Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Championship Review - Week 4

The last round of matches for a while as One Day cricket takes over. In Division 1, positive results take Notts and Lancs to the top of the table, while in Division 2, the most thrilling game was the only one that was drawn.

Division 1
Somerset’s batting has begun to look a little flaky and this was shown Nottinghamshire bowled them out for just 138 at Trent Bridge. Charl Willoughby undid some of the damage in reply with 5 wickets as Notts reached 261 for a significant lead. Second time round, Somerset did much better, led by 98 from Marcus Trescothick, they made 383 to set Notts 261 to win, which they did thatnks largely to an unbeaten 5th wicket stand of 124 between Adam Voges and Ali Brown. Notts go top at this early stage.

The return of Peter Moores to county cricket has been a successful one and Lancashire bowled out Worcestershire for just 167, with Glen Chapple taking 6 wickets and Saj Mahmood 4. Chapple then hit 89 as Lancs recovered from 181 for 7 to 347 all out. In the second innings, it was Mahmood’s turn to take a 6-fer as Worcester managed 301, Moeen Ali maintaining his decent start to the season with 80. This left Lancs needing 122 to win, which they reached for the loss of 4 wickets. They are challenging at the top while Worcester already look like they are struggling to adapt to Division 1.

Durham were indebted to a ton from Dale Benkenstein and an unbeaten 94 from Liam Plunkett as they made 380 against Sussex at Hove. The home side got close to parity, with Andrew Hodd making a ton, Plunkett and Mitch Claydon taking four wickets apiece. Mike diVenuto and Gordon Muchall then both hit tons as Durham declared on 299 for 4. However, despite further success with the ball for Plunkett, they weren’t able to force a result and the game was drawn.

Yorkshire have been having batting trouble in one day cricket. However, this was soon forgotten as they racked up 600 for 8 against Warwickshire with Joe Sayers (173) and Antony McGrath (a career best 211) putting on 346 for the 3rd wicket, a new Yorkshire record (surpassing the greats Herbert Sutcliffe and Maurice Leyland). However, there was also a career best 120 for Jeetan Patel as he and Jonathan Trott (161) put on 233 for the 9th wicket to save the follow on and end the game as a contest. There was just time for Yorkshire to declare on 162 for 3 and hope for a Warwickshire wobble. This wasn’t to be as they reached 60 for 1 comfortably and the game was drawn.

Division 2
Surrey welcomed back Mark Ramprakash and he was straight back into the runs with a ton as Surrey managed their first batting points of the season with 388 against Middlesex. Philip Hughes is also in a fine vein of form (rather now than later in the season) and hit 195 as Middlesex took a healthy first innings lead with 445. Second time round Shaun Udal took six wickets as Surrey managed just 242, leaving Middlesex needing 186 to win in 25 overs. It was always tight and with 10 needed off the last over, Udal hit a 6 to put Middlesex in the driving seat. However, he was out the next ball and with three needed off the last ball, Alan Richardson was run out going for the second, leaving Middlesex on 184 for 9, and the game drawn.

Gloucestershire have benefitted from the return of coach John Bracewell and Zimbabwean Anthony Ireland took 6 wickets as they bowled Leicestershire out for just 133. Alex Gidman made more than that on his own, scoring 159 of Gloucester’s 393 in reply. Leicester battled back in their second innings making 331, Jon Lewis taking four wickets. However, this left Gloucester needing only 72 to win, which they managed without losing a wicket and they are top of the table.

Preseason favourite, Kent, were struggling at 131 for 6, until James Tredwell and Wayne Parnell put on 151 for the 7th wicket to get to 282, as the final four wickets fell without a run being added. Glamorgan made 307 in reply, skipper Jamie Dalrymple top scoring as he continued his impressive start to the season. Martin van Jaarsveld (182) and Geraint Jones (133) then put together a stand of 309 as Kent declared on 409 for 4. Tredwell then took over with the ball, taking 8 wickets as Glamorgan collapsed to 180 all out, Kent winning by 204 runs.

Finally, Essex scored just 221 against Northamptonshire as Andrew Hall took five wickets. Northants built up a substantial lead, scoring 354, Riki Wessels top scoring with 84. Steve Crook then took five wickets as Essex made 304 second time round, James Foster making 84. Northants reached their target of 176 for the loss of just two wickets and they keep up the pressure towards the top of the table at this early stage.

England Player Watch
Michael Vaughan on current form should be more worried about his Yorkshire place than getting back into the England team. Likewise on a placid Edgbaston wicket, Ian Bell was overshone by his colleagues, notably Jonathan Trott, who has dropped out of International reckoning following a couple of limited over appearances. James Foster made 84 for Essex

Both Saj Mahmood and Liam Plunkett were in the wickets taking ten and eight respectively, with Plunkett also reaffirming his potential with the bat. Steve Harmison, like Vaughan, continues to struggle with his form. Ryan Sidebottom picked up four wickets as he recovers from injury. Adil Rashid picked up a couple of wickets, while also making a half century with the bat. Chris Woakes picked up the walking wicket of Michael Vaughan, but like all of the other bowlers, struggled to make an impact on a flat Edgbaston pitch. Monty Panesar also had little success, taking just one wicket in 31 overs, although he went for little more than one run an over.

Player of the Week
The Roses captains both make a good case for inclusion, with Antony McGrath getting a double hundred and Glen Chapple making significant contributions with bat and ball. However, it is another all round performance that gets this week’s award. For a half century that made Kent competitive and then eight wickets that won then the match, the Player of the week is James Tredwell.


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