The Unicorns lost to Nottinghamshire yesterday. This reminded us that a friend was asking about them the other day. We suppose we’d better clear up a few questions.
Who are the Unicorns?
The Unicorns are the ECB Recreational XI.
Where are they from?
They are from “long ago.”
Why should I support them?
Because if the Unicorns have their horns cut off, the world is plunged into eternal darkness.
Hope that clears things up for you all.
Posh bloke. Played cricket. Retired in favour of a career in ‘business’.
Well, apparently he’s even posher than we had suspected.
Poshness is largely beyond our comprehension. If you turn your nose up at food that’s been on the floor, you fall into our ‘posh’ category and we struggle to distinguish different levels within that. However, even we know that being friends with Prince William makes you uber-posh.
Why are me mentioning this now? Well, apparently Alex Loudon is also going out with Kate Middleton’s sister, Pippa. We know this because very large numbers of Americans are landing on this page of ours.
Honestly, you have one opinion in the whole of your life and then four years later, people actually read it.
Because that’s how you fold.
It’s not so much the being bowled out for 97 on a pitch of kofte bhuna spiciness, it’s the Lancashire bowling figures their middle and lower order so generously created:
- Simon Kerrigan – five wickets for seven runs
- Gary Keedy – three wickets for two runs
Howe zat, the sports sub-editors of the nation will forever be in your debt for this:
Hmm. We might abandon our plan to give every county new, ever-changing nicknames deriving from the names of famous people from the respective areas.
It’s not so much that using a different nickname in every post will be confusing – we’ve no problem with that – it’s just that we feel like we’re scraping the barrel with Durham already and that was our first go.
Anyway, this is supposed to be a County Championship update, so here’s the table:
- Nottinghamshire – 63
- Durham – 62
- Lancashire – 54
- Warwickshire – 50
- Somerset – 31
- Yorkshire – 31
- Sussex – 28
- Worcestershire – 17
- Hampshire – 15
No surprise to see the Liz Hurleys propping up the table. They seem to have one of the weaker bowling attacks.
Thought the Sean Beans might have been doing better though.
Many of you will have read this week’s Spin in which Andy Bull describes Bilal Shafayat’s skittery descent to the Birmingham Leagues. Shafayat was one of our ones to watch in 2006 and 2007.
Stories like Shafayat’s sometimes seem like tragedies, but that’s only really when the player in question has really lost it. Shafayat sounds like he’s had little more than a wobble and there are worse places to be than the Birmingham Leagues. Mohammad Yousuf’s spending half his summer there this year and he’s hardly a failure.
Shafayat’s also 26. He’s got bags of time to get it together. More importantly, it-togetherness can be attained anywhere, it doesn’t have to be in county cricket. Having got it together, he’ll need to pass through county cricket, but it seems like he’s aiming higher than that anyway, so what’s the difference?
In and out of a county side, he’d be stuck in limbo. In this position, he’s poised to launch an assault. A cricketing assault. On the England team. From Birmingham.
Six wickets down in their second innings and Nottinghamshire still had fewer runs than Yorkshire. Steven Mullaney then made 83 and Chris Read 86. The latter was also the score which Yorkshire would then make for the loss of all ten wickets. Nottinghamshire won by 58 runs.
We met Steven Mullaney’s mum at Old Trafford a few years ago. She was very, very keen on talking about how Steven was a Lancashire player. We didn’t really have anything to say in reply, so it was one of those self-perpetuating awkward conversations where every silence is filled by the same topic.
It was like being the mute passenger in a car travelling down an incredibly long cul de sac. You’re hoping that you’ll come to a junction at some point, so that you can suggest turning off, but you know that opportunity will never present itself.
Rich Pyrah, first-class bowling average of 48, goes for a run-a-ball against the champions but picks up a wicket every other over. This is one of those where the scorecard doesn’t really tell you the story.
Having read some match reports, they don’t particularly tell us the story either, so we’re going to make up our own. The story goes as follows.
Rich Pyrah couldn’t remember if he was left- or right-handed. Having bowled eight overs of abject filth left-handed, he remembered he was actually right-handed and switched over.
As he was now bowling from the other side of the wicket, the batsman had a slightly different view and it suddenly became apparent that there was a man who looked undead sitting behind the bowler’s arm. Five batsmen felt disconcerted by this and lost their wickets as a result of the distraction.
If you’re going to get thrashed, do the job properly. Do it Somerset style. Somerset lost to Warwickshire by an innings and 382 runs.
It was an extremely impressive performance from Somerset. Extremely impressive. Any team can concede 642 and any team can then get bowled out for 210, but to then get bowled out for 50 in 88 balls? That’s something.
Gemaal Hussain’s debut
We’ve read in several places that Somerset have ‘strengthened’ their bowling attack with the addition of Gemaal Hussain.
We’re not saying that out of malice, we just don’t really see why anyone would think that he’s a man who’ll take Somerset to the title. It’s not like he’s Dale Steyn.
Hussain was the leading wicket taker in the second division last year, but he knows that means nothing, so he moved to Somerset.
This was his debut. He took 1-154 off 28 overs and that was the best bit. He also managed to record a pair inside 90 minutes.
That is heart-warming haplessness. We like him. He strikes us as being the kind of man who could lock himself out of his own house twice on the same day.
We’ve done that. All the greats have done it.
How much worse?
Having taken 6-77 in Worcestershire’s first innings, Adil Rashid could only manage 5-37 in their second innings. This grave loss of form is deeply worrying.
Ben Stokes is getting better
How much better?
Having scored 10 in Durham’s first innings, Ben Stokes then made 135 not out in their second innings. We’ve plotted this on a graph for you:
You can really appreciate that this represents improvement when you see the data in this form.
Stokes took 6-68 in between those two innings, but we don’t know much about his bowling, so we don’t know how to feel about that.
We’re pretty sure that 6-68 is good, but without plotting it on a graph, we can’t be certain.