The more astute readers of 51allout may have noticed that things have rather slowed down over the past few months. Where there was once an article every day, tackling the hot topic on everyone’s lips (such as ‘is Shane Watson’s Power Play Cricket any good?’, ‘what does Shane Warne’s beer actually taste like?’ and ‘what’s the least effort we can get away with putting into an article?’), now there is mostly silence. Occasionally the writers slope into the office, promising to deliver a new England Watch or an article about Eoin Morgan that consists of more than just a rubbish title, but spring becomes summer and no progress ever seems to be made.
Hence Editor Steve coming to ask the only person he could find in the office to write a few hundred words about the County Championship. His only stipulation: make it ‘not quite as bad as Legside Lizzy’s stuff’.
Anyway, here we go with some things we have learnt from the Championship so far this season:
Whilst we appreciate this isn’t particularly news, this year seems to have been particularly affected. Firstly there was the farce down at New Road where not a ball was bowled between Kent and Worcs due to a wet outfield despite sunny ‘overheads’. Who knew flood plains were not good places to house cricket pitches? Later in the month snow stopped play in many games, sending both the spectators running for the closed bar.
In total, there have been nine results in 25 Division One matches, and seven in Division Two (26 matches), less than a third of matches reaching a result. Almost a third of the way through the season and three sides (Middlesex, Somerset and Sussex) haven’t won or lost a game yet. Riveting.
As has been highlighted on many occasions since the end of last season, more than ever money talks and the cream/rich are rising to the top (or alternatively, the shit is sinking to the bottom, bar Jim Allenby, who seems somehow immune to sporting gravity). Eight of the nine teams who play at international standard stadia are in the top division. Fucks knows what’s going on in South Wales though, apart from the production of a shit load of steel that nobody wants. As if to highlight this Sky-funded shift, the game between Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire that they broadcast included fourteen capped players. Both teams would probably beat at least half of the Test playing nations in home conditions, especially if they bat like Sri Lanka. Whilst all this was going on, Alastair Cook was averaging about 130 against the rest of division two.
As much as the England selectors would love to bolt shut the revolving door that is Alastair Cook’s opening partner, Alex Hales is still on probation despite showing promising #digin signs in Leeds.
51allout favourite Daniel Bell-Drummond has started the season well with a hundred, three eighties and a 69 – complete with red ink all over the shop – to his name but the form opener in the early season is one Sam Robson. And that’s not a phrase we ever thought we’d use again.
We were as mystified as anyone when it came to figuring out how Robson originally managed to get into the Test team despite not having a clue where his off stump was, but his stats this year are impressive – three hundreds and two fifties (one a 99) in six games. If Jonny Bairstow can go from a walking wicket to Adam Gilchrist reincarnated (not that Gilchrist is dead. Or if he is, then no-one told us and we’re sorry for your loss) then maybe Robson’s time will come again.
At the time of writing Surrey have just completed their third defeat of the season, after conceding a two hundred run first innings deficit to fellow new boys Lancashire. We don’t have anything insightful or witty to say about this (what’s new? – Ed) except it serves them right for employing Jade Dernbach and Gareth Batty in the same squad. And those two Curran
truants twins. Special mention also for Kolpak signing Mathew Pillans for his superb figures of 0/283 in his three matches to date.
The 51allout player to watch during the 2016 county season is Marcus Trescothick.