Thursday, 12 June 2008

Championship review - Week 8

As we move in to the 20:Twenty break, just 19 points separate the whole of Division 1 as last week’s leaders lose and the bottom team win in thrilling matches. In Division 2 Warwickshire’s charge to promotion continues while Middlesex finally show some batting form.

Division 1
Last week’s leaders Somerset entertained a much changed Yorkshire team, who only fielded four specialist batsmen and had Jacques Rudolph opening in place of the out of form Joe Sayers. The changes worked as Yorks made 372, with Rudolph making 155. This was enough for a healthy first innings lead as the home side struggled to 258. Yorks then lost both openers for ducks and despite a second 50 in the match for Andrew Gale, the total of 202 meant that Somerset needed 323 to win. Despite a century from Zander de Bruyn, Somerset finished 40 runs short and Yorkshire replace Somerset at the top of the table.

Last week I said that Hampshire were struggling and this looked to be continuing as Durham’s Callum Thorp took five wickets to restrict Hants to 239. The returning Shane Bond also took 5-fer as Durham made just 202 to give Hants a small lead. Steve Harmison took 6 wickets second time round, but 74 from Dimi Mascaranhas gave Hants a total of 256 and meant that Durham needed 294 for victory. Losing their 9th wicket at 232, victory looked a long way off, but Harmison and Mark Mavies took Durham to within four runs before Bond took the crucial wicket. Hants climb to equal 5th with Durham, but only two points ahead of bottom club, Surrey.

Poor weather in the south east of the country restricted Kent and Sussex to just two days play. Kent were indebted to a century from Justin Kemp to allow them to declare on 350 for 8, while Sussex called a halt 50 runs shy of that, also for 8 wickets. There was only just enough time for Kent to start their innings, and Joe Denly have a dent made in his average, before the game was called to a close.

Rain also played a part as Lancashire entertained Nottinghamshire. Lancs scored 384 in their first innings with Steven Croft getting a century. Mark Wagh made 94 as Notts made 304 in reply. Lancs then declared on 234 for 6 to try to force a result and at 46 for 3 there seemed to be a glimmer of hope. However, 71 from Chris Read put paid to any thoughts of victory and the spoils were shared.

Division 2
Ian Westwood scored 176 as Warwickshire put on 421 against Glamorgan. The Welshmen fell well short of the follow on with James Anyon taking 6-fer as they made just 248. They did better second time round, but with 19 year old Chris Woakes (below right) taking 5 wickets for the first time in first class cricket, Glamorgan made 355 to set the Bears a winning target of 183, which they reached for the loss of 5 wickets, Westwood making another 50. Warwickshire are clear at the top of the table and look well set to go straight back up again.

Left: Glamorgan's David Harrison takes a breather as Warwickshire pile on the runs.
Right: Warwickshire's impressive Chris Woakes on his way to 5 wickets in the 2nd innings (Pics c/o RTE).

Tim Murtagh took six wickets as Middlesex skittled Essex for just 161 runs. The much vaunted Middlesex batting line up then fired as only Ed Smith of the top 6 didn’t reach 50 and Owais Shah scored 144 in a total of 583, despite Danesh Kaneria’s seven wickets. Batting 422 runs behind, Essex made a decent fist of trying to make Middlesex bat again, but with Murtagh taking another four wickets they made 384 and Middlesex won by an innings to move to 3rd in the table.

Gloucestershire are the only team in Division 2 without a win and they started well against Northamptonshire, Marcus North top scoring with 96 in a total of 475. The was enough for a big lead as Northants only just avoided the follow on, scoring 329 despite a ton from Stephen Peters. However, Gloucester collapsed in their second innings, with David Lucas taking 5 wickets as they made just 142 to set Northants a target of 289 to win. Robert White hit an unbeaten 132 as Northants reached their total for the loss of just four wickets. They remain in contention at the top of the table and even more pleasingly, the major contributors to this latest win were English born and bred.

Worcestershire have started the season well without getting the results but they were skittled by Derbyshire for just 151 and were indebted to a final wicket stand of 50 between Steve Magoffin and Simon Jones to get that far. Derby were seven wickets down for around the same score, but a ton from wicket keeper James Pipe with support from Graham Wagg took Derby to 356 and a healthy lead. Jones took five wickets for Worcester to continue his promising return to form. Worcester did worse second time round, scoring just 110 to hand Derby an innings victory.

England Player Watch
Michael Carberry showed something of a return to form for Hants, although opportunities are likely to be limited at the top of the England batting order. Owais Shah hit a big century, while Ravi Bopara was the pick of a poor Essex batting line up. Matt Prior scored just one for Sussex, while Chris Read’s match saving 71 was a large improvement on his first innings golden duck.

Chris Tremlett took a couple of wickets in each innings for Hants, while Steve Harmison took 6-fer for Durham in the same game. Tim Bresnan outbowled his opening bowling partner, the returning Matthew Hoggard by 6 wickets to 4 while Adil Rashid also picked up 4 wickets and will be hoping for a drier second half to the season.

Player of the Week
I seem to be saying this every week, but it’s a tricky call. Jacques Rudolph and Shane Bond are the main contenders from Division 1. However, this week’s winner is from Division 2 and yet another wicket keeping win. Despite Ian Westwood's two fine innings and Graham Wagg’s all round contribution for Derby for a career best 133 in a low scoring game, the player of the week is Derbyshire’s James Pipe.


Chrispy said...

All these wks performing well and we still can't quite seem to find the perfect one for both forms... Hum!

Chrispy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard Lake said...

Even Brophy's getting runs!!

It's also interesting that in county cricket now, the wk tends to bat at 5.