Monday, 18 August 2008

Championship Review - Week 15

A Roses match normally means poor weather, and there was no change to that this week. The main winners were those who didn’t play and Mark Ramprakash, for whom the runs have started again.

Division 1
An eagerly awaited top of the table clash at Durham saw the hosts and Nottinghamshire sit in their respective dressing rooms for four days. No ground gained by either team, but a good result for the rest of the league.

At Old Trafford, the Roses battle started a day and a half late and Yorkshire made light of Lancashire’s decision bat first bowling them out for 231, with Adil Rashid continuing his excellent recent form taking five wickets. Yorkshire batted to ensure maximum batting points, with Andy Gale (136) and Antony McGrath (99) putting on 215 for the second wicket to set up a declaration at 400 for 6. This left 51 overs to try to force a win and having reduced Lancs to 29 for 3, there was a sniff of victory. However an obdurate 69 from Paul Horton led Lancs to safety, but Yorkshire’s points take them out of the relegation zone.

Somerset and Surrey played out effectively a two day match in a dash for bonus points. Somerset started off fast, with Marcus Trescothick and Zander de Bruyn both getting centuries in a stand of 223 as Somerset declared on 401 for 3 made in just 77 overs. Surrey’s progression was more sedate, but they reached 406 for 9 on the back of an unbeaten double century for Mark Ramprakash with another veteran Andrew Caddick taking five wickets.

Division 2
The best weather of the week seemed to be in Derby, where Middlesex were put in by Derbyshire and made 306, despite only Ed Joyce making a fifty. Greg Smith then made a century as Derby made 347. Charl Langeveldt was the star of Middlesex’s second innings, taking five for 40 as Middlesex made just 166 to set Derby 130 to win, which they managed for the loss of just 3 wickets. Derby’s promotion push continues while Middlesex’s season is drifting.

Little more than a day’s play was possible at Edgbaston where Warwickshire were skittled by Danesh Kaneria, who took 6 for 48 in the total of 154. In reply, Graham Napier showed some of his one day form with the bat, scoring 76 in just 62 balls as Essex made 216. Second time round, Warwicks finished on 68 for 2 when the game ran out of time.

Finally, the bottom two teams in the league met in Swansea. Gloucestershire had the better of the limited time that was available, declaring on 400 for 7 with William Porterfield and Chris Taylor both getting out in the 90s. Glamorgan finished up on 108 for 2 as Gloucester won the battle of the bonus points.

England Player Watch
With the test players being given time off and the ODIs coming up, only Adil Rashid’s 5-fer and Tim Bresnan’s 2 wickets and unbeaten 40 showed gave the selectors anything to think about.

Player of the Week
Another century for Andy Gale in an excellent breakthrough season, while at the other end of his career Marcus Trescothick also scored an important century. However, it was always likely that once he’d got his 100th hundred, more would follow quickly. And for his unbeaten double century, this week’s player of the week is Mark Ramprakash.

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