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This week in county cricket w/c - 7th June 2015



All teams have now played at least seven matches, except Yorkshire, and it’s Durham who continue to sit at the top of first division. Middlesex have been bumped down to third after their loss against Yorkshire who leapfrog them to second. Hampshire’s first win of the season bumps them up from bottom of the table to sixth and Somerset move down into the relegation spot alongside Worcestershire.

In the second division, Lancashire’s extraordinary victory over Gloucestershire sees them continue to dominate the second division although they are the only team to have played eight matches. Essex remain at the bottom after their draw against Northamptonshire.

Talking Points

In praise of Durham

Durham, not being overly flush with money, have one of the smallest squads in the first division. They’re almost entirely made up of players who are homegrown and have come through the Durham ranks. They’re missing two of their key players to England duty, and yet are still dominating the first division with five wins from their seven matches. Three of their main seam attack, Rushworth, Hastings and Onions, have 92 wickets between them. Even if they have a shaky match with the bat you can feel fairly confident they’ll bowl out the opposition even more cheaply.

Kyle Jarvis turns the match

An extraordinary afternoon at Bristol saw Lancashire grab victory over Gloucestershire. The highlight was Kyle Jarvis taking nine wickets in the match and moving his season’s tally to a whopping 47. It’s quite a comeback for the Zimbabwean who had a very difficult season in 2014 and only appeared in the first team twice. Lancashire look well set to secure promotion with Ashwell Prince being the leading run scorer across both divisions. Ashley Giles seems to be getting the very best out of his squad.

Derbyshire come back

It’s not often a team comes back from 0 for 3 and 86 all out to go on and win the match. Having conceded a 116 run deficit, Derbyshire went on to win by 8 wickets thanks to a 186 run partnership between captain Billy Godleman and “unit” Chesney Hughes. It’s been quite a turn-around for captain Godleman, whose career seemed to be stuttering to a halt when, having been released by both Middlesex and Essex, he found himself languishing in Derbyshire’s second team. He came back into the first team at the back end of last season and acknowledged that he was pretty much playing for his career. He’s repaid the faith shown in him by Graeme Welch who entrusted him with the captaincy in the absence of injured Wayne Madsen. Godleman’s style wouldn’t ever be described as a bar clearer but this season he has played a handful of innings that have shown extraordinary defiance.

Pitches? T20? Poor batting? Good bowling?

Five of the seven matches this week finished in three days. Only one ended in a draw. No side batting first made more than 300 in their first innings despite it being a gloriously sunny June day. 31 wickets fell in two days at Canterbury this week.

Alec Stewart talking on TMS earlier this week said that the pitches in county cricket are not preparing players for international cricket. He has a point, but here is where county cricket’s two roles come into conflict. County cricket doesn’t just exist to provide England players. It also exists to provide entertaining cricket for spectators and to enable a team to win matches. With the huge differential in points available it’s understandable that counties prepare results pitches and besides no one wants to watch the dull run fests that have been happening at the Oval.   

Are the low scores down to the pitches or because the start of the T20 blast is having an impact on the batting or are we just not giving enough credit to the wealth of very good seam bowlers there are in county cricket?  

Perhaps it’s a combination of all of these things but whatever it is, it’s certainly making for entertaining cricket.

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Lizzy Ammon is a UK based freelance cricket writer and broadcaster who works for the BBC and variou...

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