Bob Willis Trophy Round 2 Final Day

A look at the Bob Willis Trophy as round two draws to a close.

INTRODUCTION

We are into the penultimate possible session of play in round two of the Bob Willis Trophy. five of the matches are now finished, four still in progress. Only one match looks set to end in a draw.

THE FINISHED MATCHES

Several finished yesterday (see that my previous post), including the match between Kent and Sussex which Kent won for the loss of just one wicket. Hampshire completed their win over Middlesex today, making hard work if it as they lost seven wickets while chasing down 158. This match took place at one of the less well known of county venues – the Brunton Memorial Ground at Radlett. The two bowlers who troubled Hants were at opposite ends of the experience spectrum – Tim Murtagh with over two decades of top level cricket behind him took three, a haul matched by Thilan Wallalawita, a left arm spinner, who is playing his first season of first class cricket. Even more noteworthy in terms of difference in experience were two of the Kent heroes in their game against Sussex. Darren Stevens took five wickets in the Sussex second innings, at the age of 44, while Jordan Cox scored 238 not out for Kent at the age of 19. Cox is also a recognized wicket keeper, although Oliver Graham Robinson, also on England’s radar, had the gloves for Kent in this match.

THE MATCHES IN PROGRESS

The game between Worcestershire and Glamorgan is the one that is likely to end in draw – Worcs batted on in their second innings until their lead stood at 357, and there were less than two full sessions to play, a decision which seems unduly cautious.

Notts have been set 188 to win by Yorkshire and have responded to the challenge by collapsing to 80-6, putting Yorkshire in control. Gloucestershire have set Warwickshire 239 to win and the latter are 30-3 thus far. Finally, Surrey are facing a target of 337 and are currently 118-6, with all six of the wickets falling to off spinner Simon Harmer, who also took six in the first Surrey innings. Playing the ‘Casabianca’ role for Surrey is wicket keeper Jamie Smith, currently 33 not out. Incidentally, while his bowling achievement in this game has been immense, even if Harmer gets all the remaining wickets it will not be an Essex record – Walter Mead took 17 in a match against the 1893 Australians. It will be a record for Essex v Surrey at Chelmsford, beating leg spinner Peter Smith’s 13 wicket haul in 1950 (the same Peter Smith who three years earlier belted 163 from no11 against Derbyshire). Harmer will not get his all-ten – he has just taken a catch off the bowling of Aaron Beard to account for Jamie Smith and put Essex on the brink of victory (shades of the NZ v AUS game when Richard Hadlee took 9-52 in the first innings and the one he did not get was Geoff Lawson who was caught off the bowling of Vaughan Brown by Richard Hadlee).

The Bob Willis Trophy has already produced a clutch of magnificent matches, several towering individual performances and generally a huge amount to savour.

Nottinghamshire are now 97-9 against Yorkshire, and Glamorgan are doing their bit to breathe life back into their game against Worcestershire – they have slumped to 5-3 chasing a purely nominal 358. Update on the Notts v Yorkshire match – Notts are all out for 97, medium pacer Jordan Thompson 3-6, off spinner Jack Shutt 2-14. Yorks have won by 90 runs after conceding a first innings lead of 91. Both are local products – Shutt hails from Barnsley, while Thompson is from Rawdon, Leeds (which many years ago gave the world Brian Close).

Gus Atkinson has gone to the bowling of Harmer who now has 7-56 in the innings and 13 in the match. Surrey are 145-8, and the end seems nigh in that one as well.

After showing some fight Warwickshire have just lost their fourth wicket at 50, and now 52-4 needing a further 187 to win.

Surrey have just lost their ninth wicket, and Beard has his second. Essex have just taken the final wicket to win by 169 runs, and the final wicket went appropriately to Harmer, given him 14 for the match, a new Essex v Surrey record. It is also Essex’s tenth straight win in four day games at Chelmsford.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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Tomotoes just starting to develop a hint of their eventual red colour.

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The Second Round Of The Bob Willis Trophy

A look at goings on in the Bob Willis Trophy

INTRODUCTION

The second round of the Bob Willis Trophy has by and large produced another fine set of games. In this post I look at developments in these matches.

THE BOB WILLIS TROPHY

The game between Northamptonshire and Somerset ended yesterday, with Northants subsiding to a heavy defeat. Jamie Overton collected four wickets in each innings for Somerset, while 35 of Northants’ first innings tally of 67 came from Ben Curran, youngest of the three Curran brothers. None of the other matches have ended yet, the situations being:

  • Worcestershire v Glamorgan – Worcs made 455-8 from the 120 overs that is the maximum length of time a first innings is allowed last in this competition. Glamorgan are 305-6 after 102 overs.
  • Yorkshire are 135-3 in their second innings against Nottinghamshire, which gives them a lead of 44 with seven wickets to fall.
  • Middlesex began their second innings against Hampshire with a deficit of 44 and are now 124-3.
  • Leicestershire are 85 behind Derbyshire with six second innings wickets standing.
  • Kent and Sussex are involved in an extraordinary game at Canterbury. Sussex made 335 in the first innings, to which Kent responded with 530-1 from 120 overs, a lead of 195. There were double centuries for Jordan Cox (238 not out) and Jack Leaning (220 not out), who shared a partnership of 423 unbroken for the second wicket. Sussex are now 18-1 in their second innings. Only three higher innings totals for only one wicket have ever been recorded at first class level – 561-1 declared for Karachi Whites v Quetta, 555-1 declared for Yorkshire v Essex and 549-1 declared for Rhodesia.
  • Gloucestershire are 59 runs ahead of Warwickshire with seven second innings wickets standing.
  • Durham conceded a first innings advantage of 128 against Lancashire and have only cleared half of that off while losing seven wickets.
  • A great combined bowling effort from Jamie Porter (right arm medium fast) and Simon Harmer (off spin) gave Essex a first innings lead of 75 over Surrey, and Essex are currently 165-4 in their second innings. Porter now has 335 first class wickets at 24 each. The only knight of the realm currently playing first class cricket scored 42 in each Essex innings. Varun Chopra has just tossed his wicket away for 39 to make it 167-5. This brings together the long and short of current Essex cricket – Paul Walter at 6’7″ is joined by Adam Wheater who is a full foot shorter – not the biggest difference in a partnership ever seen – I have seen a picture of a discussion between batting partners Joel Garner (6’8″) and Alvin Kallicharran (5’4″), while for the ultimate ‘long and short’ of top level cricket should it happen would be a partnership between Mohammad Irfan and Poonam Yadav!

In other cricket news Jimmy Anderson has indignantly denied claims that he is considering retirement, saying that he is still targeting another tilt at the old enemy in the 2021-2 series while also acknowledging that he did not bowl well in the recently concluded test match.

SOLUTION TO MY LAST NEWS

I set this yesterday:

Pinwheel

Here is Pall Marton’s published solution:

Sol

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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The Bob Willis Trophy and England v Ireland

A whistle stop tour of the Bob Willis Trophy as the first round of matches draws to a close, a look at the ODI between England and Ireland, some mathematics and photographs.

INTRODUCTION

The first round of Bob Willis Trophy Matches is into its final afternoon, and the third and last match of the ODI series between England and Ireland is underway.

THE BOB WILLIS TROPHY

Late yesterday afternoon Sussex became the first team to win a Bob Willis Trophy match when they bowled Hampshire out for 150 in the final innings to win a low scoring match by 94 runs. Oliver Edward Robinson, the right arm medium fast bowler, was Sussex’s star player, following 3-36 in the first Hampshire innings with 5-29 in their second. Jack Carson, a 19 year old off spinner had 3-37 in that final innings as well, following 2-15 first time round. Felix Organ, an off spinning all rounder (mentioned in this post in my all-time XIs series), and Mason Crane, a leg spinner, each took three wickets in each Sussex innings. Somerset joined Sussex in the winners enclosure this morning, bowling Glamorgan out in the final innings for 160 to win by a colossal 289 runs. The Overton twins got among the wickets in both innings, while Jack Brooks, better known as a bowler, had some fun with the bat for Somerset with 72 in the first innings. Tom Abell, a young batter looking to stake a claim to an England place, made 119 in Somerset’s second innings. I will pay Glamorgan the courtesy of making no reference to their efforts in this match. Yorkshire have just become the third team to record a victory in the competition, having been delayed by rain this morning, but getting the better of Durham by six wickets. All of Yorkshire’s seamers got among the wickets, and Dawid Malan and Harry Brook scored runs in the final innings. Northamptonshire look to have turned the tables on Warwickshire after a disastrous start. Northants were rolled for 142 in their first innings, and Warwickshire scored 369-8 from 120 overs in response before their first innings had to be closed. Northamptonshire are 453-6 in their second innings and all but safe from defeat. Surrey and Middlesex is interestingly poised at The Oval. Middlesex declared their second innings at 248-6, setting Surrey 314 to win in 71 overs, and Surrey lost three wickets early in their second innings and are currently 76-3 in the 27th. Daniel Moriarty, a left arm spinner on first class debut took five wickets out of the six Middlesex lost in their second innings. Ryan Patel and Jamie Smith are currently batting well. Smith, Surrey’s keeper in the absence of Ben Foakes, scored 80 in the first innings, while Patel has some long innings to his credit in the past (he also bowls medium pace and holds the record for taking five first class wickets earlier in his career than any other bowler in terms of balls bowled to get there). Martin Andersson (no, this is not a typo, his surname is spelt the Nordic way with a double s, as opposed to veteran England seamer James Anderson, although he was born in Reading, Berkshire) bowled a crucial spell in the Surrey first innings, and also scored 50 in Middlesex’s second innings. Lancashire managed 322 in the first innings against Leciestershire, who responded with 409-8, while Lancashire are now 181-6 in their second innings. Callum Parkinson, twin brother of Matt who when not injured is part of the England ODI setup, has bagged five wickets in this match, two in the first Lancashire innings and three more in the second. Gloucs and Worcs looks like going the way of the latter. Gloucestershire made 267 in their first innings and are now 244-9 in their second, with Worcestershire having scored 428-5 in their first innings. Josh Tongue has bowled well for Worcestershire in both innings. Notts and Derbyshire is going Notts’ way but only just – they have set Derbyshire 365 to win and the latter are currently 212-5. Joey Evison, a young all rounder,  has made two scores of over 30 for Notts and picked up four wickets, while Haseeb Hameed formerly of Lancashire is showing signs of resurrecting his batting having scored 68 and 52 in this match. Finally, the ‘Dartford Crossing Derby’ between Kent and Essex looks likely to go Essex’s way, although they have just lost another wicket, making it 148-5 and 54 needed to win. Kent made 387 first up, Essex 298 in response, but then Kent folded for 112 in their second innings. Jamie Porter took four wickets in the first Kent innings, while Heino Kuhn scored 140. Matt Milnes took four wickets for Kent in his turn, while Marcus O’Riordan, an off spinner, took three. Simon Harmer in turn took four wickets with his own spin, while Essex’s opening bowlers took five between them, three for Sam Cook and two for Porter. Hamidullah Qadri has a wicket with his own off spin in the Essex second innings.

ENGLAND V IRELAND

England have lost three early wickets, but are now fighting back, having just got 100 up. Morgan the skipper is doing most of the scoring at present, while Tom Banton is playing the support role. Roy and Bairstow were both out in single figures, and Vince yet again looked impressive for a short period before getting out, this time with 16 to his name. As a senior top order batter Vince must be running out of chances – he has produced seemingly numberless elegant miniatures but no full fledged masterpiece as yet.

SOLUTION AND NEW TEASER

I set this one in my last post:

Fractal

These were the possible answers:

a)

Below is a screenshot of Vinayak Srivastava’s published solution – click on it for more:

Vinayak

This one was today’s daily challenge on brilliant, although I am making it a little tougher than they did (the four daggers is a ludicrous overstatement of the difficulty of this one):

disease

My change is that where they gave a list of options for what was closest the the probability that someone testing positive actually has the disease I simply ask: To the nearest whole number what is the percentage chance that someone who has tested positive for the disease actually has it? Answer in my next post (my own explanation, plus a particularly impressive published solution).

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off:

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PS Kent have turned things around against Essex and now have them 172-8 needing to score 30 with only two wickets left. Tom Banton is starting to blossom in the ODI, having now reached 50, his first such ODI score.

The Start Of The Bob Willis Trophy

A first post on the Bob Willis Trophy, a bit of mathematics and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This post looks at the start of the competition that has been devised to replace the county championship in this pandemic hit season, play in which got underway at 11AM this morning. The second ODI between England and Ireland gets underway at the Ageas Bowl shortly.

HONOURING A LEGEND

Bob Willis, the former fast bowler who was only the second England bowler to take as many as 300 test wickets, following in the footsteps of Fred Trueman, died on December 4th 2019. When it became apparent a normal county championship would be impossible to stage it was only natural that his name should be attached to the replacement competition. Willis’ finest hour came at Headingley in 1981. He he taken no wickets in either innings, when with Australia 56-1 in their second innings needing only a further 74 for victory he was given one last chance to save his test career. Just under an hour later Australia were 75-8 and Willis had taken six wickets in as many overs (the other, the adhesive Border, had fallen to Chris Old). Dennis Lillee and Ray Bright launched a counter attack that yielded 35 runs in four overs before Lillee mistimed a drive and Gatting ran in, dived and held the catch. Alderman was dropped twice of Botham, but the first ball of Willis’ 16th over of the innings and tenth off the reel uprooted Bright’s middle stump to give England victory by 18 runs, with Willis having figures of 8-43. Willis would play on another three years, captaining the side for a period.

AN EXPERIMENT BORN OF NECESSITY

The 18 First Class counties have been split into three regions, South, Central and North. Each region will be play five rounds of matches, so that each side plays each other side in their region twice. At the end of this the two teams with the most points will play a final at Lord’s, which will be contested over five days instead of the regular four for a county fixture. Certain other changes have been made to the normal format of county games: the number of points for a draw has been increased from five to eight so that teams who suffer a lot of adverse weather will not too badly affected, a new ball will only be available at 90 overs rather than 80, the first innings for each county cannot last beyond 120 overs, and the minimum lead to be able to enforce the follow-on will be 200 rather than 150 runs. One beneficial side effect of these arrangements should be that spinners come into the game more than at present (Surrey and Middlesex, whose game I have listened to some of, are each playing two spinners, in Surrey’s case first class debutant Daniel Moriarty and England hopeful Amar Virdi, who would be the most obvious replacement for Dom Bess in the off spinner;s role). England is somewhat overburdened with bowlers who move the ball around a bit at medium pace or fractionally above and short of both genuine pace and spin. Surrey and Warwickshire were going to be experimenting with letting in spectators, but that has been prevented by the fact that Covid-19 cases are spiking upward making caution once more the order of the day.

A MEASURE OF MATHEMATICS

I have solutions to provide to the two problems I posed in my previous post, and I also have a new problem to set. My first was this one:

This was a bit of trick question. The answer is the both final shapes have the same number of faces (14 as it happens). Here is a published solution from Mahdi Raza:

FaceOff Sol

The second problem I posed was this one:

SNN

The fact that the result is not allowed to be negative at any stage means that only five square numbers need be considered as possible plays for Mei – 1, 4, 9, 16 and 25. 25 + 9 = 34, which means that if either of these numbers is chosen Yuri is left with a square number and reaches 0 at the first attempt, which leaves 1, 4 and 16 as options. 

Case 1: Mei plays 16. This reduces the number to 18. Yuri’s choices are now 1, 4, 9 or 16, of which 9 is instantly ruled out since it gives the game to Mei. However a choice of 16 by Yuri reduces the number to 2. Mei’s next move is forced 0 she subtracts 1, leaving 1 remaining and a win for Yuri as he also subtracts 1.

Case 2: Mei plays 4. This reduces the number to 30. All Yuri now has to do is play 25, reducing the number to 5, and whether Mei subtracts 1 or 4 she leaves a square number which Yuri thus reduces to 0 winning the game.

Case 3: Mei plays 1 which reduces the number to 33. If Yuri plays 25 that reduces the number to 8. Mei has a choice between 1 and 4, and 4 reduces the total to 4 an a win for Yuri, so she has to play 1. If Yuri now plays 4 then Mei plays 1 and Yuri has to do likewise, giving the game to Mei. Thus Yuri plays 1 reducing the number to 6, and Mei can then win the game by playing 4 and making the number 2 with Yuri to play. Thus Yuri cannot play 25 as his first response. If he plays 16 that reduces the number to 17, from which Mei cannot play 1 as that gives Yuri the game. If she plays four that reduces the number to 13, and Yuri’s forced moved of 1 reduces the number to 12, from which Mei cannot play one or nine as they immediately allow winning moves for Yuri. So she plays four, making the number now eight, and Yuri counters with a one which makes the number seven, and whether Mei plays one or four Yuri is in control because his own next move makes the number two. If she plays a nine instantly from 17 that reduces the number to eight and again Yuri is in control. Similarly 16 hands the game straight to Yuri. Thus whatever number Mei starts with Yuri has a winning response. THus, if both players play optimally Mei cannot win.

The new problem involves fractal geometry:

 

There are five answers for you to choose from:

a)

Solution in my next post.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off:

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England In Control

An update on the test match, a bit of mathematics and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

The weather may yet baulk England in the current test match in Manchester, but the West Indies will not be doing so.

YESTERDAY

When I wrote yesterday’s post the West Indies were just starting their response to England’s 369. England took wickets regularly throughout yesterday’s play, the West Indies reaching the close at 137-6, with Holder and Dowrich together. This meant that enforcing the follow-on was still a possibility to be considered.

TODAY

England were possibly over mindful of the chance of enforcing the follow on, and hoping to keep Broad and Anderson to use the new ball in an envisaged West Indies second innings they opened up with Archer and Woakes. Holder and Dowrich were still together 53 minutes into the day when Broad was finally called upon to bowl. He proceeded to whip out the last four wickets, limiting the West Indies to 197, 172 less than England jad scored. Broad’s four wickets today gave him innings figures of 6-31, the 12th time he has taken six or more in a test innings, equalling Sydney Barnes (who however needed only 27 test matches to take his 12 six plus wicket hauls. Broad also scored 62 in the England first innings. At Melbourne in 1883 Billy Bates scored 55 with the bat and took seven wickets in each Aussie innings, including England’s first ever test cricket. In 1980 Ian Botham scored 114 not out and took 6-58 and 7-48 vs India in what was then Bombay (now Mumbai). Shortly after this match he injured his back and was never quite the same bowler again, although he still took plenty of wickets by sheer force of character. At Edgbaston in 2005 Andrew Flintoff scored 73 and 68 and took four wickets in each innings.

England have not altered their batting order for the second innings thus far – Sibley and Burns are in action, but in view of the forecast for tomorrow they would be well advised to be thinking in terms of declaring today so that even if tomorrow is a total washout they still have one full day in which to bowl West Indies out again. West Indies keeper Dowrich is off the field injured, with Shai Hope briefly taking over while Da Silva the reserve keeper got himself padded and gloved for action, and he is now behind the stumps. England when playing against New Zealand in 1986 used four keepers in a single innings – French was injured, Athey took over briefly before Bob Taylor was summoned from a hospitality tent to act as sub for the rest of that day, while Bobby Parks of Hampshire (son of James M Parks, grandson of James H Parks, grand nephew of HW Parks) responded to an SOS and did the job the following day. Da Silva has just made a complete horlicks of a stumping chance, knocking the stumps over without having the ball in his hands.

THE OVAL – THE RETURN OF SPECTATORS

There is a friendly match between Surrey and Middlesex at The Oval which is being used to trial the carefully managed return of spectators – 1,000 (900 Surrey members and 100 Middlesex members) have been allowed into the ground, the spectators seated singly or in small groups, with at least two empty seats between each separate spectator or group of spectators. It appears to be going well so far. In terms of the cricket Surrey are batting today, and Middlesex will bat tomorrow. Will Jacks, one of Surrey’s better young players is batting well according to reports.

A MEASURE OF MATHEMATICS

This section of the post has three parts, beginning with…

SOLUTION TO YESTERDAY’S TEASER

Yesterday I offered you a calcdoku courtesy of brilliant.org with the task being to work out the sum of the numbers in the diagonal from top left to bottom right. Here is the solution:

SC

The diagonal thus contains two 2s and two 1s for a sum of 6. The key to solving this is the ’64X’  block, which can contain only the numbers 1,2 and 4. It has three quarters of a row and three quarters of a column, and so all three numbers are needed to go in those five squares – the corner being the overlap. That corner contains a 2, which means that the numbers in the other four squares are two 1s and two 4s, making the sixth number a second two. These numbers then force the ‘9+’ block to be 3,4, 2, which in turn force the placing of the remaining of the numbers.

EMMY NOETHER

Emmy Noether was a German mathematician who changed the face of physics by linking two important concepts, conservation laws and symmetries. 102 years and three days ago Noether unveiled her theorem. Emily Conover has an article about this on sciencenews.org. Here is what famousscientists.org have to say about Noether.

A NEW PROBLEM FROM BRILLIANT

This problem is a splendid one which was somewhat spoiled by the conditions as I shall explain:

Fractal

I will make this multiple choice, but not with the options given on brilliant, which were the spoiler – the answers I offer you to pick from are:

a)1.00-1.25
b)1.25-1.50
c)1.50-1.75
d)1.75-1.99

Solution and explanation tomorrow.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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