Some thoughts on The Royal London Cup and England v Australia, and plenty of photographs.
Somerset are heading for a comfortable win over Hampshire in the final of the Royal London Cup – the only question being whether they will complete the job before I finish this post or not. Meanwhile at the Ageas bowl England are trying to beat Australia in a World Cup warm up match (the tournament proper begins on Thursday.
A CRICKETING WATERSHED
This final is a ‘last’ in two different ways. It is the last to take place at Lord’s, and it is the last domestic 50 over final to involve anything approaching full strength sides, because next year this tournament will be taking place at the same time as “The Hundred”, a new competition in which sides will contest matches of 100 balls per innings, and the best players will all be involved in that competition. Fortunately, although Somerset have been definitely the better side it has been a decent match. Hampshire were 180-8 at one point in their innings, but boosted that to 244-8 so that at least Somerset had some work to do. 56 from Northeast and 55 not out from Fuller (this latter contributg to the final fling mentioned above) were the top scores for Hampshire. Jamie Overton took 3-48, Josh Davey 2-28 from eight overs and remarkably Tom Abell, mainly a batter, had 2-19 from five. 69 from young wicketkeeper/batter Tom Banton at the top of the Somerset innings is the highest score of the day so far, Azhar Ali the other opener made 45, and James Hildreth is currently 45 not out, batting now in the company of youngster George Bartlett.
England are very much in the game against Australia, in spite of the fact that Australia were allowed to play a team of 12.
First, a new find for me – a couple of tiny little birds I spotted while out on a short walk earlier today and which (with help from Lynda Keen on twitter as well as my bird book) I have been able to identify as goldfinches:
A look at the playoffs in the Royal London Cup and some photographs.
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 Somerset – Somerset 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 Middlesex – Lancashire 210-3 from 38.2 overs.
96 from Jenningsand 68 from Crofthave 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.
The final post in my “100 cricketers” series, with updates from the County Cham;pionship and some of my photographs. Also features a complete listing of the 100 cricketers.
Welcome to the final post in my “100 cricketers series“, which completes the century of cricketers with a player who frequently completed centuries. The introductory post to the series can be found here and the most recent post can be found here. Before the big reveal it is time for a…
COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP UPDATE
The second round of matches are now into their third day of four, and the situations are:
Hampshire v Yorkshire – Yorkshire 554-7D, Hampshire 223-5 Sam Northeastcontinues his fine start to the season, currently being on 85 not out, while he is getting support from Liam Dawson(39 not out). Ben Coad has taken two wickets for Yorkshire. If Hampshire reach 405 and avoid the follow-on this game will definitely be drawn. If they do not then Yorkshire should enforce the follow-on and hope to bowl them out a second time – failure to do so would be to accept a secon successive draw.
Nottinghamshire v Somerset– Nottinghamshire 263 and 111-7, Somerset 403 Nottinghamshire are in a spin, and it it is looking like a second straight victory for Somerset. Jack Leach, Somerset and England’s slow left-armer has taken 5-22 so far, the other two second innings wickets going to Jack Brooks. Will George Bartlett (one of my Five to Follow) get a chance to deploy his off-spin? Lewis Gregory(another of the five) augmented his first innings 6-68 with a quickfire 50 yesterday, but has not added to his wickets tally in this innings. Joe Clarke (the third of the five to be involved in this game) suffered a second failure, being out for 2 again.
Kent v Warwickshire – Kent 504-9 declared, Warwickshire 262-7 There are two results on the cards – a Kent win if they get Warwickshire out before the total reaches 355 (follow-on avoidance target) and enforce the follow-on and bowl them out a second time, or a draw if Warwickshire get to or beyond 355. Dominic Sibley, opneing the innings, is 128 not out, and Warwickshire’s hopes of escape rest largely on his shoulders. Matt Milnes has three wickets and Harry Podmore and Darren ‘Benjamin Button’ Stevens(he is now 43 years old) have two each.
Durham v Sussex– Durham 224 and 159-9, Sussex 202 A nailbiter in the making – Durham have fought back somewhat from 106-7 in their second kinnings. Liam Trevaskis could not follow up on his first innings 50, collecting a blob this time. This means that of my Five to Follow only Philip Salt, who will be batting before too long remains to contribute. David Wiese has five wickets for Sussex.
STOP PRESS! Somerset have made it two from two, beating Nottinghamshire by an innings and 14. Jack Leach took 6-36 and Jack Brooks 4-22, as Nottinghamshire sank for 126. This means two wins out of two as they go into a month’s break in the championship for a one-day tournament. Somerset are looking very strong contenders, although they will need their top order to score a few runs somewhere along the way. This effort in his first bowling spell of the new season has surely confirmed Leach’s place in the England squad. Now back to the regular updates…
Glamorgan v Northamptonshire – Glamorgan 570-8 declared, Northamptonshire 403-3 This one is being capsized by an overload of runs. Vasconcelos (South African) and Newton shared a triple century opening stand for Northamptonshire, the former making 184. The bowlers have had no chance on this pitch, so I will not quote a\ny figures.
Leicestershire v Worcestershire – Worcestershire 553-6 declared, Leicestershire 302 and 10-1 (following on) Another one that looks like the pitch is too favourable for batting for its own or the game’s good. Worcestershire have given themselves a chance by bowling Leicestershire out and enforcing the follow-on. Tongue (a 21 year old seamer who came into this match with a bowling average of 24) took 4-46 in the first Leicestershire innings, and was backed up by Barnard(a 23 year old who came into this match averaging 28 with both bat and ball) with 3-40.
Middlesex v Lancashire – Middlesex 265, Lancashire 333-4 Yesterday Haseeb Hameed claimed headlines with his 117 (196 balls, 298 minutes), today’s play has been disrupted by the weather. He had had two very quiet years prior to this season and I reckon he needs more than one century to earn a recall to the England side. Jones is currently 82 not out and Vilas 50 not out. If the weather does not win this one then Lancashire will.
Now we are ready for the…
All I have told you about the player who completes the century is that it is somebody who often did just that. So who is it? It is…
15 Test matches yielded her 1,030 runs in 27 innings, with four centuries (just better than one per seven innings) and an average of 41.20, highest score 177. 126 ODIs produced 4,101 runs at 40.20 with eight centuries and a best of 156 not out. She was also a history maker, being the first English female cricketer to have a professional contract (yes, this distinction was achieved by someone born as late as 1975!). Claire Taylor’s successes blazed a trail for others to follow, and all the top England Women now have professional contracts, as opposed to having to combine playing at the top level with earning a living doing something else, which used to be the case. Her great record would earn her a place of honour in any case, but her historic importance makes the case unassailable.
A LOOK BACK ON THE SERIES
No two people attempting a project like this would come up with the same answers, and I expect that all the cricket fans among my readers have people in mind who I have omitted and they would have selected. The problem with these exercises is the embarrassment of riches that one faces – I could have selected many more than 100. A number of young players have stood up to be counted in the early stages of this year’s County Championship.
FOLLOWING ON FROM THIS SERIES
I have a few ideas for following on from this series, which I shall be thinking about while this round of Championship matches heads to its conclusion. I will finish this part of the post by presenting for the first time the whole 100 names in one place:
A quick report on an extraordinary series of happenings at Taunton, which ended with one of the rarest of all sporting results – a tied cricket match.
Today’s extraordinary events in Taunton have almost certainly sealed the 2018 County Championship for Surrey, who already have a substantial lead at the top and are in complete command of their own match against Essex.
TWISTS AND TURNS IN TAUNTON
Lancashire were skittled for 99 in the first innings, to which Somerset replied with 192. In their second innings Lancashire reached 170, leaving Somerset an apparently straightforward task of scoring 78 to win the game. Then Somerset started losing wickets, and at 23-5 Lancashire looked favourites. A bit of a recovery followed, spearheaded by some sensible batting by Dominic Bess. Ay 75-8, needing three to win, it looked like Somerset were sneaking it, but then a ninth wicket fell. At 77 Jamie Overton played out a maiden to Graham Onions. Jack Leach then gave a catch off Keshav Maharaj, giving the South African spinner final innings figures of 7-37 (11-102 in the match) and ending the match in a tie. Genuine ties are very rare birds indeed – this is the first I have personally either heard or seen, and the last county championship game to end thus was in 2003, while only two test matches ever have, Australia v West Indies at Brisbane in 1960 and India versus Australia at Madras (now Chennai) in 1986. This was compulsive listening – I hope the US Open tennis coverage which gets underway shortly matches it for drama.
Somerset and Lancashire I salure for you for providing this spectacle, genuine commiserations to Somerset on the almost certain ending of their championship hopes for this season. Also congratulations to Surrey who have scarcely put a foot wrong in the four-day stuff all season and will deserve to see the championship pennant fluttering over The Oval next season. Vic Marks if you are due to be summarising in the test match it might be advisable to have something come up that prevents you from being there – certain of your colleagues, notably Mr Norcross, are likely to be unbearable.
some thoughts about the recent test match between England and the West Indies, declarations and umpires.
This post is devoted the second test match of the current England versus West Indies series, which ended at about 6:45PM on Tuesday.
THE EARLY EXCHANGES
England batted first and reached 258 only because Ben Stokes(100) and Joe Root (59) were reprieved early in their innings by bad West Indies fielding. Kraigg Brathwaite(134) and Shai Hope (147) were the cornerstones of a the West Indies response, which eventually reached 427, a lead of 169. In the second England innings no-one reached three figures but there were solid efforts all the way down the line, and at 490-8 Joe Root decided to declare and give the West Indies a little session of batting just before the close of the fourth day.
THE FINAL INNINGS
The West Indies made it to the close of the fourth day without losing a wicket. Brathwaite made 95 in this second innings, coming within five of becoming the first batsman ever to score twin centuries in a first-class match at Headingley (and this was the 534th such fixture at the ground), a feat that was finally achieved by player of the match Shai Hope, who also received support from Roston Chase(30) and Jermaine Blackwood (a rapid 41 in the closing stages) who ended up 118 not out, and appropriately enough scored the winning runs.
There are two features that I am going to make specific comments about, starting with…
JOE ROOT’S DECLARATION
For all that the end result was not what he would have wanted I still say, as I said on twitter at the time, and again a day later when the result was imminent, that this was a good declaration, and that Root was entirely right to go for victory. I remember (though few others will as it was not actually a pafrticularly good match) the Australia v West Indies test match at Adelaide in 2009 when the West Indies were one match down in the series after being soundly defeated at the ‘Gabbatoir’ (a nickname for the Woolloongabba stadium in Brisbane, also known as the Gabba) based on what often happens to visiting teams there) but declined to declare, batting on into the final day. Australia faced a target of 330 off 81, and skipper Pontingdecided to settle for the draw rather than going after this target. By the end of the day there were not many people left in the ground (I know whereof I write – I was one of the few who did stay right to the end). I condemn Ponting for this decision to preserve his team’s 1-0 lead in the series rathwer than trying to make it 2-0, as also I condemn the decision of Ryan Ten Doeschate today to extend the Essex second innings into the final afternoon rather than make a serious attempt to win the matchby declaring at or even before lunch. PS when I wrote this paragraph I did not realise that Somerset’s “resistance” would be quite so utterly spineless – it now looks like Essex may get their victory after all.
While I do not quite as far as the legendary Sammy Woods (who played for Somerset in the lat 19th and early 20th centuries) who once responded to an enquiry about whether his team might have played for a draw in a game they ended up losing responded with “draws…they’re for bathing in” but I do not hold the draw in high regard and would much prefer a team take risks in the attempt to win than see them play safely for the draw. In the special case of a team being one match to the good going into the final match of a series I would condone a more cautious approach being taken, although Kevin Pietersen’smagnificent series clinching innings at The Oval in 2005 was hardly cautious!
To finish this section: Joe Root was justified in declaring when he did (as was David Gower at Lord’s in 1984 when the result was even more embarrassing for England, courtesy of a magnificent 214 not out from Gordon Greenidge), and this result stands to the credit of the West Indies batting, especially that of Brathwaite and Hope and not to the debit of Root’s declaration.
SOME SENSIBLE UMPIRING
According to the strict letter of the law play in a purely day game cannot continue if the floodlights are providing more light than the natural light. I congratulate the umpires in this match for not acting with Emeritus Professor of Biosophistry like pedantry and curtailing play due to the light, thus depriving the West Indies of their well-earned victory. There seems little doubt that the light was bad enough to have warranted taking the players off, but the umpires realised given the match situation was such that the players should be kept out there.
Here are a couple of links relating to this test match:
The final match of this series should be good, and almost certainly will feature a moment of history as James Anderson goes into it with 497 test wickets to his credit. Then England have the task of taking on Australia in Australia. This is a seriously tough task, but I think that this England squad can do it.
As always I end this post with some of my own photographs:
Some cricket, some music including references to the Classic FM Hall of Fame, some stuff about upcoming local elections and some photographs.
An odd combination of topics to appear in a title, but all will be made clear in the course of this post. There will of course be some of my photographs as well.
The English cricket season is well underway. Because of an alteration to the structure of the two divisions of first class counties last season to a first division of eight teams and a second division of ten teams, it is now possible for all 18 first class counties to be in action simultaneously, as was not the case when there were nine teams in each division. Over this Easter weekend, for the first time since 1999 (the last season of the single division championship) all 18 of said sides have been in action. Glamorgan lost heavily to Worcestershire before today was underway. Leicestershire had also suffered an innings defeat at the hands of Gloucestershire. Essex and Somerset also finished early, a century from Alastair Cook anchoring Essex in their fourth innings chase of 255. Warwickshire only kept their match against Yorkshire alive into the fourth day because of some assistance from the weather, and having started the season with back to back innings defeats, and three shocking batting performances out of four innings, they must be considered heavy favourites for one of the relegation spots from division 1. Of the five remaining matches, Nottinghamshire are nearly done and dusted against Durham (since I wrote this Nottinghamshire have completed the job as expected, with nine wickets in hand), and it would also seem to be only a matter of time before Kent finish the job against Sussex (this match has also subsequently reached its predicted conclusion). A draw looks the most likely result in the Surrey versus Lancashire, although Surrey are not out of the woods yet. Hampshire and Middlesex also looks like being a draw, although again the Londoners are not quite safe yet. That leaves only…
DERBYSHIRE VERSUS NORTHAMPTONSHIRE
Overnight this also looked like a draw was the most likely result, with Derbyshire 128 runs to the good with 10 second winnings standing. However, some behind the scenes discussions obviously took place, since Northamptonshire spent the morning session of today feeding Derbyshire easy runs, handing Reece (168) and Godleman (156 not out) a new record opening stand for Derbyshire. A declaration at 351-1 left Northamptonshire two sessions to score 326 for victory. Whatever happens in these two session neither team will emerge from this match with much credit in my book. While Northamptonshire’s motivation was obvious, Derbyshire could easily have declined the offer, backing their batsmen to score off proper bowling.
The long Easter weekend is when the Classic FM Hall of Fame is unveiled. It is assembled from listener votes. Each participant votes for their first, second and third favourite pieces of classical music, and the votes are all tallied up. The Hall of Fame comprises the top 300 pieces that emerge at the end of the process, and they are played counting down from 300 to 1 between 10AM and 10PM on each day of the weekend (it used when it first started to be 9AM to 9PM). This is the first occasion on which there has been a clash between the Hall of Fame and live cricket. I have resolved that clash by listening to the cricket when it has been on five live sports extra, and to the music at other times. The only exception to this was on Saturday afternoon, when it was time for…
A shortage of available NAS West Norfolk Committee members meant that I was there for both sessions. The attendances were unsurprisingly low in both sessions. However, those who were able to make it had a good time. In the second session I renewed my acquaintanceship with Scratch 2, and next time I shall be moving on to another aspect of this program. Here are some pictures…
Various places in the UK will be going to the polls on May 4th. Last time I mentioned this subjectI said that I was between Labour and Green, and leaning towards Green. Since then, although I have yet to receive anything from any candidates a search of the King’s Lynn & West Norfolk borough councilwebsite turned up the following information about who was standing:
In view of the fact that there are three candidates in this list of four for whom I am absolutely unwilling to vote and that I regard failing to vote as unacceptable my vote will therefore go to Mr Collis, and I urge others who are voting in this election to cast their votes for Mr Collis as well.
Moving on from my own area, there also elections taking place much more extensively in Wales and Scotland.
The big debate in Scotland at the moment is over whether or not there should be a second independence referendum (#IndyRef2) following the UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU, when Scotland was strongly pro-remain. It is not for me as a Sassenach to comment on whether or not Scottish independence is desirable since the only people who should be making decisions about the future of Scotland are the Scots, but I do believe that brexit is a sufficiently major change in circumstances as justify #IndyRef2, especially since one of the main claims of the no camp in 2014 was that an independent Scotland would not be able to join the EU. It would appear, if the article to which I link at the end of this section is anything to go on that the Tories seek to make the local elections in Scotland a sort of ‘pre-referendum’. Anyway, here courtesy of the website indyref2.scot, is a post that goes into detail on the issue, titled “Sending a message“.
I posted some photographs in the music section of this post, and I finish the post with some pictures mainly from outside…
ENDNOTE – CRICKET REVISITED
During the time it took to put the above photos up both Middlesex & Hampshire and Surrey & Lancashire have shaken hands on the predicted draws. These means that only the ‘declaration bowling’ game between Derbyshire and Northamptonshire is still to be settled.
Some thoughts on the closing stages of this years County Championship, as it goes into its final day with three potential winners.
Somerset are within touching distance of their first ever County Cricket Championship, but the situation is complicated by the fact that their only two rivals are in direct opposition.
THE CURRENT STATE OF PLAY
Courtesy of cricinfo, here is the situation in the key matches:
The situation is that a draw in the Middlesex v Yorkshire game is not enough for either side – the five points they would each gain from that would still leave them adrift of Somerset. Tomorrow is the last day of the match, which means that time constraints are well and truly in play. Clearly, with a draw rendered worthless by the situation both sides will do all in their power to win the game, which leads given time limitations to the question of just what would be acceptable in the way of a third innings declaration by Middlesex. It is possible that Yorkshire could win the match in the most satisfactory way, by taking the remaining eight Middlesex wickets early enough to give themselves an easy fourth innings target. For Middlesex the question would be how much risk could they take in setting a target bearing in mind that they have to have a legitimate chance of taking 10 wickets to do so?
ACCEPTABLE VS UNACCEPTABLE
Given that Middlesex are still 39 runs behind, unless Yorkshire deliberately concede runs to hasten a declaration (which would certainly cause raised eyebrows in Taunton) it is unlikely that Middlesex would be in a position to consider a declaration much before teatime. My own rough and ready view is that if come the tea break tomorrow Middlesex have a lead of somewhere in the region of 170 that in the circumstances would be an acceptable risk – Yorkshire would have to go for the target, and an asking rate of approximately 5.5 an over with no fielding restrictions would introduce enough risks that Middlesex could hope for the 10 wickets they need. A declaration giving Yorkshire 120 or so to chase in that final session would definitely (albeit actuated by very different motives) be verging on ‘Cronje’ territory, and almost regardless of when it was made, a declaration giving a target of under 100 should be considered as out and out match fixing.
Although I have indicated previously that as an underdog supporter I would like to see Somerset win, the key thing here is that any victory for Middlesex or Yorkshire should be seen to have been won out on the field, and not in the dressing rooms.