My all-time Surrey XI, as I find ways to make up for the absence of live cricket.
Since there will be no cricket, or any other sport come to that, for a while I am going to fill the void by playing selector for a few all-time squads. Since I grew up in south London I will start with Surrey.
MY SURREY XI EXPLAINED
Jack Hobbs – more first class runs and more first class hundreds than anyone else, also still has the England record for Ashes runs – 3,636 of them, including another record, 12 centuries in those matches. He was also a more than handy bowler of medium pace and a brilliant fielder at cover point. His claim to an opening slot is unanswerable.
John Edrich – the left hander was one of three strong contenders for this slot, and both of the other two, Andrew Sandhamand Tom Hayward, actually did open the innings with Hobbs, but although I see the value of picking an existing partnership, Edrich’s left handedness creates an extra problem for the fielding side to contend with, and for me that is the crucial factor.
Ken Barrington – finding big run scorers associated with Surrey is not difficult, but what sets Barrington apart (and no 3 is has natural position) is that he was even more of a heavy scorer at test level (average 58.67).
Graham Thorpe – that rara avis an English middle order batter from the 1990s with a record to boast about. A century on debut against Australia and an average in the mid 40s maintained through precisely 100 test caps tells its own story about his consistency.
Peter May – In what was an overall low scoring decade (the 1950s) he maintained a test average of 46.77, and was also highly prolific for his county.
+Alec Stewart – in spite of the fact that doing so loses some of the brilliance of Stewart the batter I name him as keeper for the sake of the balance of the side. The leading scorer of test runs in the 1990s, and a very able keeper. Given the top five he would very likely be coming in with free rein to play his strokes.
*Percy Fender – a fine all-rounder, a highly respected captain who many felt should have had the England job and precisely the right kind of person to be batting no 7 in a strong team – he holds the record (35 minutes) for the fastest century against genuinely first class bowling.#
Alec Bedser– a man who in the period immediately after World War two was not just the spearhead, but pretty much the entire spear of England’s bowling attack, and the first to take 200 wickets for England.
Jim Laker – probably the finest of all orthodox offspinners, and for Surrey he was frequently more successful away than at home (in each of seasons 1955, 1956 and 1957 this applied to name but three).
Tony Lock – the other half of the great spin pairing of the 1950s, a slow left-armer.
Tom Richardson – a fast bowler who took more wickets for Surrey than any other bowler in their history. His 1,000th first class wicket came in his 134th first class match, and his 2,000th in his 327th.
This team consists of an awesome top five, a batter-keeper at six, an all-rounder and four frontline bowlers. There are two left handers among the top batters, and the bowling contains the new ball pair of Richardson and Bedser, an offspinner, a slow left armer and a leg spinner (Fender), plus Hobbs’ medium pace if required. I have not included an overseas player, but if mandated to do so I would bring in Waqar Younis in place of Richardson.
George Lohmann (definitely in an all-time Surrey tour party as cover for Bedser), Martin Bicknell, Bill Lockwood and Alf Gover all merit consideration as bowlers, while other than the openers I could not accommodate Douglas Jardine andEric Bedser were two of the better batters to miss out. Mark Ramprakash did not come into my calculations because his record at the highest level was ordinary, and the bulk of his runs for Surrey came while they were in division 2 and not up against the strongest bowling attacks.
Accounts of goings on in today’s Royal London Cup matches including predictiuons, a few links and some photographs.
All seven of today’s Royal London Cup matches have reached the half way stage, and as with first two rounds (see here and here) I will be venturing predictions as to the eventual outcomes of the matches and mentioning noteworthy performances.
THE ROYAL LONDON CUP MATCHES 21/4
Here we go…
Northamptonshire v Warwickshire – Northamptonshire 358-9 from 50 overs
A big total for Northamptonshire, and one that I would expect them to defend. Nobody made a really big score for Northants, but Keogh (69 off 87), Rossington (68 off 58), Holder (60 not out off 31), Wakely(50 off 50) and Levi(48 off 37) all contributed. Henry Brookes continued his good start to the season with another three wickets, albeit at a considerable cost (3-80 off 10), while Jeetan Patel was the most economical bowler with 2-55 off 10.
Glamorgan v Somerset– Somerset 261-9 from 50 overs
The Somerset total is by means huge, but it represents a recovery from 178-8 at low water mark, and Glamorgan made a horrible hash of each of their first two games after seemingly being in contention at the halfway point, so I am confidently predicting a Somerset win. Veteran James Hildreth top scored with 67, while Craig Overton spearheaded the recover with 41 not out off 46 balls at the end. De Langeand Labuschagne each took three wickets for Glamorgan.
Kent v Sussex – Kent 298 all out 49.4 overs
An intriguing one. Aussie Matt Renshawscored 109 for Kent, while Ollie Robinson was second top scorer wirh 46 and both openers made 30, and there was a late 32 from Harry Podmore which could prove crucial. Left arm quick George Gartontook 3-42 from 8 overs and the two spinners Briggs (SLA, like his legendary namesake of yesteryear Johnny) and Will Beer (legbreak) each picked up a couple of wickets. I will predict Kent to defend this one.
Leicestershire v Worcestershire – Leciestershire 377-4 from 50 overs
A very fine score by Leicestershire, and I fully expect them to defend it – Lancashire’s effort the other day notwithstanding totals this large are rarely chased down even nowadays. Ackermanmade 152 not out off 143 balls for Leicestershire, wicketkeeper Lewis Hill scored 118 off 62 balls and Harry Dearden 91 off 92 balls at the top of the order. Charlie Morrisand Josh Tongue each took two wickets, apart from which it is best to draw a veil over the Worcestershire bowling figures.
Middlesex v Gloucestershire – Gloucestershire 283-7 from 50 overs
A decent total for Gloucestershire, but these days by no means a certainty for them to defend. Nonetheless I predict that the county of my birth will get the better of the Londoners, although this is the call I am least confident of. James Bracey madce 83 and Benny Howell 55. Toby Roland-Jones who has played with some success for England took two wickets as did Ireland star Tim Murtagh.
Yorkshire v Lancashire – Lancashire 311-7 from 50 overs A good total for Lancashire, and given the success of teams batting first so far this season it will probably be enough for them in this roses clash. Steven Croft top scored with 97 off 117 balls, Rob Jones made 65 off 51 balls and Josh Bohannonscored 55 not out off 32 at the end. David Willey took 2-51 from his 10 overs.
Derbyshire v Nottinghamshire – Derbyshire 297-8 from 50 overs
A decent looking total from Derbyshire, but given the score that Nottinghamshire produced last time out I am backing them to chase it down. Billy Godleman scored 116 off 148 balls to anchor the Derbyshire effort, Luis Reece hit 88 off 82 balls, Wayne Madsen scored 38 off 28 balls, and there were no other significant contributions. Luke Fletcher took 5-56 and Jake Ball2-55.
Thus my predictions are: Northamptonshire, Somerset, Kent, Leicestershire, Gloucestershire, Lancashire and Nottinghamshire. I am listening to the commentary on the match between Glamorgan and Somerset, and Glamorgan have responded to the challenge of chasing 262 for victory by slumping to 31-5 in tne ninth over. Four of the five batters dismissed in this pathetic reply were punished for playing straight balls with pad rather than bat. Overton and Scottish medium pacer Josh Davey have been doing the damage.
Cricket, golf and a walk – features lots of pictures.
The county cricket season is underway, and just after midnight our time the first golf major of the year was decided. Additionally the weather today is so pleasant that for the first time in 2016 I am using my ‘outside study area’…
AN EXTRAORDINARY FINALE
Reaching the point at which Jack Nicklaus among others has said majors really begin – namely the back nine on Sunday, this years US Masters was looking like Jordan Spieth was going to comfortably retain his title, but then he hit trouble, first in small way with bogeys at 10 and 11 (both very difficult holes) and then in a huge way at the 12th. At this tiny but fearsome par 3 Spieth put two balls in the water, clocking up a quadruple bogey 7 and losing the lead for about the first time of the tournament. England’s Danny Willett recorded a 67 to get to the club house at five under for the tournament, and Spieth reached the 17th needing a birdie, birdie finish to tie (barring miracles neither hole offers any chance of an eagle). A bogey at 17 and it was all over, and Willett, the previously unknown Englishman was the champion. The 18th at Augusta is a long par-four, not remotely drivable, and in any case the longest distance from which anyone has holed out to win a tournament is 176 yards by Robert Gamez (the victim of this freak, not for the first or last time in his career was Greg Norman).
A MORNING WALK
Before the cricket started today (day 2 of 4, Nottinghamshire having peen put in by Surrey had run up 445, Surrey had survived two overs without incident) I headed off for a walk. I was barely started when the first photo presented itself…
The riverside stretch to Hardings Pits yielded some cracking pics, a good few featuring cormorants…
Cormorant in full flight above the Great Ouse
The mouth of the Nar as it flows into the Great Ouse
West Lynn Church
The parkland stretch of the walk yielded two different types of train and several birds…
Magpie, just before heading back towards town.
This bronze Norwich Union plaque is the only one of its kind I have seen – it is to be spotted near the Catholic Church
The walk back into town, following Bawsey Drain, yielded a wide variety of shots…
Ducklings with their mother.
These adorn the Tuesday Market Place
SURREY IN TROUBLE
Having conceded almost 450 by poor bowling, Surrey are now struggling with the bat, at 149-5. Elsewhere, Durham and Somerset are enjoying a low-scoring tussle, while Ben Duckett of Northamptonshire has relieved the Sussex bowlers of 254 (and counting – he’s still there). I shall be doing some prep for my photographic display at the Positive Autism Awareness Conference this Friday once I have published this, which ends with this picture…