Category: County cricket news (page 1 of 46)

So the County Championship’s over then

Essex take the field (via Twitter)

Honestly, you take the trouble to inform people how things stand in the County Championship and the damn thing only goes and gets itself decided five minutes later.

Essex won their match by an innings and let’s not bother getting too mathematical about what Lancashire would need to do to to draw out what is clearly inevitable. Let’s face it. Essex are going to win.

After the first round of matches, we said we couldn’t see them winning many games this year. “They don’t seem to have enough bowlers,” was our reasoning.

After two matches, we revised this view. “At some point Essex’s wafer thin attack is going to be too knackered to achieve anything. We’re adamant about this.”

By the end of May, we were saying: “We may have to stop thinking of Essex as being inked in for relegation what with their currently being top of the table and all.”

They’ve pretty much stayed there every since.

We still think they’ve got a wafer thin attack, but it is apparently a very robust wafer and rather more effective than we knew.

Jamie Porter was the big surprise to us – he has taken 64 wickets at 17.85. Simon Harmer has also done way better than expected and has picked up 63 wickets at 20.19.

Lancashire will doubtless be wishing that they’d managed to retain the services of The Great Neil Wagner as he is Essex’s next highest wicket-taker with 24 (albeit at 41.37). His locum, Mohammad Amir, took 14 wickets in three matches at 13.50.

Who else? Um, Ravi Bopara has 12 wickets at 40, some fella called Samuel Cook took six wickets – as did Matthew Quinn and Aaron Beard – while a bunch of people have taken three.

It’s hard to avoid the feeling that Essex have won the County Championship with half a bowling attack.

The moral of the story is that if you’re going to rely on two bowlers, make sure they’re bloody effective and just hope to hell that neither of them gets injured.

What in the name of all that is good and pure is going on in the County Championship?

Nice bit of SEO there. Anyone searching “what in the name of all that is good and pure is going on in the County Championship” is now highly likely to end up on this page. In your face, Google algorithm. [Watches the ad revenue roll in.]

Yes, it’s the time of year when we all return our gaze to the County Championship having been momentarily distracted by Test matches, holidays and the like. Many people will be finding themselves asking “so what the hell’s going on then?”

Yes, what the hell IS going on?

There are three matches to go, including the ones currently underway.

Essex have a bit of a buffer over Lancashire in that they could go wholly pointless in one match and still remain top of the table. Hampshire are another good chunk further behind in third.

At the bum end of the table, Warwickshire haven’t yet hit triple figures. Two teams will go down.

Is that table above accurate?

No. It’s out of date. We think it’s from just before the latest round of matches.

Actually, we screengrabbed it midway through the afternoon session. We don’t imagine they’d have updated it with bonus points from the latest round of matches, but you never know.

Any big matches to watch out for?

Essex are currently playing Warwickshire in a head v bum match. Somerset are playing Lancashire in a similar sort of match that doesn’t lend itself to anatomy in quite the same way.

Other than that, no match is obviously more important than any other, which actually means that most have something riding on them.

Any players to watch out for?

We went with these guys earlier in the season.

If we’re talking about those who’ve helped their team to near the top of the table, little-known young bucks Alastair Cook and Shivnarine Chanderpaul have been making plenty of runs. (We presume Cook will play another couple of games for Essex.)

Bowling-wise, Jamie Porter and Simon Harmer – both of Essex – are the top wicket takers, while Ryan McLaren has been doing the heavy lifting for Lancashire.

Oh, and Neil Wagner’s back is back for Essex, along with the rest of him.

Anything else?

No, not really.

So why did you go to the trouble of including the subheading?

Don’t know.

Haseeb Hameed might carry his bat

England are still very much in the market for a Test opener, you feel. Mark Stoneman is making a fist of things, but they’d quite like another top order batsman or two to take to Australia.

At the time of writing, Lancashire are four wickets down but Haseeb Hameed is still holding firm. We wouldn’t bet against him carrying his bat – although neither would we put much money on him breaching 20 even if he manages it.

When Shivnarine Chanderpaul makes 23 of the runs in a 24-run partnership, you can be fairly certain that the guy at the other end hasn’t really been looking to impose himself on the bowlers.

Doubtless this is the right approach though. Haseeb Hameed is not a blocker, so if he’s playing that way then it’s surely for very good reason.

2017 Twenty20 Finals Day – most of the story in scorecards

Notts win T20 Blast (via ECB)

We rather love Twenty20 finals day, which has always seemed to strike a good balance between elite sport and village fete.

A lot of short format competitions seem to be striving for the po-faced tribalism of football, but the annual climax of the original has always erred on the side of fun. It’s a day-long festival centred on cricket. There are worse things in the world. Like AIDS.

You probably didn’t need an example.

We only managed to follow this year’s edition via the intermittent checking of scorecards. In a world of video clips, Twitter and live blogs, it was a refreshing experience. There’s something to be said for telling the story to yourself based wholly on a bunch of numbers.

We see Samit Patel did well, which is never a bad thing, and so did Steven Mullaney. We’re afraid that no matter what he does in his career, the latter will always be the guy whose mum’s his biggest supporter.

We’re also aware that the Natwest lady jammed her angular trophy into Dan Christian’s eye at the post-match presentation.

The one thing we couldn’t find was a scorecard for the mascots race, so if someone could fill us in on how that one played out, we’d really appreciate it.

Arrow stopped play at The Oval

As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t fire arrows at people – or indeed anywhere near them. It is what is known as “very dangerous”.

Someone fired an arrow into the middle of the Surrey v Middlesex match today.

Here’s the arrow.

Cricketers don’t wear armour. That thing would absolutely tear through a cable-knit sweater, so everyone went off.

Any of you say “that’s a crossbow bolt, not an arrow,” you’re missing the bigger picture here, which is that medieval projectiles shouldn’t barge their way into cricket matches uninvited.

Shahid Afridi made a T20 hundred yesterday

And everyone is, as usual, missing the point.

Shahid Afridi is the least T20 cricketer to have ever graced the format. Here’s why.

The best part about Jack Leaning’s catch

Yorkshire’s Jack Leaning took a cool catch.

It went like this.

But this was the best part.

Also this guy.

Yorkshire fans.

Keith Pont benefit match report, Ongar Cricket Club, 1986

Chas and Nick write:

Back in 1986, sister/auntie Susan worked in public relations for Rhône-Poulenc (now part of Aventis), in Ongar, Essex. She was asked by one of its cricket-loving executives to organise a cricket day for Keith Pont‘s benefit year at Ongar Cricket Club.

It’s worth remembering how popular and funny Keith Pont was with the Essex team and supporters. For example, on one occasion during a county match against Derbyshire, Keith borrowed a bicycle from a supporter and cycled across the ground while fielding for Essex during a major chunk of the Derbyshire innings. (We hope this memory doesn’t break the golden King Cricket rule by describing the cricket from a professional match.)

The match against the Ongar Representative XI was a fun match. The highlight was Graham Gooch bowling in the style of a number of famous international players. The best spoof was Bob Willis style; just with considerably less pace, less talent, less height but more body weight than Willis.

Lunch came around. Susan organised us all to a marquee in the next field.

We were about to enter the marquee when we became aware of ‘The Monster Muncher’ in action. It was the legendary Derek Pringle. He was moving with such speed and determination around the tables we were almost too scared to enter. We were also dazzled by flashing light, which might have come from the jewellery in the Marquee Monster Muncher’s ears.

When we finally plucked up the courage to enter the marquee, we quickly realised the need to establish eye contact in order to regain control of the situation. Pringle gave us a few shifty looks, but eventually we established contact. I (Chas) asked him if he would be long, as there was a queue starting to form outside. He grunted, “just getting a bit of food.”

An unkind rumour did the rounds after lunch, suggesting that a dustbin had been knocked over by the entrance to the marquee and that the Marquee Monster Muncher was seen using the dustbin lid as his plate. We are happy to put the record straight in that regard; Derek Pringle was merely piling it high on a conventional large plate.

Send your match reports to If it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. If it’s an amateur match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.

It rains more at night

This is the conclusion we drew from last week’s round of pink ball County Championship fixtures. Only one of four matches in the first division ended in a result – and even that one saw only 23 wickets fall.

Despite the experiment only resulting in the confounding situation where Essex are even more top, we’d like to see a lot more day-night cricket.

Clearly, that’s because of this kind of thing.


We believe this constitutes an unarguable case.

BBC to show “some” live cricket from 2020 as highlights move from Channel 5

The England and Wales Cricket Board has recently accepted that it needs to get some live cricket onto free-to-air TV. The question most of us have been asking is what constitutes “some”.

From 2020 (appropriately enough) the BBC will be showing two men’s and one women’s T20 internationals each summer. They’ve also won the right to broadcast Test highlights from Channel 5. After Champions Trophy highlights were dumped at midnight, Test Match Special’s Jonathan Agnew made it clear that highlights will be shown at prime time, which is something of a relief.

The Beeb will also broadcast 10 men’s matches from the ECB’s new T20 competition, including the final, and up to eight matches from the women’s T20 tournament, again including the final.

What does this mean?

It means everyone will be able to watch some cricket and with the finals of the domestic T20 competitions secured, much of that will have some sort of context too. It won’t just be random T20 matches in a competition you can’t follow to the end.

Conversely, you can well imagine the T20 internationals might be the kinds of low priority fixtures we’ve just seen played out between England and South Africa. Or maybe the very fact that they’ll be broadcast live on the BBC might mean a proper turn-out from all the stars. That could prove an interesting development. If that proves to be the case, the next rights deal for 2025 onwards could be an interesting one.

Where’s the rest of the live cricket going to be broadcast?

On Sky Sports – which, considering they announced a channel called Sky Cricket earlier this week, should have been pretty bloody obvious. It was highly unlikely they’d have been keen to devote a whole channel to an insect.

There’s good news there though with talk that you might be able to subscribe to just that one channel, which would presumably work out a bit/lot cheaper.

What about Channel 5?

Nowt. We’re a bit sad for them really, because they’ve been holding the fort all this time and have been doing a super job. It’ll be interesting/irritating to see how quickly the BBC get up to speed highlights-wise.

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