Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Championship Review - Week 14

Wickets galore before the weather plays havoc with only two positive results. And controversy abounds in Durham.

Division 1
One way to avoid the awful weather was to have a pitch that would guarantee a two day game. Kent were furious at the state of the Durham pitch, having bowled the hosts out for 146 and then going on to make just 78 themselves in the first innings, with Mark Davies taking five wickets. Second time round, Durham managed 108, with Robert Joseph taking six wickets. Needing 177 to win, Kent fell 43 runs short, with Davies taking five more wickets and Martin van Jaarsveld making the only fifty of the match. However, the ECB pitch inspectors found nothing wrong with the pitch, prompting Rob Key to label them as “Muppets”. We may not have heard the last of this and Durham move to within a point at the top of the table.

The only other positive result was at the Rosebowl, where Yorkshire and Hampshire fought out a relegation battle. Both teams scored 236 in their first innings, Jacques Rudolph scoring 89 for Yorkshire whole James Tomlinson took 5 wickets. Adil Rashid then turned (!) in his best bowling of the season taking seven Hampshire wickets. Yorks then completely lost the plot in the second innings, collapsing from 45 without loss to 107 all out, Tomlinson taking four more wickets. Hants knocked off the 108 to win without losing a wicket and move above Yorkshire, who are now in the relegation zone.

Leaders Nottinghamshire put Somerset into bat at Taunton and with Darren Pattinson taking five wickets, they skittled their hosts for just 106. Chris Read’s unbeaten 74 then took Notts to 230 and a comfortable lead on an unusually bowler friendly Taunton wicket. The wicket seemed to flatten out as Somerset made 335 in their second innings, Marcus Trescothick top scoring with 81. Needing 212 to win, Notts were 125 for 4 when the rains came and the match was abandoned. Notts remain top while Somerset are third but with a game in hand.

Finally in Division 1, Lancashire recovered from 31 for 4 to make 206 against Sussex for whom Ollie Raynor took five wickets. A Chris Nash century and 73 from Matt Prior took Sussex to 316 and a substantial first innings lead. At 14 for 3, Lancs started badly again second time round, but 73 from Stuart Law took them to 285, leaving Sussex needing 176 for victory. They had made just 14 without loss when the rain drew a halt to the match and both teams remain within touch at the top of the table.

Division 2
Leaders Worcestershire were put into bat by Derbyshire, and went off like a train, declaring on 450 for 8 scored at 5 and a half an over. Graeme Hick scored a run a ball 149. Simon Jones then took five wickets as Derbyshire scored a creditable 343, with local youngster Paul Borrington and South African Greg Smith both getting into the 80s. With time already lost to rain, Worcester declared after a rapid 296 for 3, Stephen Moore scoring a nearly run a ball 156. However, the rain ruined Worcester’s victory chances as the game finished with Derby on 34 without loss.

Starting a day later, 2nd placed Warwickshire and third place Northamptonshire knew they had an opportunity to make up ground. However, their game was even more weather hit, with only bonus points to chase. Northants batted first, scoring an impressive407 for 8 declared, Lance Klusener top scoring with 83 and Ian Salisbury taking five wickets. By the close of the match, Warwicks had made 353 for 4, with Jim Troughton getting a ton, having put on 148 with Jonathan Trott for the 4th wicket.

20Twenty champions Middlesex travelled to Glamorgan who scored 262 in their first innings, Jamie Dalrymple (below) getting a century against his old club. In reply, Middlesex made 242, Shaun Udal (below) top scoring with 73. Glamorgan had reached 110 for 5 when the rain shortened match drew to a conclusion.

Owais Shah brushes up on his Welsh at Colwyn Bay, perhaps wondering how to say, "I'd rather be at the Oval"

Jamie Dalrymple scores his maiden ton for Glamorgan. Former Middlesex team mates Ed Joyce and Ben Scott look suitably unimpressed.

Veteran off spinner to veteran off spinner. Robert Croft gives it some air to Middlesex top scorer Shaun Udal. (All pics c/o RTE)

Finally, bottom of the table Gloucestershire batted first against Leicestershire, scoring 315, with Marcus North’s century being the highlight. Leicester managed just 228 in reply and Gloucester were strongly placed at 265 for 3 when again the weather brought a premature end to the game.

England Player Watch
Rob Key and Joe Denly were undone by the Durham pitch, while Owais Shah did little to press his claims with 12 for Middlesex (pic above). In the battle of the wicket-keepers, Matt Prior’s excellent season with the bat continues while Chris Read trumped him by a run with and unbeaten 74. A third keeper to get into the 70s was Stephen Davies and with James Foster, England’s next wicket keeper is likely to come from one of these four.

Five wicket hauls for both Darren Pattinson and Simon Jones, although Jones pulling out of the England Lions game injured is another worry. Liam Plunkett could only manage one wicket on the bowlers paradise in Durham, which is the same as Saj Mahmood took and one more than Matthew Hoggard. Adil Rashid seems to have discovered some form with the ball (if not the bat) with seven Hampshire wickets.

Player of the Week
The weather put paid to much of the action. Worthy of mentions are Mark Davies’s two 5-fers, albeit on a helpful pitch and Stephen Moore’s 156 and Graeme Hick’s 149 for Worcestershire. However, this week I’m going with the leading wicket taker in Division 1. For his nine wickets that led Hampshire to a potentially vital win over Yorkshire, this week’s Player of the Week is James Tomlinson.


Chrispy said...

A Hants player is player of the week, I never thought I would see the day this season! Major win that, but having player a game extra I am still fearful. Terry's resignation will have one of two effects - complete downcast catastrophe, or resilient send off for a good bloke. As for the wicket keepers I tend to agree with you that it will be those names who are in the frame although I think Read's little affair with the ICL will put him down that list.

Richard Lake said...

You're not paying attention Chrispy - Imran Tahir won POTW two weeks ago.

I've no idea about the relegation this year. Apart from Surrey, all teams are a couple of wins away from being top of the table. With Warwicks and Worcester looking to come straight back up, are we getting to the stage where 11 to 12 counties will do?

Chrispy said...

Oh yes, how short a memory I have! But we didn't win that match and Tomlinson is at least more than a short term solution. The bottom 5 or so counties do seem to be stuck down there.

Smiggsy said...

Re: Kent v Durham - I thought it was a thoroughly exciting match and just sour grapes from Key and Kent.