Nick Gubbins claws at the filthy damp earth

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A load of Gubbins

If Middlesex, Yorkshire and Somerset were represented by three individuals face down in mud, slithering towards a MacGuffin, we’d have the Middlesex bloke half a yard ahead after the first day’s play in the final round of matches.

Nick Gubbins has offset the pantsness of his team-mates and hauled his side to a fairly ambiguous score via a hundred. Ambiguous isn’t too bad for Middlesex. They’re already ahead of their rivals and Yorkshire have only picked four batsmen.

Somerset were slithering well but then Nottinghamshire (who have basically been cleft in twain and left waiting to die in this analogy) grabbed an ankle and dragged them back a bit. The Cidermen have still made what is ostensibly a strong start, but if they’re likely to pick up bonus points and have runs on the board, we can’t really conclude that things are going their way until Nottinghamshire have batted. That’s even before we start to ponder what losing seven wickets for 20 runs might say about them.

Things are also happening at the bum end of the table, but we’re hardly likely to report on that when we’re already struggling to stay up to speed with what’s happening up top – this despite the fact that it’s all taking place at slithering speed.


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  1. The betting odds suggest Middlesex are close to evens, Yorkshire about 3/1 outsiders and Somerset somewhere in between. More fun to imagine them gambling on a four-day mud crawl though.

    1. Is it just me who doesn’t see this? At this stage, Somerset only need to win, unless Yorks. win big or Middlesex draw. From what I’ve heard, Lord’s is its usual (for this season) slow self, hard to score on but easy to stay in on. Even with four batsmen, Yorkshire can do that. And Somerset are up against the division’s whipping boys, mentally broken.

      Don’t judge the pitch until…, I know, I know: but I see a dull draw playing out between Middlesex and Yorkshire, while Somerset spin out a Notts. side who can only put together three partnerships in two innings.

      1. If they beat Notts, couldn’t Somerset still win even if there’s a draw at Lords. The ten pt difference between Somerset and Middlesex would close in cider’s favour, or is that unlikely now they are at the tail end as they won’t reach their max bonus pts. Oh, think I have just answered my own question. Hang on, then it depends on the amount of bonus points Middlesex acrue (which is more likely at Lords re Bailout’s turgid pitch theory) and Somerset have won one more match than Msex which also comes to the fore if pts are equal.

      2. Damn it! We’re trying to avoid the permutations until absolutely necessary. What is it with you people.

        If Middlesex win, they win the Championship.

        If Middlesex draw and Somerset win, the latter would need to match the former’s bonus points and exceed Yorkshire’s.

        If Middlesex lose and Somerset win, they again need to exceed Yorkshire’s bonus points.

        Somerset currently look like they will fail to take two of the available batting bonus points.

      3. Or to Middlesex missing batting points via their go-slow.

        Could even come down to Yorkshire potentially missing out on full bowling points if this innings grinds on a while.

      4. At the risk of being contrary…

        If Somerset win and Middlesex draw, Yorkshire also draw, so Yorkshire’s points tally is irrelevant to Somerset. And Somerset need (only, at least) one fewer bonus points than Middlesex because in the event of a tie, 6 wins trumps 5.

      5. Unless Somerset’s bowling attack goes AWOL, or the Middlesex lower order start scoring at an absurd rate (no sign thereof so far) there’s almost no way for Middlesex to draw the match and claim the championship should Somerset win. A draw is good enough if Somerset fail to win – which is still a serious possibility, given that collapse – but Middlesex playing for the draw would be an “interesting” approach to risk management.

      6. With first innings now complete, Somerset have picked up two more batting bonus points than Middlesex so Middlesex can realistically only enchampion themselves with a draw if Somerset fail to win.

        Yorkshire picked up full bowling points so Somerset may yet regret that one missed batting point. Assuming that Somerset pick up full bowling points (likely but not guaranteed) what first inns total (at the 110 over cut-off) do Yorkshire need to guarantee that a Yorkshire win means a Yorkshire title? If Yorkshire get there then Somerset will be relying on a draw at Lord’s. I don’t think I’d want to be relying on a draw in a match where Yorkshire 100% have to win and Middlesex can only get away with a draw if Somerset fail to win. Particularly wouldn’t want to be relying on it given that first innings.

      7. Okay, Yorkshire need 350 (in 110) to take things out of Somerset’s hands. Just as I write this Toby Roland-Jones takes 3-6… so they need to do this from a position of 32/3 after 10 overs. Big ask as they’re already down to Bresnan in the batting order. 300 would also do if Somerset don’t get full bowling points.

        Draw at Lord’s seems even more unlikely at this point. Somerset looking increasingly reliant on Yorkshire having a mediocre first innings (likely!) but still making a comeback win (I might rather be on Middlesex at this point). Yorkshire are relying on a good recovery and, if that’s to come in the second rather than the first innings, need Notts or the weather to stuff up Somerset. Thursday in Taunton will be a wet one apparently. I think that counts as “permutations” so I will shut up now.

  2. As things stand this morning, the permutations are a bit more complicated than you have fathomed.

    Middlesex want Yorkshire still to be in the hunt, otherwise an insufficient draw beckons. Somerset’s collapse means that Yorkshire will still be in the hunt even if Middlesex prevent them from taking maximum bowling points. That could be significant, as could the rate at which Yorkshire need to score in the first innings to stay in the hunt.

    Middlesex’s best chance of a win comes from Yorkshire’s need to win. The top of the table bonus point permutations will probably play out (or be all played out bar the shouting) by stumps tonight.

    Sadly, some idiot arranged for our monthly board meeting to take place today. Whoever is the company secretary of my crumby business should be horse-whipped…

    1. Are those further permutations or just motivations underpinning how the permutations might play out?

      We consider both beyond our remit.

      1. Did you erase the caption under Gubbins’ photo, KC? “What me, squire? Never touched it, guv.”

    2. I’m on the train heading for Lords safe in the knowledge that what I thought I knew is now safely unknown. Donald Rumsfeld eat your heart out.

  3. I am not enjoying this morning’s developments at ‘the bum end’ very much.

    Has Hameed’s selection for England made him go all rubbish? His recent FC Scores: 89,57*, 114, 100*, 26, 17, 56 – HypeHypeHype- 0, 25*, 17…

    1. Lancashire have completely gone off the boil, and we would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for……you bears!

      *shakes fist angrily, and definitely not in a camp way*

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