Wet, Wet, Wet: Championship Roundup

The weather over the last few days has been wetter than Marti Pellow’s mushiest ballad. There was rain. Lots of it. And unfortunately county cricket and rain are about as compatible as the ECB and common sense. The result was a series of washouts and essentially meaningless individual performances that were never likely to influence the game’s result. The weather was always going to be the only winner in most of round 3’s fixtures.

One of the few games that did produce a result was Notts’ innings victory over Worcs. Being a Worcs fan who actually thought the team might be competitive this year – due partly to Essex’s success last year which made the step up from division two look like a walk in The Parks – I thought the game was particularly depressing. Although it’s tempting to pretend that Notts were lucky, it’s pretty obvious that Worcs were steamrolled by a team they competed so well against last season.

The big difference, I suppose, was Notts’ big guns: Jake Ball and some bloke called Stuart Broad. This new ball pairing were simply too good in helpful conditions and Worcs’ young side simply couldn’t cope – although Joe Clarke did muster 42 in the first innings. Ball was particularly impressive by all accounts and finished with 5-59 in the second innings. Has he done enough to earn and England spot? I guess we’ll need to ask Ed Smith’s iMac.

The game between Lancs and Surrey also produced some rare meaningful action. Lancs made a big first innings score thanks to a remarkable rearguard action: Lancs’ last four batsmen all made scores of 60+. I think that’s more than Jennings and Hameed have made collectively all summer. At least Liam Livingstone managed to make some impact with 48.

Although it was promising to see Surrey’s Amar Virdi impress again with 4-80, his team struggled big time thereafter. However, Surrey fans will be delighted that they managed to bat out the last day and salvage a draw. Rory Burns, Ben Foakes, and Ollie Pope all batted for approximately 100 balls to save the day.

The only other game worth talking about saw Somerset blast away Yorkshire at Taunton. Although Ben Coad and Jack Brooks shared 15 wickets in the game, Yorkshire’s batsmen let the side down badly. They were dismissed for 96 in the first innings and 200 in the second. Only Jack Leaning, who made 68 on the last day, offered much resistance.

The stars for Somerset were young captain Tom Abell, who lived up to his surname with an impressive 82, and the bowling unit as a whole. It’s good to see both Lewis Gregory and Craig Overton in the wickets. I wonder whether Ed Smith prefers the latter to Jake Ball?

Unfortunately the rain ruined the other division one fixture between Hants and Essex. There really wasn’t much to talk about. Jimmy Adams made 87 for the home side, and Alastair Cook scored a welcome half-century for the visitors. I could mention that James Vince made a breezy 47 before getting himself out but I guess we all knew that would happen before the game even started.

There was little to report from division two I’m afraid. Most of the grounds were wetter than a mermaid’s nipples. The game between Northants and Durham was abandoned without a ball being bowled, and the other games ended in rain-affected draws too.

The only really eye-catching performances to report were Steve Eskinazi’s 94 for Middlesex and Gary Wilson’s half-century for Derbyshire. Tim Murtagh took an incredibly impressive 4-12 in 8 overs but it wasn’t enough to force a result. The weather put paid to that.

James Morgan


  • Pretty dismissive about Somerset James. No mention of Matt Renshaw’s second ton of the season in seaming conditions and which set the tone of the contest from the very start of the match.

    • Didn’t think I’d been dismissive. Sorry if it seemed that way. I saw Renshaw had scored runs but he’s Australian so not really as relevant as Abell. These roundups are always written with an eye on the England team.

  • No mention of the Leics batting total, half centuries n’all yet mention of Derbys single one?

  • Four or five day cricket is more entertaining when the conditions are in the bowlers favor but not sure what good Cricket in April does for the England team. The leading wicket taker charts will be full of pitch it up and swing men, like Coad who I dare say doesn’t reach 80 MPH.

    Batting is a lit of a lottery and at its worse is teaching players to come out swinging, that is what Joe Clarke did for his 42

  • Ah ok, sorry, hadn’t appreciated the England focus, I’m new on the site. Renshaw may be an Aussie but there’s plenty that’ll tell you he’s Yorkshire! As for Abell I can’t help thinking getting the captaincy so early has put him back as a batsman, hopefully this year he will successfully manage to make a success of both. He could be a longer term candidate for a Test place – and think of the novelty of appointing a captain who has actually done the job at county level. I hope the reports that they’re making the Taunton strip less spin friendly are wrong. We need more spinning wickets if we’re ever going to compete in the Indian sub-continent. Also good to see Surrey bringing on young cricketers (ok I know, Kohli, Morkel, Smith….). But the Curran’s, Pope and Virdi have all got promise.

  • Of course one other Yorkshire batsman apart from Leaning prospered at Taunton – Matt Renshaw was born in Middlesbrough…

    The other frustrating theme so far, alongside the weather, has been injuries – Sam Northeast is out for a few weeks now after doing his finger in practise (how much do you want to bet it was James Vince who threw the ball!) and none of Joverton, Garton or Mahmood have played yet due to injuries. On the plus side on the pacers front Tongue has taken wickets (although been expensive) and Ball looks back in good rhythm – I’d like to see him get a chance with the new ball for England if he’s going to be picked as so far he’s only really bowled as second change on horribly flat wickets, often as the ‘enforcer’ type, although in fairness if Anderson and Broad continue to bowl like they did in the second Test against NZ then neither of them will or should be giving it up any time soon. But he’s such an appealing bowler – decent enough pace (without being express) when in form and despite being quite a big powerful guy he doesn’t seem to struggle to bowl full enough in the way that, say, Flintoff, Caddick or Morkel often did.

    Also perhaps not relevant but interesting is the case of Stevie Eskinazi. Born in South Africa, he’s 24 years old and doesn’t qualify for England until next year, having had to serve seven years as he arrived here from Australia when he was 18. What that doesn’t tell you is that he actually grew up in England – he lived here for several years before his family moved to Australia when he was 15 for a couple of years. I’m not saying he should be picked for England or anything at the moment, although he’s obviously got potential, but it seems absolutely mad to me that someone with such a clear and obvious connection to the country should have to serve seven years. The kid grew up here for God’s sake! The ECB’s qualification laws are currently at least punitive and not fit for purpose, sadly a sign of the times on that front I guess.

  • Surrey is not signing Smith or Warner.
    Had 3 and a bit uninterrupted days at Old Trafford believe it or not.
    Batted very well to save the game. Unfortunately we had a second string bowling attack and were missing Clarke, Tom Curran, Morkel and Meaker, which largely allowed Lancs lower order to capitalise. Good game though.
    Worcester is I’m afraid an up and down team, Broad and Ball a side they lost in 5 seasons by an innings. Not Div 1 standard that. Surrey playing them at the Oval Friday. Good forecast.

  • No rain in the far North. Pity Durham wasn’t playing at home. Sorry about rain in the South and Midlands but despite perception to the contrary that’s not all the country.

  • And the ECB want to stick the county championship in April and September when it is raining. Why can’t they just admit that they want to kill red ball cricket and prefer baseball.

  • All I have seen so far is that the Worcestershire batting is decidedly second division. I can’t see them staying up this year. The batting is even worse than the England test team !.

  • Virdi looks like a better bet than Jack Leech and that Ichabod Crane bloke.

  • Surely if the ECB want to keep the red ball cricket at the beginning and end of the season then it would make sense to start a week later and finish a week later in October when the weather is marginally more predictable

  • Hate to harp on about this, but what are we doing playing championship matches on April these days. The weather has been notoriously inconsistent for decades now and so farcical situations abound, making it impossible to draw any rational conclusions from any of it, even if you’re a Worcestershire supporter James.
    Play a limited overs round robin tournament for the first few weeks of the season, so the weather has less of a defining impact. Of course if this ever came about April would probably contain a long heatwave, but I wouldn’t bet on it. What is stopping us rescheduling fixtures to make better use of the better weather?

    • No it doesn’t. Putting one format above all others and then relegating it in importance in County Cricket is just barmy. They have been trying to phase out domestic 50 over cricket and just have T20 seasons plus a reduced championship and now putting all the money behind the new Hundred! Knighthoods???

  • The weather forecast is fine for the next week up North. Can’t speak for the rest of the country.

    • If you believe in forecasts 26c by Monday in London. It looks ok from Thursday onwards.

  • I’m too depressed to even follow it. What’s the point? Matches that tell you nothing due to the conditions. Exactly as the ECB planned it.

    Cue “Interest in County Championship continues to fall” headlines.

    How about a T50 tournament to replace it?

  • With Langer just appointed Australian coach in charge of restoring standards, this is the incident that is getting plenty of mention (the crucial bit is at just over three minutes in):


    People can make their own minds up about it, but one thing seems probable to me and that is the appointment shows CA’s prioritising of white-ball cricket because Langer is only the outstanding candidate based on his white-ball record. I’m thinking of the 2020 T20 World Cup specifically.

  • Whats the point of all this cricket in April? After he championship is over, England will end up with similar bowlers who can swing it in favorable conditions but can barely hit the deck hard!


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