Lewis Gregory in England Squad

Celebrating the inclusion of Lewis Gregory in the England squad for the game against Ireland.

INTRODUCTION

Some of my recent posts (particularly those about England test teams accommodating two spinners) have taken the inclusion of Somerset all-rounder Lewis Gregory as read…

IT IS NOW

Today on cricinfo I was delighted to see that on this occasion at least what is obvious to me has also proven obvious to Ed Smith (whose opinions matter rather more in the current scheme of things!) and Gregory is in the squad announced for the one off test match against Ireland next week. True, given what he has been doing for Somerset recently this was a totally obvious call, but anyone who has followed English cricket as long as I have knows that that does not necessarily mean that it will happen!

I am delighted that Lewis Gregory has been given the call-up and I seriously hope that he plays rather than winding up as drinks waiter. A second of my calls – Jason Roy into the test team off the back of a tremendous World Cup – has also been made by a higher authority. My biggest call of all has yet to be made, but ever the optimist I am not prepared to abandon it just yet.

The cricinfo article can be read here.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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World Cup Final Stages Approaching

A look at the permutations for the semi-finals of the Men’s Cricket World Cup (nb the inaugural Women’s Cricket World Cup took place in 1973, two years before the men got started), plus a shed,load of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

The 2019 cricket men’s world cup semi-finals are all but sorted now. This post examines the possible permutations.

FAREWELLS

Afghanistan, The West Indies, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Bangladesh and Pakistan are heading home after the group stage unless Pakistan can beat Bangladesh by 320 runs or thereabouts (due to the workings of “net run rates” Pakistan cannot go through if Bangladesh bat first).

LOOKING FORWARD TO THE SEMIS

Barring an astonishing miracle result for Pakistan against Bangladesh the semi finals will be Australia v New Zealand and England v India. Three of these four teams definitely deserve to be there, while New Zealand are somewhat fortunate, and arrive in the semi-finals on a serious downturn having been thumped in their last two games, one by England.

SEMI FINAL 1: AUSTRALIA V NEW ZEALAND

Australia will be heavy favourites for this one, having played well throughout, while New Zealand have been poor in their last two games. Although I would love to see New Zealand deliver a sucker punch to the Aussies I cannot see it happening, therefore my prediction for this one is that Australia will win and go through to the final.

SEMI FINAL 2: ENGLAND V INDIA

Having put themselves under pressure by indifferent early from England have hit top gear just in time, despatching India and New Zealand in their last two games, both by comfortable margins. India had already secured their place in the semifinals by the time they came up against England. In view of the record of chasing sides in this competition so far I reckon that whoever wins the toss must opt to bat first and get their runs on the board. If England win that toss and make the right decision I reckon that they will win, just as they did in the group game between the two sides. If India bat first they will be favourites but I will not rule out England completely even then. Overall prediction: England, but I would not put money on it.

POTENTIAL FINALS

  • Australia v England – This will depend heavily on the toss – if England get their runs on the board they will be favourites, likewise Australia. I think England would be marginally less likely to lose chasing than Australia, so by the thickness of a cigarette paper I make them favourites if this final materialises.
  • Australia v India – Again this will come down to the toss – assuming they make the correct decision whoever wins it collects the cup.
  • New Zealand v England – New Zealand would be cock-a-whoop at beating Australia but may also be unable having achieved that to summon up the resolve for one last effort, and based on the group game between the two I would make England firm favourites for this one.
  • New Zealand v India – India would be favourites for this one for the same reasons as England in the one above.

Of these potential finals I would most like it to be New Zealand v England, with England b Australia 2nd choice and New Zealand v India third choice. A win for either New Zealand or England would be a first in the men’s world cup, while for India it would be their third triumph and for Australia their sixth. A final thought: If the miracle happens in the Pakistan v Bangladesh game then I believe that sheer relief at managing to qualify will be enough to propel Pakistan to victory – in that circumstance they would be alone among the four semi-finalists in having no pressure on them.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign-off…

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Gettring really good pictures of these butterflies is a challenge – this one is porbably my best yet.

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A female pheasant views the world from atop a car at The Norfolk Hospice, Tapping House.

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The weights we use for some of our exercises during therapy sessions at Tapping House.
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Raffe prizes at Tapping House
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I bought a ticket to support the cause, and this would be my first choice prize should the opportunity arise.

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The World Cup So Far

Some thought’s on the cricket world cup 2019 and some pictures.

INTRODUCTION

This is my first post for a while. I have lots of pictures to share. Aside from my continuing recovery from cancer (I have am expecting a date for my operation in the not too distant future, having recently had a pre-operation assessment) the cricket world cup has been centre stage for me since it got under on May 30th.

AN OVERLONG TOURNAMENT

Today is the 19th day of the tournament and the game currently taking place between Bangladesh and the West Indies marks the halfway point of the group stage (match 23 of 46). The reason why cricket world cups stretch on like this is because by and large only one match is scheduled per day (there have been a handful of days with two matches in this one, but very few), because the TV companies prefer it that way. During the last world cup I produced my idea for how to run a cricket world cup and not have it take such a ridiculously long time, and I reproduce that below:

THE SUTCLIFFE FORMULA

There has been much talk at the Cricket World Cup about how the tournament should be formatted, especially given that there are those who would reduce it to a ten team tournament (so utterly harebrained a notion that I do no more than mention it). Several of the associate nations at this world cup have given good accounts of themselves, with Ireland having a strong chance of progressing to the quarter finals.

My formula for a Cricket World Cup would be as follows:

16 teams to play in the tournament. Stage one would involve two groups of eight teams, the top four from each group progressing. Each group would play its matches in sets of four (hence two groups of eight), making seven rounds of matches for each group, to played on alternate days (i.e. this stage would span two weeks, with each side having a day off between matches.

After the group stage would be a three day break before the quarter-finals, which would be played all on one day. After a two day break the semi–finals would take place. Then following another two day break the final would take place. This would mean that the tournament would be played in a period of three and a half weeks (a sensible length for a global tournament).

As for the TV people: If they don’t like it they can lump it.

THOUGHTS ON WORLD CUP 2019

Apart from being miles too long once again this has been a good world cup so far. It has not featured the ludicrously high scoring some predicted, and the highest successful chase has been of a mere 244. That could go today however, as Bangladesh are 70-1 after 10 overs chasing 322 to beat the Windies.

PICTURES

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We begin with more on goldfinches….

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The Penultimate ODI Between England and Pakistan

A look at the ODI between England and Pakistan and the County Championship, a few other things including plenty of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

The current round of County Championship matches are approaching their conclusions (some being already finished), and the ODI between England and Pakistan is at the halfway stage. This post looks at what is going on, starting with…

THE ODI

England won the toss and put Pakistan in. Pakistan have just finished their 50 overs on 340-7. This might look a good total, but England at this ground have recently scored 481 versus Australia and 444-3 against Pakistan, and that 340 is the lowest total of the series to date. Thus I expect England to chase these down trivially easily, just as they did when facing 358 a few days ago (they got home with over five overs to spare). Babar Azam made a hundred for Pakistan, but was slow by modern day standards, being only just better than a run a ball. There were four wickets for Tom Curran, albeit at a cost of 75 runs from his 10 overs. Now we move on to…

THE COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP

This is what is going on in the County Championship…

  • Kent v YorkshireYorkshire 210 and 469, Kent 296 and 207-9.
    A massive second innings by Yorkshire turned the tables on Kent, and the only question now is whether Yorkshire can get the wicket they need before time runs out. I fully expect them to do so. Ballance made 159 in that Yorkshire innings. The Kent second innings has been a tale of batting failure, with Bell-Drummond top scoring with 41. Ben Coad has 5-48 so far.
  • Nottinghamshire v Essex finished yesterday.
  • Surrey v SomersetSurrey 380 and 255-8, Somerset 398 – Match Drawn.
    A combination of bad weather and decent batting by Surrey saved the defending champions in a match dominated by Lewis Gregory who must now be firmly on England’s Test team radar. Somerset did not try George Bartlett’s offbreaks even though Jack Leach had three second wickets with his slow left arm. Burns made 78 in the Surrey second innings and Will Jacks 54.
  • Warwickshire v Hampshire Hampshire 354 and 302-5 declared, Warwickshire 233 and 109, Hampshire won by 314 runs.
    Hampshire made early inroads into the Warwickshire second innings yesterday evening and comfortably finished the job today. Only youngster Robert Yates topped 20 in a dismal second innings effort by Warwickshire. The wickets were shared around the Hampshire bowlers.
  • Glamorgan v GloucestershireGlamorgan 250 and 481-8 declared, Gloucestershire 463 and 103-5 – Gloucestershire need a further 166 with five wickets standing and 16.4 overs remaining.
    This looks like a marvellous recovery by Glamorgan thwarted by their unwillingness to risk defeat, which has led them to an overcautious declaration leaving insufficient time to get the wickets. Glamorgan’s recovery after being made to follow on was built on a partnership of 231 between Nicholas Selman (150) and Labuschagne (137), following an opening stand of 133 between Selman and Hemphrey (58). The fifth Gloucestershire wicket has just gone down, giving Glamorgan s shot at victory, although the draw is still favourite. Offspinner Kieran Bull has two wickets in this fourth innings.
  • Middlesex v LeicestershireMiddlesex 349 and 223, Leicestershire 268 and 226-5, Leicestershire need 79 runs with five wickets standing.
    It is raining in London at the moment, which may baulk the fans of what should be a fine finish. Ackerman is 70 not out for Leicestershire.
  • Lancashire v NorthamptonshireNorthamptonshire 230 and 200, Lamncashire 415 and 17-0, Lancashire won by 10 wickets.
    Lancashire claimed the extra half-hour to attempt to finish this yesterday, but could not quite do so. However, they finished the job this morning. Gleeson picked up his second five-for of the match in the Northants second innings.
  • Worcestershire v DurhamDurham 273 and 197, Worcestershire 390 and 84-5, Worcestershire won by five wickets.
    A fighting 47 from Liam Trevaskis was the only contribution of note to a poor second innings by Durham. Josh Tongue five wickets and Joe Leach three. Worcestershire managed to lose five wickets in knocking off a tiny target, all to Chris Rushworth.

THE EUROPEAN ELECTIONS

I have received my first European Election publicity – a leaflet from the English Democrats which I tore into tiny pieces and put in the recycling (they are absolute b**t**ds), and this from the Green Party:

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MOUNTING STAMPS

It being a dull day today weather wise I have spent some of this afternoon mounting stamps for display:

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OTHER PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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Slowly Getting Better

An update on my slowly improving health, some of the recent cricket, a few interesting links and lots of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This post looks at my slowly but surely improving health and a few other things as well.

CRICKET UPDATE

My last set of predictions did not work out too well. I was right on one, and wrong on two, albeit the second wrong one (Scotland/Afghanistan owing more to a D/L calculation that gave the match to Afghanistan when rain intervened with them needing 57 off 31 balls with seven wickets standing (it was the latter that helped Afghanistan), a target that they would almost certainly not have succeeded in chasing down had the match gone the distance. Had Middlesex started less dreadfully they may have borne out my prediction of a successful chase, since even after slumping to 24-5 they finished up not far short of the target. In the semi-finals, which took place yesterday, Somerset thrashed Nottinghamshire while Hampshire won a closer game against Lancashire. Thus the final will be between Hampshire and Somerset, with the former starting as favourites.

In the first match of their ODI series England beat Pakistan by 12 runs in an extraordinary game which saw 734 runs scored in 100 overs – England 373-3 from 50, with a very rapid century from Jos Buttler, Pakistan 361-9. Left-arm medium pacer David Willey bowled superbly in the closing stages to save England from potential embarrassmAent.

There are County Championship games starting tomorrow, so watch this space!

HEALTH UPDATE

Yesterday I was feeling sufficiently good to venture somewhat further afield than for some time, although still not very far, going as far as the pond opposite Harewood Parade. Today I was again feeling good, and encouraged by the continuing sunshine did the same thing, although I had forgotten that BB Care were due to visit and missed them in my eagerness to get out. There is a long way to go, but things are definitely improving.

LINKS AND PICTURES

An article appeared in Saturday’s Times in which the head teacher of Stowe School (£38,000 per year to have your children educated there) had the cheek to complain about the fact that slightly more state school students are now getting into Oxbridge. Many have pitched into him, but the best evisceration of both him and the article came from Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK:

The headmaster of Stowe’s comments aren’t just vile: they’re eugenic

https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Screen-Shot-2019-05-11-at-10.13.13.png

As a non-driver who is deeply concerned about environmental issues I was delighted to see this story from The Guardian:

London to have world-first hydrogen-powered doubledecker buses

Exterior of the Wrightbus doubledecker hydrogen bus prototype.

Here, from the weekend, comes my regular sign off (I have more pictures on my camera, awaiting editing):

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The first 49 pictures are from Saturday.

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This is an unedited picture of a sparrow balancing on a wire.
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This is the edited version.

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Yesterday’s Predictions and Today’s Matches at Halfway

How yesterday’s predicitions fared, and predicitions for todays matches (one Royal London Cup match, one tour match). Also a few extras including two very important petitions.

INTRODUCTION

In this post I reveal how yesterday’s predictions fared and look at what is happening in today’s matches. I also have a couple of extras as you will see.

YESTERDAY’S PREDICTIONS

  • Hampshire v GloucestershireHampshire 331-8 from 50 overs, Gloucestershire 246 all out from 46.5overs, Hampshire won by 71 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis method.
    James Vince’s amazing innings looked to have put this one beyound Gloucestershire. A small rain delay reduced Gloucestershire’s innings to 47 overs and their target to 318. No Gloucestershire batter reached 50 (Ryan Higgins, primarily a memiud pacer, top scored with 45), and Hampshire were never anything other than in control, so this was a correct prediction for me. Mason Crane, a legspinner who had a brief but very unsuccessful time as an England player took 3-64, while Kyle Abbott, Brad Wheal and Liam Dawson all picked up two.
  • Northamptonshire v WorcestershireWorcestershire 254-9 from 50 overs, Northamptonshire 234 all out from 48.4 overs, Worcestershire won by 20 runs.
    In restricting their opponents to a modest score Northamptonshire seemed to have done enough, but their own batting misfired badly. Alex Wakely with 46 and Josh Cobb with 44 were the leading scorers, which tells you what the problem was. Wayne Parnell took 3-45, while Brett D’Oliveira was the most economical bowler with 1-28 from 10 overs. I got this one wrong.
  • Nottinghamshire v LeicestershireNottinghamshire 433-7 from 50 overs, Leicestershire 259 from 33.2 overs, Nottinghamshire won by 87 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis method.
    Rain reduced the Leicestershire innings to 37 overs and their target to 347. They made a brave effort, but the target was always beyond them, bearing out my prediction. Harry Dearden made 74 off 70 balls and Mark Cosgrove 59 off 43. Luke Fletcher took 3-53 from eight overs, a notable achievement given the overall run rate on the day.
  • Warwickshire v DurhamWarwickshire 244-8 from 50 overs, Durham 211-3 from 33.4 overs, Durham won by seven wickets with 2.2 overs to spare under the Duckworth-Lewis method.
    Warwickshire’s total looked modest, and the Duckworth-Lewis adjustment to cater for Durham’s reduced allocation of overs did not help them sufficiently to put them back in the game. Alex Lees was 78 not out off 69 balls and Gareth Harte 51 not out of 49 when Durham completed their victory, Greg Clark having scored 66 off 62 at the top of the order. No Warwickshire bowler deserves to have their figures quoted. This was another correct prediction. 
  • Yorkshire v DerbyshireYorkshire 308-2 from 40 overs, Derbyshire 224-3 from 22 overs, tied under the Duckworth-Lewis method.
    Because Yorkshire had a lot of resources left when the rain came (20% of their overs and 80% of their wickets) the requirement for Derbyshire when the game could be resumed was, as it should have been, exceedingly stiff. Spearheaded by opener Billy Godleman running up his third straight List A century Derbyshire made this a pulsating contest, and actually came closer to winning at the end than Yorkshire, although the tie, the second that Yorkshire have been involved in in the competition was a fair result (though disappointing for my predictions, as I had called it in Yorkshire’s favour. Godleman (107 not out off 62 balls) was well backed by Leus Du Plooy (75 off 37 balls) and Matt Critchley (33 not out of 23 at the death). I will not quote any of the Yorkshire bowling figures. 

Thus I called three right and two wrong, making my overall record 21/34. In the day/night game Somerset comfortably beat Essex (353-5 off 39 overs, against Essex 154-6 from 17 overs, a margin of 36 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis method). Peter Trego made 141 of 101 balls, Azhar Ali 110 off 93 and James Hildreth 40 off 18. Peter Siddle took 4-60 off eight overs. In the Essex Innings Dan Lawrence made 51 off 33. Tim Groenewald took 3-34 off three overs, while Craig Overton was notably economical with 1-9 from three overs. In the early stages of the Essex innings there was some blatant time wasting by their batters in the hope that the ten overs necessary for it to constitute a game would not be bowled, but fortunately they were, and thereafter there was little doubt that justice would be done. 

TODAY’S PREDICTIONS

There are two matches taking place in England today, and they are:

  • Middlesex v Sussex, Sussex 298 all out from 48 overs.
    When Sussex were 6-2, and even more when they were 102-5 this looked good for Middlesex, but Luke Wright who had opened thne innings and survived all the early wickets was supported by Ben Brown, captain and wicketkeeper for Sussex in a stand of 174, before both fell in quick succession, Brown for 55 and Wright for an amazing 166 (142 balls, 10 fours, nine sixes). The Sussex tail then did an impression of a house of cards, and Middlesex were spared having a 300plus total on the board against them. However this total should be enough to for Sussex to defend comfortably. Nathan Sowter took 4-48 and Ireland star Tim Murtagh 3-24 each from their full 10 overs,. while their colleagues had a combined 3-226 from 28 overs.
  • Kent v Pakistan (Tour Match) Pakistan 358-7 from 50 overs
    A formidable looking total from Pakistan. Imad Wasim scored 117 not out from 78 balls, Haris Sohail 75 from 71 and Fakhar Zaman 76 from 59. Only Imran Qayyum with 4-45 from his 10 did anything significant with the ball. I fully expect Pakistan to defend this. A point of interest is that Kent have been strengthened by the presence of James Harris of Middlesex in their ranks. 

LINKS AND PICTURES

First a piece from The Guardian titledLabour is right to reverse bus cuts. But it needs to go much furtherwritten by Manchester based campaigner Pascale Robinson.

Next a piece from Vox Political titledBenefit claimants are the modern equivalent of dogs to private landlords, say MPs

A piece from Cambria Jenkins titled “Take Care of Yourselves, Everyone – Especially You, Greta Thunberg“. This piece, written by an autistic person (as Greta Thunberg is as well), contains some good advice for those who struggle to take care of themselves and also some powerful but fair comment on the more neanderthal among Thunberg’s opponents, some of whom have publicly expressed the hope that she has a meltdown in public. For anyone who has experienced a meltdown (see here for an account of one) this is deeply offensive, and it should be outrageous to anyone.

A peition on wemove.eu to save the Ulcinj Dalina nature reserve.
Ulcinj

Also to counteract the one calling for him to be sacked there is now a petition in support of Chris Packham on change.org:

SupportPackham

My usual sign off…

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How My Second Set of Predictions Fared

A look at the conclusions of yesterday’s Royal London Cup matches and an analysis of my predictions at the half way stages.

INTRODUCTION

Yesterday, when all the day fixtures in the Royal London Cup had reached their half-way stage I covered what was happening and made predictions for each result. Today I complete the story be revealing the results and mentioning noteworthy efforts from the second half of each game. 

YESTERDAY’S ROYAL LONDON CUP MATCHES

This is how it all unfolded:

  • Derbyshire v NorthamptonshireDerbyshire 268-6, Northamptonshire 215 (43.5 overs), Derbyshire won by 53 runs
    I backed Derbyshire to win this one because of the fightback they had made in the latter stages of their innings. This one was more one sided even than the margin suggests. At one point Northants were 112-8 before a lower order fightback gave them a hint of respectability. There were four wickets for young medium pacer Alex Hughes, three for Van Beek and two for Rampaul. Luke Procter scored an unbeaten 50, but no other Northants batter merits a mention.
  • Warwickshire v YorkshireWarwickshire 270-8 Yorkshire 270-9 TIED!!
    I got this one wrong, expecting Yorkshire to chase them down. At 112-6 it looked a certain win for Warwickshire, but Jonny Tattersall (79) and Tim Bresnan (89) staged a revival that very nearly won it for Yorkshire. England all-rounder Chris Woakes took 3-47 and the hugely promising teenager Henry Brookes took 3-50. Kiwi veteran Jeetan Patel was the most economical with 2-41.
  • Durham vLeicestershire  – Leicestershire 233-9, Durham 234-4 (45.3 overs) Durham won by six wickets
    This was an easy call after that poor Leicestershire innings, and an easy win for Durham in the end. Cameron Bancroft scored 118 not out, and received support from various of the Durham order. Dieter Klein and Gavin Griffiths each had a couple of wickets.
  • Hampshire v GlamorganGlamorgan 292-9 Hampshire 293-3 (41.5overs) Hampshire won by seven wickets.
    I had this down as a Glamorgan win. In the event Hampshire made it look very easy indeed, and Glamorgan’s future in this competition, even after just two matches looks bleak – they failed horrendously to chase in their first game and failed just as epically to defend in this one. Tom Alsop, a 23 year-old wicketkeeper batter opened the Hampshire innings and was 130 not out off 115 baals when they completed the win. Former England man James Vince scored 95 off 78 balls to put Hampshire in complete control of the chase. I will draw a veil over the Glamorgan bowling figures.
  • Nottinghamshire v Lancashire Nottinghamshire 417-7, Lancashire 406-9 Nottinghamshire won by 11 runs
    I called this one correctly. Lancashire made a tremendous effort, and until the dismissal of their captain Dane Vilas (166 off 100 balls) an extraordinary victory appeared to be on the cards. In the end that Nottinghamshire total was just enough. Steven Croft scored 110 off 82 balls. James Pattinson with 5-61 off his 10 overs was the star of the bowlers – if he had gone at the same rate as his colleagues Lancashire would have got home with time to spare (approximately an over and a half if you care to do the calculation).
  • Somerset v Kent Somerset 358-9, Kent 94 (27 overs) – Somerset won by 264 runs
    With that total on the board I called this one in Somerset’s favour, but even I was surprised by the margin of victory. AfterS had piled up their huge total Kent needed a good start to stay in the contest. Unfortunately for them they got the reverse, as Craig Overton followed his 66 by taking three early wickets (he would add two more before the end, finishing with 5-18) and Kent were reeling at 25-4. Thereafter Kent tried to salvage a hint of respectability and failed. The margin was a record for one first class county over another in limited overs cricket (various previous limited overs competitions featured minor county sides, so the distinction is needed). A detailed analysis of this match can be found here
  • Essex v Middlesex Middlessex 366-8, Essex 328 (49.2 overs) Middlesex won by 38 runs
    Again a big enough total to predict the final outcome with some confidence, but Essex put up a fine fight. Varun Chopra made 127 off 127 balls and Tom Westley 77 off 59 balls. For Middlesex Nathan Sowter, a 26 year-old legspinner with little previous experience of top level cricket took 6-62 from 9.2 overs

I called five of these matches correctly and two wrongly, making my overall record of predictions in this competition now eight right and four wrong. As with the first round there was a “day/night” match which was not far enough advanced for me to make a prediction on at the time:

Surrey v Sussex Surrey 274-9, Sussex 278-8 (48.1 overs)
This was a humdinger of a match. Surrey’s problem in their innings was that no-one went to a really big score – Foakes led the way with 64 and Will Jacks managed 56, while Mir Hamza rook 4-43. Tom Curran (3-37 from 10) and Gareth Batty (2-39 from 10) bowled excellently for Surrey, Morne Morkel and Rikki Clarke were respectable, but the fifth set of 10 overs let Surrey down, as Plunkett (6 overs, 1-57) and Jacks (4 overs for 26) both bowled very poorly. Sussex’s matchwinner was David Wiese (92 not out), while Luke Wright scored 69.

The first set of fixtures provided a lot of very one-sided games, but no one could complain about the fare on offer this time round – fine cricket featured in most if not all of the matches and several were very close, including the incredible tie between Yorkshire and Warwickshire.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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