match on their own. Liam Livingstone couldn’t stop them. He made 60 not out in the first innings and now averages 70 in first-class cricket.

Excellent work, The Great Neil Wagner.

The table

Someone somewhere really needs to provide a way for us to embed this.

Screengrabs it is.

CC div 1, June 1

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.

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