A gradual but inevitable descent into cricket-based loathing and bile.

County Championship 2014: England Watch Vol 3.0

Posted on April 25, 2014 by in First Class


This week’s fixtures resulted in fewer results than 51allout’s cumulative match.com accounts. It’s almost as if fixtures played in England in the middle of April are subject to occasionally being badly weather affected. We seem to spend a lot of our time lately kicking metaphorical sand into the metaphorical face of the ECB, but we can’t help thinking that having some teams play a quarter of their Championship games before May Day is a bit muddled. The frequent showers and gloomy light didn’t stop our merry band of England Watchees from doing their thing, mind.

Hampshire 328 & 236/3 vs Derbyshire 399

MA Carberry 45 & 47
JHK Adams 7 & 84
JM Vince 30 & 50*

The exercise in sheer futility that was Hampshire’s second innings allowed all three of their batsmen on our radar to get a few runs. The suspicion remains that Michael Carberry won’t get another chance in an England shirt, Jimmy Adams’ excellent form of the last couple of years has come too late in his career to be considered seriously, and James Vince will probably only be looked at for the ODI squad at the moment, and even then not immediately. As a trinity they’re verging on Menswe@r nearly man status.

The lead singer's haircut alone should have elevated them further. Spectacular scenes.

The lead singer’s haircut alone should have elevated them further. Spectacular scenes.

Durham 308 & 213/9 dec vs Somerset 185 & 246/4

SG Borthwick 14 & 8
G Onions 0 & 11

J Overton 16-2-79-1 & 12-1-45-1
JC Hildreth 1-0-1-0 & 1-0-4-0

JC Hildreth 0 & 1
C Kieswetter 35 & 78*
NRD Compton 6 & 100*
J Overton 0*

G Onions 18-5-65-4 & 18-2-73-0
SG Borthwick DNB & 8-0-38-0

Plenty of candidates on show here, although it’s fair to say that as one of the more outside of our picks, James Hildreth didn’t push his case that much further this week. He’s one of those players who’s been skirting the borders of the various squads for a number of years now without actually breaking in. In these days of Performance Squads and fully fledged Lions teams that play virtually all year round, that can’t be a good sign. Elsewhere, Craig Kieswetter played competently for a change which will help his flickering claims; after all, Matt Prior and Jonny Bairstow are both injured at the moment so the keeper’s spot is one of those very open to competition. Old Sex On Legs Nick Compton got what we’re going to assume was a Mark Waugh-esque century full of flowing cover drives and sumptuous flicks through mid-wicket. Not that it’ll matter. Graham Onions had one good innings with the ball and one not so good, which seems to be the way of things for him at the moment – although there’s a case for saying that it doesn’t really matter too much what he does in the Championship, the England management know by now what he can and can’t do. Scott Borthwick just isn’t bowling enough to be considered seriously, although that didn’t stop him being picked a few months ago. Oh, and the game was a draw. We love Paul Collingwood but his tactics here seemed a bit strange with Durham showing no urgency to set up a chase in the second innings. Everyone’s allowed an off day though. Even our favourite redheads.

This, for instance, was rubbish. We still love you though, girls.

This, for instance, was rubbish. We still love you though, girls.

Glamorgan 145 & 146/9 vs Gloucestershire 231

This game contained no England candidates at all, sad to say. Some lunatics in the Cricinfo comments that we skimread were pushing the claims of Will Gidman (who took 6-50 in Glamorgan’s second innings) but frankly there’s more chance of M People walking away with the 2015 Mercury Prize. 83 year old Dean Cosker is still alive and well, taking 5-46 in case anyone wondered.

It turns out that Dean dislikes Elegant Slumming just as much as we do.

It turns out that Dean dislikes “Elegant Slumming” just as much as we do.

Leicestershire 333 & 259/5 dec vs Kent 269/7 dec & 89/4

We have even less to say about this game. Rob Key fell off the England Watch reckoning and on to the Sky Sports sofa some years ago and after the fall of such a hero we lost all interest in Kent. We always have a token look for James Tredwell but they didn’t even pick him for this game. Leicestershire never have anyone worth watching because Nottinghamshire nick all their talent. As such this was like a battle of the bands featuring Bis and Northern Uproar.

The lead singer styled herself as "Manda Rin". Yes, really. Shithouses.

The lead singer styled herself as “Manda Rin”. Yes, really. Shithouses.

Lancashire 247 & 196 vs Warwickshire 324 & 95/5

JC Buttler 28 & 42
SC Kerrigan 2* & 1
JM Anderson 0 & 5*

CR Woakes 16-4-63-5 & 14-6-23-0

V Chopra 52 & 50*
IR Bell 75 & 14
CR Woakes 3 & 2

JM Anderson 26.4-5-85-1 & 6-1-22-0
SC Kerrigan 21-8-36-1 & 9-1-38-4

Now this was worth a look. Warwickshire came tantalisingly close to pulling off what seemed at the start of day four to be an extremely unlikely victory, only the Manchester gloam denying them in the end, a mere 25 runs short of their target. Jos Buttler played an uncharacteristically restrained knock of 42 which held them up enough; inked in seemingly for good as England’s limited overs keeper, it’s that kind of versatility and dependability that he needs to show more often if he’s to overtake and succeed Matt Prior. Oddly Jimmy Anderson doesn’t seem to like bowling on his own ground much these days; he’s only ever taken 12 Test wickets on this ground for England in four matches, and four of those wickets came against Bangladesh. He took 0-116 in Australia’s first innings here last summer and just a solitary wicket in this game. Simon Kerrigan got some cheap wickets as Warwickshire chased their target of 120 and merrily tried to larrup him out of the ground at every opportunity. Still, wickets are wickets and although his Test debut was irredeemably awful, there’s time for him yet, especially as England don’t appear to have any spinners. This is the bit where some inferior cricket websites would make some spurious reference to Shane Warne being absolutely pony on his debut for Australia.

Funny how they never mention spinners who were rubbish on debut and rubbish forever after.

Funny how they never mention spinners who were rubbish on debut and rubbish forever after.

Essex 306 & 258/4 dec vs Surrey 237

AN Cook 39 & 127
RS Bopara 49 & 42
MS Panesar 17
TS Mills 10*

JW Dernbach 22-3-84-1 & 11-2-38-1
SC Meaker 24-5-60-2 & 13-3-28-0
CT Tremlett 20-5-53-1 & 10-1-36-0

SM Davies 8
SC Meaker 14
CT Tremlett 6
JW Dernbach 0

TS Mills 13-3-45-4
RS Bopara 13-1-31-0
MS Panesar 18-8-43-2

Successive centuries now for Alastair Cook who took time out from spouting vapid platitudes in the general direction of Peter “Mooresy” Moores to effortlessly nudge the Surrey bowlers around to distraction. As you can see, we haven’t yet had the heart to take Chris Tremlett off our list although we really should. England will doubtless be more interested in Tymal Mills’ four wickets and should take plenty of notice of Jade Dernbach taking two wickets at almost 60 apiece. We can’t pretend to be enthused by Moores’ re-appointment; after all, he won just eight of his 22 Tests last time out, and seven of those victories were against New Zealand and the West Indies. He could improve his standing by never picking Dernbach for any squad ever again, save perhaps if they fancy sending him on a one man tour of Crimea.

"Yes Jade, we really are playing Donetsk and Odessa. Off you pop."

“Yes Jade, we really are playing Donetsk and Odessa. Off you pop.”

Yorkshire 459/9 dec vs Northamptonshire 94 & 245

AZ Lees 90
GS Ballance 174
AU Rashid 33
LE Plunkett 11

DJ Willey 0 & 20

LE Plunkett 5-1-20-1 & 15-2-62-1
AU Rashid DNB & 7.4-2-18-1

We can’t pretend to be totally against the practice of picking massive fat blokes for international sports teams. It’s not often that we can heartily laugh at the physiques of elite athletes and it’s really only the morbidly obese which offer us that opportunity. For that reason we’re willing to overlook Gary Ballance’s massive gut and instead focus on the massive amount of runs he’s been notching up over the last year or so. He’s certainly making one of the more substantial cases for inclusion in NuEngland (as we imagine they’re calling themselves now, to be all down with the kids). Alex Lees is another intriguing prospect with a further healthy score to add to his good start to the season. He was bigged up by none other than Geoffrey Boycott last season, but don’t let that put you off. 51allout favourite Liam Plunkett had a fairly rubbish game but everyone’s allowed an off day. Even our favourite 80s cereal mascot lookalikes.

Despite an underwhelming game, Liam remained resolutely chipper.

Despite an underwhelming game, Liam remained resolutely chipper.

1 Comment

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Alex G

26 Apr 2014 11:44

To avoid confusion in future (i.e. mine) can all references to Jimmy Adams contain the statement “not the former West Indies captain”?

Unless of course you are talking about the former West Indies captain.