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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The Royal London Cup Playoffs

A look at the playoffs in the Royal London Cup and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Today features the Royal London Cup playoffs, with Somerset playing Worcestershire and Lancashire playing Middlesex for the right to join group winners Hampshire (clear favourites to win the competition) and Nottinghamshire in the semi-finals. Although my last set of predictions worked out horribly, only one being correct, giving me a tally of 28/49 overall I shall be trying again with these two matches.

THE STATE OF PLAY AND PREDICTIONS

  • Worcestershire v SomersetSomerset 337-8 from 50 overs.
    The main contribution to a fine batting effort for Somerset was 112 from 20 year-old wicketkeeper Tom Banton (his second century of the competition), and he was well backed by useful contributions all down the order. I predict that Somerset will defend this total and therefore take their place in the semi-final against Nottinghamshire.
  • Lancashire v MiddlesexLancashire 210-3 from 38.2 overs.
    96 from Jennings and 68 from Croft have put Lancashire in a strong position. Nevertheless, given some of the totals I have seen chased down recently I am going to predict that Middlesex win this one and go on to play Hampshire in the semi-final.

In addition to these two matches Scotland and Afghanistan are playing an ODI. Scotland have amassed 325-7 from 50 overs and Afghanistan are 41-1 in reply at present. I think Scotland will defend their impressive total, which gives me thee predictions: Somerset, Middlesex and Scotland.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off..

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The Royal London Cup South Group Final Games

The final South Group games in the Royal London Cup, a brief mention of Tapping House and loads of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

We have reached the halfway stage of the last set of matches in the South group of the Royal London Cup. By the end of today we will know who two of the semi-finalists are and who will be playing off for the right to join them. Before looking at today’s matches it is time to reveal all about…

YESTERDAY’S PREDICTIONS

This is what happened in yesterday’s matches:

  • Northamptonshire v Nottinghamshire –  Northamptonshire 325-7 from 50 overs, Nottinghamshire 328-9 from 49.3 overs, Nottinghamshire won by one wicket.
    This one went down to the wire. In the end a magnificent innings by Samit Patel (136 not out) saw Nottinghamshire home. Tom Sole bowled only two overs for Northants (0-17), and my first prediction failed.
  • Derbyshire v WorcetsershireDerbyshire 351-9 from 50 overs, Worcestershire 353-6 from 48.2 overs, Worcestershire won by four wickets.
    130 off 62 balls from Ricky Wessels put Worctesreshire in control of this chase, and with Tom Fell (49 off 56) and Callum Ferguson (103 off 95) also performing well they emerged comfortable winners, spoiling another of my predictions. 
  • Leicestershire v WarwickshireLeicestershire 340 all out from 49.3 overs, Warwickshire 304 all out from 47.1 overs, Leciestershire won by 36 runs.
    Ed Pollock (57) and Robert Yates (66) both got going for Warwickshire, but neither produced a really big score, and nor did anyone else. Tom Taylor ensured that there could be no arguments over player of the match by following his 98 not out with 3-58 and a fine catch. Other than Taylor, Callum Parkinson (brother of Lancashire’s Matt Parkinson) took 1-55 from 10 overs of slow left-arm, and part time spinners Ateeq Javid and Colin Ackerman hac a combined 1-38 from nine, suggesting that they could have been profitably given more overs, just as Warwickshire had missed a trick regarding the offspin of Yates and Banks. I called this one correctly.
  • Durham v Yorkshire no result, Durham 182-2 from 34.2 overs.
    The rain settled this one, ending Durham’s involvement in the competition. 

I had one correct prediction and two wrong ones, putting me on 27/45 overall.

TODAY’S MATCHES

  • Somerset v Surrey Surrey 289-9 from 50 overs.
    Surrey batted well, but could never get right away. Dean Elgar made 64, Ben Foakes 46, Jamie Smith 40 and Ryan Patel 41 not out off 32. FI expect or Somerset the best bowling came from the Overtons, Jamie with 4-64 off nine overs and Craig, continuing his excellent form in the competition, 3-48 from 10. Slow left-armer Roelof Van Der Merwe was economical, recording 1-45 from 10. I predict that Surrey will defend these.
  • Sussex v Glamorgan Sussex 347-7 from 50 overs.
    110 from Laurie Evans, 96 from Luke Wright and 57 not out from David Wiese were the principal contributions to a fine total. Marchant De Lange took 3-74,  22 year-old medium pacer Daniel Douthwaite 2-46 and Lucas Carey 2-64. I expect Sussex to defend these easily.
  • Kent v MiddlesexMiddlesex 380-5 from 50 overs.
    A massive score for Middlesex, dominated by Max Holden, a 21 year-old who bats left handed and bowls right-arm offbreaks, who scored 166 off 139 balls. The other main score was 94 from Kiwi Ross Taylor. No Kent bowler fared at all well. I expect Middlesex to win this with plenty to spare.
  • Essex v Gloucestershire Essex 293 all out from 49.5 overs.
    From a batting point of view this was all about Varun Chopra who scored 156. Leg spinning all-rounder Rishi Patel was next best with 26. Slow left-armer Tom Smith was the pick of the bowlers, emerging with 1-44 from his 10. With Simon Harmer, Tom Westley and possibly Dan Lawrence available to bowl spin of various kinds in addition to Patel I expect Essex to defend these.

Thus my predictions are for wins for Surrey, Sussex, Middlesex and Essex.

BACK TO TAPPING HOUSE

I attended my physio session at Tapping House today and everything went pretty well. We were doing ‘strength and power’ exercises today. Anyway, it was good to get back there, not having been able to go last week.

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GENERAL PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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The Royal London Cup Last North Group Games

A look atr today’s Royal London Cup matches, with predictions as to their outcomes. A feature on offspinning allrounders and lots of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This post resumes my following of the Royal London Cup, interrupted by a week in hospital. For that reason I am jot going to do an in depth examination of my last set of predictions. For the record I got three right and three wrong, putting me on 26/42 overall. 

TODAY’S MATCHES AND PREDICTIONS

There are four matches in progress today:

  • Northamptonshire v NottinghamshireNorthamptonshire 325-7 from 50 overs.
    Substantial contributions from Vasconcelos (74), Cobb (61), Keogh (71) and Wakely (53) seem to have put Northamptonshire in control of this one. Samit Patel with 2-51 from his 10 overs was the best of the Nottinghamshire bowlers. The fact that a spinner fared best of all Nottingshamhire’s bowlers suggests that offspinner Tom Sole will be important for Northamptonshire, who I confidently expect to defend this total.
  • Derbyshire v WorcestershireDerbyshire 351-9 from 50 overs
    Centuries from Luis Reece and Wayne Madsen, backed up by 43 of 31 balls from Alex Hughes would seem to have given Derbyshire an unassailable total. No Worcestershire bowler deserves to have their figures quoted.
  • Leicestershire v Warwickshire Leicestershire 340 all out from 49.3 overs.
    Useful scores from Harry Dearden (69) and Colin Ackerman (74) did not look like being enough for Leciestershire, but Tom Taylor, mainly a bowler, played an extraordinary innings, making 98 not out off 56 balls to change the complexion of the game. Warwcikshire had two teenagers who supposedly bowl offspin, Liam Banks and Robert Yates, but did not turn to either of them, even though Jeetan Patel, another offspinner, had 2-46 from his 10 overs, and Alex Thomson had 1-39 from his full 10 bowling…off spin. Instead of trying the youngsters Warwickshire allowed Hannon-Dalby (3-85, so at least he got wickets), Miles (1-74), Panayi (1-85 from 9.3) and Will Rhodes (one over for 13) to get hammered. I expect Leicestershire to defend these quite easily.
  • Yorkshire v DurhamDurham 179-2 after 33.1 overs, rain affected
    Yorkshire, already certain of qualification, quite sensibly used this match as a chance to blood some youngsters (this has caused some moaning from those based on the wrong side of The Pennines, as a Durham victory would be bad news for them), and it would appear that they will face a stiff target once the DLS adjustment has been made (when the rain came Durham had 80% of their wickets and 33% of their overs remaining, so I would expect Yorkshire’s target to be in excess of seven an over, maybe more if the match is greatly shortened. The four non-regulars getting a run out for Yorkshire today are Will Fraine, a 22 year old right hand batter, Jared Warner, a 22 year old right-arm fast medium (5 overs for 32 today), Jordan Thompson a 22 year old right arm medium pacer (5 overs for 43 today) and Ben Birkhead, a 20 year old wicketkeeper. Leg spinner Josh Poysden with six overs for 27 was the most economical of the bowlers. Sam Steel made 68 for Durham and Lees was on 50 not when the rain came. Unless the rain wins this one I expect Durham to do so.

In view of the fact that Warwickshire should have used one or both of Banks and Yates and that Leciestershire already have Ackerman bowling his offspin early in the Warwickshire innings I am going to give you an extra feature looking at some…

OFF SPINNING ALL ROUNDERS

In view of the difficulty of accommodating two non-batting spinners (it either means having a long tail to the team or only having two specialist pace bowlers) it is clearly advantageous to have spinners who can bat. Here are five from across cricket’s history who played that role, bowling off-spin and batting well in the middle of the order:

  1. Billy Bates, Yorkshire and England.
    For England he played 15 times, scoring 656 runs at 27.33 and taking 50 wickets at 16.42. In all first-class cricket he scored 10,249 runs at 21.57 and took 874 wickets at 17.13. Note that his averages were slightly better in test cricket than in first-class cricket. His wickets would have cost more these days, but his batting average would also have been higher. I reckon that by today’s lights he would be a good person to have batting at number eight and bowling his off-breaks. His best test match was at Melbourne in 1883-4 when he scored 55 and then took seven wickets in each innings, including the first test hat-trick by an England bowler, as England secured an iunnings victory. His son W E Bates played for Yorkshire and Glamorgan, and his grandson Ted was involved in various capacities with Southampton FC for over six decades.
  2. George Giffen, South Australia and Australia.
    He played 31 test matches, scoring 1,238 runs at 23.35 and taking 103 wickets at 27.09. In all first class cricket he scored 11,758 runs at 21.54 and took 1022 wickets at 21.31. In the 1894-5 series, the first ever five match series, he scored 475 runs and took 34 wickets, but still finished on the losing side, Andrew Stoddart’s England winning the first, second and fifth matches to take the series 3-2. For South Australia against Victoria in 1891-2 he scored 271 and took 7-70 and 9-96.
  3. Monty Noble, NSW and Australia.
    He played 42 test matches, scoring 1,997 runs at 30.25 and taking 1, she21 wickets at 25.00. In all first class cricket he managed 13,975 runs at 40.74 and took 624 wickets at 23.14.
  4. Vallance Jupp, Sussex, Northamptonshire and England.
    Only eight tests, which yielded 208 runs at 17.33 and 28 wickets at 22.00, but in all first class cricket he scored 23,296 runs at 29.41 and took 1,658 wickets at 23.58. This included doing the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets for the season 10 times, eight of them in successive seasons (a level of consistency beaten only by George Hirst, 10 of whose 14 doubles happened in successive seasons and rivalled only by Wilfred Rhodes who twice achieved seven successive doubles).
  5. Deepti Sharma, India Women.
    A current player (indeed she is only a little older than the two youngsters who inspired this section of the post), she has not hat the opportunity to play test cricket but her records in other forms of the game (48 ODIs, 1,380 runs at 41.81 and 56 wickets at 27.39, 30 T20Is, 197 runs at 15.15 and 28 wickets at 22.92) suggest that she would fare well in the longer form, especially looking at that highly impressive ODI batting average (and her HS of 188). 

I hope that Warwickshire will give Banks and Yates opportunities to bowl sooner rather than later (and ditto Somerset with George Bartlett, another young middle order batter who supposedly bowls offspin but has been given little chance to demonstrate it), because if they become genuine bowlers as well as good batters there will be much more scope for variety in the England attack. 

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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My new outside furniture.

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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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