The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket also appears at 99.94.
Ball One – In yet another rain-lashed round of LVCC matches, only one result was possible with Sussex turning over a stumbling Surrey at the lovely festival ground of Horsham. Batting first, Surrey were 52-6, but Sussex were little better at 87-6 when they had a go. Crucially, Sussex found a batsman in Luke Wells, who is re-capturing some of his form of twelve months ago, to make a century, and a tail that wagged them all the way to 351. Despite some hard fought resistance from Rory Hamilton-Brown (against his old club) Sussex just had enough time to squeeze the win to go mid-table. Surrey, fancied at the start of the season, are sliding into a relegation dogfight.
Ball Two – At a time of year when he’s more accustomed to passing 1000 runs, Mark Ramprakash passed 100 runs when making 37 in Surrey’s second innings. Like Roger Federer, Michael Schumacher and Valentino Rossi, Ramps is a legend of his sport who can’t do what he used to do. That’s sad for him, but, without even a fifty in five matches and with his side desperate for runs, whether he should continue to deny a youngster a slot is open to question. It would be a sad way to bow out, but few are granted an exit entirely on their own terms.
Ball Three – Durham scrapped their way to a very handy lead of 207 over high flying Warwickshire with England men Collingwood and Borthwick at the crease and a whole day to go. Which was washed out. There are always a few weather-themed hard luck stories in a season, but that’s not what you need when rock-bottom of the table.
Ball Four – They were disgusted in Tunbridge Wells when Ben Harmison could barely get it off the square as Kent chased 305 in 70 overs. Rob Key’s men never threatened a gettable target, finishing 75 runs short. Booing a man making his way at a new county is unseemly even for a county whose fans have had much to complain about on and off the field over the last few years. Ben Harmison deserves better.
Ball Five – Journeyman Aussie, Michael Swart, had a decent match for the season’s surprise packets The Netherlands, taking Leicestershire’s one day specialist bowlers for a run a ball century and then chipping in with three wickets. The Dutch are top of the CB40 Group A table, but have played more games than all their rivals – they may yet be caught. In the meantime, Dutchmen must be wondering if there are any Aussies who can play football.
Ball Six -In a week when quiet academics Duckworth and Lewis were back in the news with an Indian challenge to their system, it probably wasn’t good for the inevitable rain to produce a result that raised an eyebrow. After centuries for both Vikram Solanki and Phil Hughes (yes, that Phil Hughes), Worcestershire closed on 259 after their 40 overs. Lancashire stayed ahead of the ask and when the rain came, they were 95-1 after 14.1 overs. Though they had wickets in hand, Lanky’s scoring rate was only 0.23 ahead of Worcestershire’s with an asking rate of more than a run a ball to be achieved if the match were to run its course. I guess there are cases to be made either way about whether 295 in 40 overs is better than 95-1 in 14.1 overs, but Lancashire winning margin was 11 runs! Surely 84-1 in 14 overs and one ball is too soft a target in pursuit of 260 in 40?
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