It’s been quite a while since we actually did an article about the county game, for several reasons, the main one being that we’re incredibly lazy. However, with the small matter of the Yorkshire Bank 40 final upon us, we thought we’d better stop playing Grand Theft Auto V for a few minutes and attempt some sort of preview thing.
With all the Ashes madness of the last few months, the YB40 has rather slipped under the radar. Hence we’ll attempt to sum up the group stages in a few words as possible:
That’s pretty much all that needs to be said. Other than Nottinghamshire and Glamorgan will meet in today’s showcase final to compete for domestic cricket’s third most spectacular prize. We can’t wait!
Glamorgan remain a hideously unfashionable team, the cricketing equivalent of Silver Shadow trainers, seemingly destined to spend forever in the lower tier of English (and Welsh) cricket. Despite that though, they have perhaps the star performer of the entire summer, in the form of Michael Hogan, the competition’s leading wicket-taker with 26 (to go with 63 in the County Championship and 8 in the T20, leaving him just three away from a century across the three formats). Trundling in alongside him will be some names that seem to have been around forever – Wagg, Allenby, Cosker – plus the final remnants of what was once Simon Jones.
We really do love Jones The Ball quite a lot. We wrote a sort of eulogy thing about him last week after he announced that he would be retiring from First Class and List A cricket. Presumably he’ll spend his retirement watching the Ashes 2005 DVD and sighing wistfully. Or possibly getting his shirt off for photographers. We know which we’d prefer.
In complete contrast, Nottinghamshire have a side packed with household names, plus Michael Lumb. Not that it’s really helped them much this season, as their rubbish four day form and T20 quarter final disaster (a spanking at the hands of Essex) will testify. Their progress to the final has been mainly thanks to James Taylor and Samit Patel’s batting, plus an all-round decent seam attack. There’s also the small matter of 12 wickets for Samit. Indeed, much as we like to make jokes at his expense, according to our home-made super-sophisticated player ranking database, he’s actually the second most useful player in this year’s competition, after Peter Trego. Although with less tasteful body art, we presume. God help us if we ever actually see the parts of Samit’s body that he keeps concealed below his muumuu.
There’s no doubt that Notts start as big favourites. As an added bonus both Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann will be part of their squad, news which Ajmal Shahzad will be really chuffed about, having taken 19 wickets to get them there. But the question about their temperament remains. Will they do another horrific bottle job and allow Glamorgan’s hard-working side to show them up? Will there be one final hurrah for Simon Jones? Will Michael Hogan reach a hundred wickets?
Alex Hales to go mental and batter Nottinghamshire out of sight in the first fifteen overs. The rest to be a procession. Absolutely nobody to go on about how much they’re looking forward to having an extra 20 overs of this shit next year.