RLODC Quarter-final Preview: Somerset v Nottinghamshire

Having been in County Championship action until late on Monday afternoon, Somerset and Nottinghamshire meet at Taunton in a white ball knockout game from 11am Tuesday.

Somerset come into today’s game having experienced their biggest heartbreak of 2017 so far, losing to Yorkshire by three runs at 2.45pm yesterday. Notts, meanwhile, played out a draw in Bristol yesterday having racked up 535-8 declared in their first innings vs Gloucestershire.

Somerset relatively breezed through the group phase with five wins from eight, only Essex topped them in the final group standings, although there were various points of the competition where even the most ardent of Somerset fan would not have expected their side to win. None less than the most remarkable of run chases against Surrey, when Somerset recovered from 22-5 to go on and win by four wickets thanks to a 235-run partnership from Dean Elgar and Roelof van der Merwe-who ended up 165*.

Nottinghamshire squeezed into the Quarter Finals of the One Day Cup with a no result at Northants, on the last day of the Group Stage fixtures. This followed an inconsistent campaign where the Champions of 2013, and semi-finalists of 2014 and 2015, lost their opening two games.

Victories over local rivals Leicestershire and Derbyshire got them back on track but they were left sweating on the final day, where both Leics’ and Durham failed to win when a victory for either would have sent The Outlaws out. 

Notts got through mainly due to their international quality bowling attack.

A batting line-up that looks top notch on paper has let them down this summer, they only hit 300 once in the group stage (303-6 against Warwickshire). Without England’s Alex Hales, they will rely heavily on their 2016 star openers, Riki Wessels and Michael Lumb. The pair were the instigators in mammoth scores of 445-8 and 415-5 last year, but have not shown the same form this season.

Key Men

Like a fine wine the all-rounder Samit Patel appears to only get better with age, fresh from hitting a career best 257* in the Championship on Sunday and having played a match winning 103* in his sides last One Day Cup win, Samit’s batting and bowling will be vital if Notts are to make the Semi Finals. He will particularly fancy taking wickets on a pitch dubbed `Ciderabad’ due to the West country pitch’s tendency to turn particularly sharply in the last two seasons.

Jamie Overton looked particularly potent with the ball in his sides harrowing loss to Yorkshire over the last four days. He personally will feel the pain of defeat worse than most, as he was the man who gave away the final wicket when he was set on 20 with only three runs required to win.

He should not come into this match completely devoid of confidence though; he should not forget his thunderbolt spell, which inspired Somerset to rip through Yorkshire’s top and middle order after lunch on day one. He has also taken one-day wickets for Somerset, enough to have powerful ECB heads mentioning him and England in the same sentence, especially after his twin brother’s call-up. He’ll likely lead the attack vs Notts.

Team News

Adam Hose made his Championship debut on Friday but was struggling with a thigh injury so did not come in until number seven in the first innings, when he got a duck. But come Sunday, evening he was fit enough to come in at the expected number five spot for the second innings, proceeding to score 68 in a crucial 118-run partnership with Steven Davies. Ultimately, though, these two could be blamed for not taking their team over the line, leaving it up to Jamie Overton who had too much pressure on his young shoulders with an even younger partner in 19-year-old Dominic Bess at the other end.

Expect Roelof van der Merwe to play tomorrow. He is much more of a one-day spinner than Leach or Bess and is a much better batsman, and similarly quality fielder, to other one-day spinner Max Waller who would likely miss out if they opt for just one spin man. Craig Overton has just been announced in the England t20 squad for the last two of three matches v South Africa in the next month (one being the first international of this millennium in Taunton), so he should go into this game full of confidence.

Somerset squad: Jim Allenby (c), Johann Myburgh, Steve Davies (wk), Peter Trego, Dean Elgar, James Hildreth, Adam Hose, Roelof van der Merwe, Lewis Gregory, Craig Overton, Josh Davey, Jamie Overton, Tim Groenewald, Max Waller.

Notts benefit from the return of James Pattinson after Australia’s early exit from the Champions Trophy. Though they will still be missing England openers Alex Hales and Jake Ball, who have become key members of their international side with bat and ball respectively. They also have Andrew Strauss’ permission to play Stuart Broad, who won’t be needed for international duty until the South Africa test matches in July. Notts’ number three spot is likely up for grabs between Brendan Taylor and Greg Smith to complete a solid top four of Lumb, Wessels and Patel.

Notts squad: Chris Read (c) (wk), Brendan Taylor, James Pattinson, Steven Mullaney, Stuart Broad, Riki Wessels, Harry Gurney, Luke Wood, Luke Fletcher, Samit Patel, Greg Smith, Brett Hutton, Michael Lumb and Billy Root

Form:
Somerset: ALWLW
Notts: AWLWW

Weather & Conditions

Having had a County Championship match v Yorkshire the last four days at Taunton, the square will not have had much time to recover from the fair pounding from nearly 400 overs being played on it since Friday. Of course they will use a different wicket for the different format, and the dry weather forecast will make the groundsmen’s work easier. Tuesday’s forecast is dry but overcast, with temperatures making it up to 18 degrees Celsius, the cloud cover will do its best to assist the bowlers in swinging the white ball.

Date: 13th June
Time: 11am
Ground: Cooper Associates County Ground Taunton
Odds (SkyBet): Somerset 6/5, Notts 4/6

RLODC Quarter-final Preview: Yorkshire v Surrey

It is a measure of Yorkshire’s success in first-class cricket in recent years that their coaches and players have expressed frustration with their white-ball record.

In 2016, they reached the semi-finals of both the NatWest T20 Blast and the Royal London One-Day Cup. For a side that has acknowledged their focus on County Championship success and has occasionally seemed to let their limited-overs seasons fall by the wayside, this is not a bad record at all. They have, however, not claimed a one-day trophy since 2002.

Considering the resources available to Surrey, especially in recent seasons, it may come as a surprise that they have only emerged triumphant in one white-ball tournament since 2003: the 2011 CB40. For five years, they have been tipped for further honours consistently by pundits and fans, only to disappoint in the final reckoning.

This quarter-final is a replay of last year’s semi, which also took place at Headingley. In that game, Steven Davies anchored Surrey with a brilliant century before Stuart Meaker ripped out Yorkshire’s middle-order and book the south London club a trip north of the river.

The key question then becomes which side is more motivated for this game: will Yorkshire have the impetus, focus and manpower to avenge last season’s defeat, or will Surrey be aching for another chance to dazzle at the home of their local rivals?

Either way, both teams can boast the batting stars of the season: if either or both Gary Ballance or Kumar Sangakkara can fire, these two grand old clubs could witness another battle for the ages.

Key Men

The George Osborne and Ed Balls of this year’s County Championship are undoubtedly Kumar Sangakkara and Gary Ballance. They completely outstrip everyone else in the scoring charts, and both have notched up some impressive contributions in coloured clothing as well.

Both have had fans clamouring for an international return: while Sangakkara is clearly enjoying life post-Sri Lanka, with all of the travel and responsibilities that international stardom entails, Ballance has made no secret that he is desperately working towards an international comeback.

What better way to make the England selectors sit up and watch than by leading your county to the One-Day Cup final?

Team News

Yorkshire are without their five Champions Trophy squad members, and Surrey are bereft of Jason Roy, who is also with England. Jade Dernbach and Tom Curran both return to Surrey after injury and rest respectively.

Yorkshire squad: Gary Ballance (c), Tim Bresnan, Jack Brooks, Karl Carver, Ben Coad, Matthew Fisher, Peter Handscomb (wk), Jack Leaning, Alex Lees, Adam Lyth, Steven Patterson, Azeem Rafiq, Will Rhodes, Matthew Waite.

Surrey squad: Gareth Batty (c), Scott Borthwick, Rory Burns, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Jade Dernbach, Ben Foakes (wk), Mark Footitt, Stuart Meaker, Ollie Pope, Ravi Rampaul, Kumar Sangakkara, Dom Sibley, Mark Stoneman

Form:

Yorkshire: WLWWL
Surrey: AWWLW

Weather and conditions

Some rain early on but there will be enough of a breeze to carry it through quickly and a fine dry afternoon is expected thereafter.

Date: 13th June 2017
Time: 2pm
Ground: Headingley
Odds (SkyBet): Yorkshire 8/11, Surrey 11/10

Yorkshire’s Bresnan not surprised by Coad’s rise to fame

Ben Coad has dazzled, delighted and delivered in equal measure in the Specsavers County Championship this season, and Yorkshire teammate Tim Bresnan is already certain the sky is his limit.

The Ripon fast bowler has seemingly come from nowhere to be Yorkshire’s key star this season, taking 22 wickets in his first three four-day matches.

But the performances have caught the county scene rather by surprise, barely playing a professional game prior to his wowing performances.

Injuries to Ryan Sidebottom, Jack Brooks and Liam Plunkett to name a few opened the door for Coad, however, leaving Bresnan confident that the 23-year-old still has bigger ceilings to break through.

“Momentum is a funny thing and currently he has that, hopefully he can carry that through to the end of the season,” said Bresnan, speaking at the launch of this season’s Royal London One-Day Cup.

“You don’t want to put a limit on how high he can get, it all comes down to motivation which he has so much of right now, and whether he can stay injury-free.

“In professional sport, you have to make the most of your opportunities and Ben has done that excellently well.

“It’s going to be a real selection headache when the guys come back – he was probably underneath all those guys and he’s gone to become one of our go-to seamers.

“If he can keep producing those sort of results then he’s pretty much made himself undroppable.”

The impressive nature of Coad masked what was a disappointing start to the season for Yorkshire, 12 points off the lead with one win to their name so far.

They did make it through to the quarter-final stage of the Royal London One-Day Cup however, with seven wickets for Coad in his three matches in the group stages.

That included 4/63 for the opening bowler against Derbyshire, a match the White Rose won by just 15 runs.

And Bresnan sees no reason why his form cannot continue, unsurprised by his development having operated in close quarters over the winter.

He added: “He’s worked on his skills very well. Head coach Andrew Gale and Richard Pyrah have come in with some plans about what they want to see from individual players and the direction and role they see them playing.

“They’ve come with some very specific targets which was perhaps lacking previously, and we’ve been able to see how well he’s taken that on board.

“He’s worked on his game very hard and he looks like a different bowler now. He was easily the best bowler in pre-season by a street length and he’s gone into that first game with a load of confidence having bowled really well.

“I think the most impressive thing is that he kept going, went and got ten against Warwickshire and is top of the wicket pile, he’s feeling confident.”

As proud sponsors of the One Day Cup, Royal London is giving away match tickets to see the action live. Visit royallondoncricket.com to enter.

Yorkshire miss out on home semi-final despite beating Leicestershire in Headingley thriller

Azeem Rafiq impressed in all three aspects of the game to inspire the Yorkshire Vikings to a, much nervier than it perhaps should have been, win over Leicestershire Foxes, taking the Headingley men into the knockout stages of the Royal London One-Day Cup.

The 26-year-old spinner scored 52* of Yorkshire’s 258-7 before taking 2-46 and a catch for his spin bowling colleague Karl Carver, who took 3-24 himself.

Leicestershire still had a chance to qualify for the quarter-finals by taking the third qualification place had they won and other results gone their way.

Due to morning rain the toss didn’t take place until 2.30pm, providing Foxes captain Clint McKay the opportunity to put Yorkshire in in a 45 overs per side match starting at 3pm.

Gary Ballance’s 71, just short of his 72.50 average in this competition, was the backbone of an above par Yorkshire total started and finished by first Adam Lyth, then Rafiq half centuries.

Lyth and Alex Lees provided a solid but not spectacular start, but didn’t find things easy in overcast conditions, neither ever looking completely in.

Lees was the first Yorkshire wicket to fall, belting Gavin Griffiths straight to Mark Pettini at cover, out for 23, leaving his side at 72-1.

Slightly surprisingly Jack Leaning, who hadn’t played the last few matches whilst the England men were around, came in at three ahead of Peter Handscomb and Ballance. This Leaning promotion was unsuccessful for Yorkshire, the 23-year-old caught well above his head by Tom Wells off Griffiths for just two runs.

Just when I was looking down the scorecard thinking Yorkshire could do with Lyth going big today, he got out for 52, caught Ned Eckersley off the left-arm spin of Callum Parkinson.

Wells’ first ball appeared to stick in the pitch a little, prompting Handscomb to be through his shot a touch early, driving straight to Pettini for his second cover catch, for 13.

Yorkshire were therefore reeling at 98-4, left with Bresnan to join skipper Ballance with still 23.5 overs remaining.

Yorkshire looked to rebuild through the experienced pair, Bresnan given a life on 13 when dropped by McKay at mid-off off Wells. But with less than 10 overs to go he slapped another one straight down mid-off’s throat, caught for 34, ending a 73-run fifth-wicket partnership.

Ballance got to another one-day 50, off just 56 balls with 6.4 overs remaining. The first ball of the penultimate over saw him hit his own wicket attempting to clear the ropes off Wells. Rafiq provided late support from the other end, blasting a quick-fire half-century complete with successive sixes off Wells in the 43rd.

The Leicestershire run chase got off to a terrible start, Pettini caught at slip in the first over. But Cameron Delport and Eckersley did the opposite of going into their shell from 0-1, blasting boundaries to keep well above the D/L/S rate-they were 68-1 off after 10 overs.

Delport reached a sumptuous half-century off just 36 balls. They had a partnership of 107 before his remarkable innings ended on 68 from 47 balls, chipping Rafiq straight to long off. Mark Cosgrove the new man, was bowled for a second ball duck.

Yorkshire spinners Rafiq and Carver bowled tightly in tandem until the end of the 21st over when Bresnan returned. He dismissed Ackermann who only chipped in with 15, so when Eckersley was bowled by Carver for 46, the Yorkshire sniff of fear in the Foxes tail(s) was clear for all to see.

The Foxes only needed 100 off 20 overs but wickets fell at too regular intervals to ever give themselves a serious chance of winning this game once the top four had all gone.

However, there were a few late twists, the first of which came when captain McKay and Klein put on 42 for the ninth wicket off of only 19 balls, but when the former gifted his wicket to Leaning in the deep with 28 runs still required it was surely all over. Or not.

Klein and Griffiths brought it right down to the wire in front of an eerily nervous Headingley crowd. But No.11 Griffiths never looked as good with wood in hand as he did when taking 3-46 hours earlier.

Klein tried to farm the strike but in the end it was all too much for him to do single-handedly, he was caught in the deep going for a pressure-relieving maximum. Leicestershire were all out for 238, 20 runs short. The Foxes limp home and out of the competition with their tails between their legs.

RLODC Preview: Derbyshire v Worcestershire

Derbyshire welcome Worcestershire, the Sky TV cameras and the forecast of a lot of rain to the 3aaa County Ground for the final game of the group stages of the 2017 Royal London Cup competition. Their competition is over for another year, with qualification now impossible.

Worcestershire, however, arrive sitting pretty at the top of the Northern Group and know that a victory will guarantee them a home semi final in the later stages. Lose or fall victim to the weather and they are at the mercy of other matches. They will be watching the result at Headingley carefully as Yorkshire, the only side who can overtake them, take on Leicestershire.

Derbyshire finished seventh in the group and will be looking to win to boost their chances of improving on this position this season, and reflect the progress they have made on the field. They will be hoping, weather permitting, that they can put behind them the batting display last time out against Leicestershire, where only Alex Hughes covered himself in any glory, and revert to the displays which saw them score three consecutive 300 plus scores.

The bowlers will be hoping to finish the competition strongly and push for inclusion in the Championship side later in the week, as young strike bowler Will Davis remains side lined through injury.

Worcestershire have only lost once in the competition, to Lancashire at Old Trafford, and they will be hoping that the loss column remains with just the number one in it. They have played some excellent one day cricket this season and deserve to top the group, although you do not always get what you deserve in this game. They will have to withstand the pressure of expectation to succeed and top the group.

Hoping to help them do this will be former Derbyshire player Ross Whitely, who is an explosive batsmen that can clear the ropes for fun and knows his way around Derbyshire’s home ground well enough to do so.

The bookies, unsurprisingly, make Worcestershire favourites and on form this season they are right to do so. Worcestershire have won six games to Derbyshire’s two, and the results don’t lie. However, if the forecast is right and the game is shortened considerably, and Mr Duckworth and Lewis are employed, then anything can happen. A betting man, though, will have their money on the team from New Road.

Key Men

You only have to look at the Royal London One Day Cup MVP rankings to see who is key for Derbyshire, and that man is Shiv Thakor This season has seen him take on extra responsibility, batting at number three, and bowling in crucial periods of the game. He has thrived on that responsibility, scoring 220 runs so far at an average over 38, and taking 12 wickets at an average of 24.08 and an economy of under six runs an over. If Thakor can bring this kind of form against Worcestershire, Derbyshire’s chances of success will be greatly increased.

Worcestershire: When you have a player who can contribute with bat and ball they are always going to be key to your success, and Worcestershire have such a player in Daryl Mitchell. Former captain Mitchell has only played five of the seven games, yet has already scored 183 runs at an average of 36.60 and taken six wickets at an average of 22.83 and an economy under six an over. Mitchell has the ability to take a game away from opposition and Worcestershire will be hoping he can do this against Derbyshire and guarantee them top spot in the Northern Group.

Team News

Derbyshire initially named the same squad as came out second best to Leicestershire on Sunday, however young seam bowler Rob Hemmings was added to the squad later in the day. It would seem odd to add him if he is not to play, and add to his one List A appearance for the club vs Sri Lanka A last Summer. Daryn Smit continues behind the stumps in the absence of Gary Wilson, who is still in the emerald Isle engaged in the tri-series against New Zealand and Bangladesh.

Worcestershire have Australian off spinner Nathan Lyon in their squad and he will make his debut in place of fellow Aussie John Hastings, which will allow Lyon to play in the later stages of the competition. The Rapids have also drafted in second team captain George Rhodes to their squad, although as a the old adage goes “you never change a winning side” So, Lyon for Hastings aside, I see a consistent Worcestershire selection in this game.

Derbyshire squad: Billy Godleman (c), Ben Cotton, Matt Critchley, Rob Hemmings, Alex Hughes, Wayne Madsen, Jeevan Mendis, Tom Milnes, Tony Palladino, Luis Reece, Ben Slater, Daryn Smit (wk), Shiv Thakor, Hardus Viljoen

Worcestershire squad:, Joe Leach (c), Ed Barnard, Ben Cox (wk), Brett D’Oliviera, Tom Fell, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Nathan Lyon, Daryll Mitchell, George Rhodes, Jack Shantry, JoshTongue, Ross Whitely
Form

Derbyshire: LLWLL
Worcestershire: WWLWT

Weather and conditions

I wouldn’t rush to the ground for the scheduled 2pm start as, if the forecast is to be believed, it will be wetter than an otter’s pocket with rain forecast all day until 4pm. It will be then down to the ground staff to clear up and the umpires to decide how many overs of a game can be played, if any. With Derbyshire’s battery of spinners we can expect the pitch to be dry and turn, and also if previous games are to go by full of runs.

Date: 16th May 2017
Time: 14:00am
Ground: 3aaa County Ground, Derby
Umpires: Nick Cook and Alex Wharf
Odds (SkyBet): Derbyshire: 6/4 Worcestershire:8/15

County players shine as Notts take victory at Trent Bridge

The forecast was bad and then the forecast was good and then the forecast was uncertain, but on the day itself the sun shone on Trent Bridge. Hosting a family fun day on a summery Sunday afternoon, Nottinghamshire effectively charged just £1 for tickets to see a fair portion of the England bowling line-up, and one member of the Aussie attack, play cricket.

It’s hard to argue with the value but, as the hosts were sporting the majority of the international talent, it seems only fitting that they took the spoils. Yet it wasn’t any of the big names who made the difference for the hosts; it was the county players who did most of the hard work and kept Nottinghamshire in the Royal London One-day cup.

Stuart Broad, Alex Hales, James Anderson and Jake Ball were all in decent form today, but they weren’t the only ones worth watching. There’s plenty of talent to be enjoyed in the county game every week, not just on the odd occasion when the England players come home.

Michael Lumb impressed with his power at the top of the Outlaws’ batting order and young Haseeb Hameed was confident and calm in the middle of the Lancashire one.

It was Lancashire’s Karl Brown and Alex Davies that got the day started, with an excellent partnership of 98 runs that needed Broad to break it up. The Australian international, James Pattinson then chipped in with a couple of wickets of his own, showing his immense speed against a somewhat bewildered Davies who he removed lbw for 45.

The wickets, and the bowling of Broad and Pattinson, sharply pulled Lancashire’s run rate down and their batting plateaued for some time. It was the 20 year old, born and bred Lancashire lad, Hameed that pulled the side through to a semi-decent total of 260.

Coming in at three, it took the Bolton lad a little while to get moving, but he steadily started to build the innings. Perhaps realising Hameed was getting too comfortable, the Outlaws brought the speed of Pattinson back into the attack.

It didn’t work. Hameed was well settled into his game at this point, pushing the ball around, seemingly unconcerned by who was bowling at him. His partner McLaren, having started carefully, decided it was time to take his foot off the brakes and the two started to make the innings into something defendable.

Hameed had faced Ball, Broad and Pattinson during his innings yet finished unbeaten on 75.

Having to face an England bowler with only one England batter in their contingent, the Outlaws probably expected to lose a few wickets to Anderson. In fact, they lost just one and, fittingly, it was that of said England batsmen Hales.

The bulk of the damage to the Notts batting was done by a 21 year old Preston boy, Danny Lamb. A debutant for Lancashire today, he took two of the three wickets that fell, removing the incredibly dangerous Lumb and Riki Wessels. While Anderson got the bigger cheer, Lamb had the bigger impact.

Lamb’s two wickets, and Anderson’s one, were all that was destined to fall for Notts today as a solid batting performance from two of their less explosive players took the side to a quality finish.

Workman-like, Samit Patel and Stephen Mullaney plucked runs from each of the visiting bowlers, showcasing a pile of fours and a few maximums that made the Trent Bridge crowd go wild. When Patel reached his century toward the end of the day, his cheer was bigger than any we’d heard for Broad earlier on. When the victory was taken, with a huge 6 down the ground by Mullaney, you’d have thought England had won the Ashes again.

Patel is a player that many would like to see in England colours again, and with good reason. Game after game he puts in quality performances with both bat and ball. I doubt there’s too many Notts supporters, however, who’d like to lose him to the national side. He’s much too valuable to the local one.

It’s always fun when, once in a while, players like Anderson and Broad come around; and there’s little doubt that Hales and Ball are quality players who deserve their England spots, but so long as there is talent like Hameed, Brown, Mullaney and Patel around, there is plenty to keep cricket fans happy every day in the county game.

With today’s victory for Nottinghamshire Outlaws, they are still in with a good chance to go through to the knock-out stage. Lancashire can still mathematically go through, but it’s looking much less likely for them.

Yorkshire slip up in quest for top spot

Warwickshire (284-5 off 47.2 overs) beat Yorkshire (281-8 off 50 overs) by five wickets with 16 balls to spare.

Warwickshire finished a dismal One Day Cup season with a win over Yorkshire who, with Worcestershire beating Durham, had their hopes of a top table placing and a home semi-final severely dented.

The home side’s bowling was enough to contain Yorkshire to a below par score and their fallible batting for once fired on all cylinders.

Yorkshire won the toss and batted on a bright and breezy Edgbaston day. The pitch was so far over towards the Hollies Stand that, with the following wind, an uncouth batsman could probably have spat into the River Rea.

Despite losing their last six games and sitting bottom of the table, Warwickshire fielded an unchanged side. The apparent debutant named on the scorecard as Petal proved to be none other than Jeetan Patel in disguise. Yorkshire fielded nine international players plus the promising Matthew Waite and Azeem Rafiq.

Yorkshire got off to the worst possible start when, first ball, Adam Lyth edged a full length delivery from Keith Barker and was caught high up by Tim Ambrose.

Jonny Bairstow was probably salivating at the thought of the short boundary but before he could make use of it, he tried to work Rikki Clarke to leg, mis-timed it and lobbed the ball to mid-on where Grant Thornton judged a low catch well.

Peter Handscomb promised much but then played an airy back foot drive off Barker and was caught behind. Joe Root and Gary Ballance did their best to steady things. Root drove crisply and reached his fifty off 60 balls. He viciously square cut Mark Adair and was dropped by Aaron Thomason at backward point.

Keith Barker completed his ten overs for 39 runs and two wickets and then, somewhat dubiously, retired from the scene and left the fielding to a younger, nimbler 12th man.

Ballance never quite got going and on 22 pulled a Grant Thornton delivery straight to Jeetan Patel at long leg.

When Root, no doubt much to Thomason’s relief, edged behind a good length ball from Clarke, Yorkshire were teetering on the edge of an inadequate total. They were rescued by Matthew Waite and Tim Bresnan who added 116 in 15 overs.

Waite started unsteadily but, once he settled in, showed a good range of shots. Meantime, Tim Bresnan demonstrated how the short boundary could be exploited. He had some luck when Ateeq Javid at deep square leg failed to take a difficult running catch off Thomason and the ball went for six.

When Waite hit Thornton for successive sixes, Yorkshire began to smell a 300-plus total. But Bresnan fell for 65 when he hit Patel to wide mid-on where Jonathan Trott took a stinging catch. Then Willey pulled Thornton to deep square leg. Had he been batting at the other end, the ball would have gone into the river but, on dry land, Patel was waiting for the catch.

Waite fell to a briefly juggled catch at long on by Adair off Thornton for a career best 71. So Yorkshire had to settle for 281-8, a total that was better than it might have been but still looked dangerously low with that short boundary beckoning.

Of the bowlers, Barker and Patel starred with a combined 3-71 off their 20 overs. Thornton took three fairly expensive wickets. His windmill action with both arms twirling is reminiscent of Warwickshire bowling coach Alan Richardson at his best.

The Warwickshire fielding was variable. Aside from the two dropped catches, there were several misfields including a real shocker from Adair.

Warwickshire got off to a flying start thanks to Trott and Sam Hain who both drove anything over-pitched. The words “Trott” and “dazzling” have not often been used together, except maybe when the sun has been shining on his bald pate. But they could certainly be applied to this innings as he and Hain put on 124 for the first wicket. When Trott skied Waite to Bairstow, he had scored 70 off 69 balls, with eight fours and two sixes.

Azeem Rafiq found a good line and length with his off-spin and claimed a double reward when he bowled both Hain for 55 and Ambrose for nought with well-flighted deliveries. An uncomfortable little innings by Ateeq Javid was ended by an ugly leg-side shot. At 167-4 in the 30th over put the game on an even keel.

Bell and Clarke wrested the initiative back with a sensibly paced stand. They deployed a full range of shots – pulls, cuts, drives, reverse sweeps were all on show. Rafiq kept them slightly in check with 3-35 off his ten impressive overs but it was not enough to stop the victory charge.

Finally, in an attempt at a glorious finale, Bell hit three fours off Waite and, going for his hundred and the winning runs, skied to deep square leg. His 98 came off 85 balls with 11 fours and three sixes.

No matter, Warwickshire were soon home by 5 wickets with 16 balls to spare. They will reflect on a One Day Cup season where they won their first and last games and lost the rest. Yorkshire, meanwhile have one more chance to clinch that top spot.

RLODC Preview: Nottinghamshire v Lancashire

The Royal London One-Day Cup is heading into the final week of the group stage and, while the knock-out spots have not yet been filled, the groups are starting to take some shape.

In the North group, Yorkshire are looking comfortable at the top but there are other places up for grabs and Nottinghamshire and Lancashire, who meet at Trent Bridge, can each still grab one of them.

The hosts, despite a surprise loss to Durham on Thursday, are hanging in there in fifth place. Just above them, and with very little between the two, are their visitors Lancashire.

The Red Rose were all but out of the tournament thanks to poor weather at Blackpool on Friday, which looked set to yield no result against Derbyshire. The weather Gods suddenly felt charitable, however, and instead of a washout there was a Lancashire victory and the side lives to fight another day.

With three wins and three losses apiece, both sides need to win to stay alive in the competition. Both have also played an exciting, attacking style of 50-over cricket and have an impressive array of batting talent.

The Outlaws have been less than destructive with the ball, however, while Lancashire will no doubt field their visiting international Jimmy Anderson.

Whatever happens, it should make for an interesting day out in Nottingham tomorrow.

Some rain is forecast, so let’s hope the weather that eventually smiled on Blackpool yesterday can do the same for the East Midlands.

Key Men

The Outlaws will be pleased to still have Alex Hales in the side for this important game. His 104 from 103 against Durham was central to their almost-victory that evening. Always reliable at the top of the order, he could be just what they need tomorrow.

Always prepared to make an impact at the top of the order, Karl Brown seems to enjoy thrashing the ball around, then getting out; setting up the side, then letting more careful men get on with things. Although he has had one or two disappointing appearances in this competition, his appearances against Northants, Worcestershire and Derbyshire have been key. On his day, he is a destructive batsman.

Team News

Notts retain the services of their internationals, Stuart Broad, Alex Hales and Jake Ball. Brett Hutton, who did not appear against Durham, comes back into the squad.

Lancashire have named a 13-mans quad for the trip to Trent Bridge. Like their hosts, they retain the services of their international talent, James Anderson. Jordan Clark misses out due to injury.

Nottinghamshire squad: Brendan Taylor, James Pattinson, Steven Mullaney, Chris Read, Stuart Broad, Riki Wessels, Alex Hales, Harry Gurney, Samit Patel, Brett Hutton, Jake Ball, Michael Lumb, Billy Root

Lancashire squad: Steven Croft (captain), James Anderson, Karl Brown, Alex Davies, Haseeb Hameed, Kyle Jarvis, Simon Kerrigan, Danny Lamb, Arron Lilley, Liam Livingstone, Ryan McLaren, Stephen Parry, and Dane Vilas

Form

Nottinghamshire: LWWWL
Lancashire: WWWLL

Weather and conditions

It should be relatively warm but some rain is forecast through the centre of the day. Hopefully it won’t be enough to interrupt proceedings too much.

Date: Sunday 14th May, 2017
Time: 11:00am
Ground: Trent Bridge
Umpires: Paul Baldwin & Alex Wharf
Odds (SkyBet): Nottinghamshire 8/13, Lancashire 5/4

RLODC Preview: Leicestershire v Derbyshire

The Foxes take on the Falcons in the Royal London One Day Cup, at The Fischer County Ground, with both sides knowing that defeat will end any hopes of qualification for the knock out stages of the competition. However, for the side that prevails qualification will still be a possibility and they will go into the final round of matches on Tuesday knowing they must win again.

Both the Falcons’ and Foxes’ previous fixtures were affected by the rain, with Duckworth and Lewis involved in the Falcons’ loss to Lancashire off the penultimate ball, and the Foxes game against Northants being completely washed out. Neither side will want an abandonment today, as it will mean neither side can qualify for the later stages.

Both sides have won two games in the competition so far this year. Derbyshire have won both chasing, while Leicestershire have won chasing and defending. It will be interesting to see which way the toss winning captain elects to go. I would expect both to choose to chase, both having success chasing and if there is rain in the air, Duckworth Lewis often favours the side chasing.

The Bookies cannot split the sides for this game, giving the same odds for both sides. The Falcons probably have the edge, however, as they have made consistently high scores even in defeat and, but for a couple of very close games going against them, could easily have four victories rather than two.

Key Men

When Leicestershire have won, one man has always contributed and that man is Mark Pettini, scoring 59 and exactly 100 more in their other victory. His experience at the top of the order and ability to judge conditions allows him to set a platform for others to go on, or as he did against Warwickshire go on himself. If Pettini can do this again then the Foxes chances of success will be greatly enhanced.

With Gary Wilson away on international duty many expected Harvey Hossein to deputise behind the stumps, but Summer recruit Daryn Smit has been given the honour instead. He has shown this decision to be the right one, as he is yet to concede a bye and has shown lightning fast hands with some fantastic stumpings.

Smit’s batting has also been a great asset to the side, contributing in the middle order and often finishing off innings for Derbyshire. His ability to do this and keep wicket allows a much better balance to the side and his success is Key to the Falcons.

Team News

Leicestershire have made one addition to the squad for today, with fit again off-spinner Rob Sayer coming into the 15. Colin Ackermann is again named in the squad following his finger injury but Ben Raine, Neil Dexter and Richard Jones remain in the pavilion nursing their own injuries.

Derbyshire have named the same eleven that lost to Lancashire last time, out along with Tony Palladino and Tom Milnes making up the 13. Charlie MacDonnell however misses out this time and does not make the trip. Exciting fast bowler Will Davis remains absent through injury.

Leicestershire Squad: Clint McKay (c), Colin Ackermann, Aadil Ali, Zak Chappell, Mark Cosgrove, Cameron Delport, Ned Eckersley, Gavin Griffiths, Lewis Hill, Dieter Klein, Callum Parkinson, Mark Pettini, Rob Sayer, James Sykes, Tom Wells.

Derbyshire squad: Billy Godleman (c), Ben Cotton, Matt Critchley, Alex Hughes, Wayne Madsen, Jeevan Mendis, Tom Milnes, Tony Palladino, Luis Reece, Ben Slater, Daryn Smit (wk), Shiv Thakor, Hardus Viljoen

Form

Leicestershire: ALLWL
Derbyshire: LWLLW

Weather and conditions

The weather looks reasonable for the match, although if the forecasts are to be believed Leicester could be on the receiving end of some rain between 1pm and 2pm, so calculators at the ready for some Duckworth and Lewis. Temperatures look set to hit the dizzy heights of 17 degrees, so wrap up warm under your water proofs.
Date: 14th May 2017
Time: 11:00am
Ground: The Fischer County Ground, Grace Road
Umpires: Cook and Robinson
Odds (SkyBet): Leicestershire 10/11 Derbyshire 10/11

Hose century sets up Somerset’s fifth One-Day Cup victory

South Group leaders Somerset all but sealed their place in the knockout stage of the Royal London One-Day Cup with an impressive 81-run win over neighbours Gloucestershire at the Brightside Ground, Bristol.

It was their fifth win of the campaign and one which they achieved with some ease against against their hosts, whose interest in the competition they won in 2015 is only just alive.

Somerset’s victory was built on two excellent innings, one of 90 from skipper and old-stager Jim Allenby and the other from one of the Cidermen’s lesser lights in 25-year-old Adam Hose, who reached 101 from the final ball of the Somerset effort.

It was Somerset’s fifth century of this season’s campaign, all scored by different batters, and Hose’s first senior century in only his second List A appearance. If he felt the pressure of replacing the absent Dean Elgar, who has scored so prolifically in this competition this season, he didn’t show it.

On a gloomy morning Somerset won the toss and batted. They made their attacking intentions clear from the outset but in the fourth over Johann Myburgh chopped on to Matt Taylor for 19.

The same bowler then bowled Peter Trego for 13 with an excellent inswinger. James Hildreth never settled and clipped Benny Howell to short mid wicket for 8 with the total on 65.

After a short rain break, Allenby and Adam Hose pushed the score along, Tom Smith dropping Hose on 9, off his own bowling from his first ball.

Allenby and Hose continued until the second rain break taken with Somerset on 147/3 after 30 overs, Allenby on 59 and Hose 38.

After the break the pair turned their attention to the reduced overs allocation of 46 and upped the pace. When Allenby
swung at Matt Taylor, Gloucestershire’s best bowler with 3/48 from nine overs, and was caught behind ten short of his century Somerset had moved to 188 in the 36th over.

The accelerator pedal was now being pushed firmly to the floor as Roelof van der Merwe was caught at deep mid wicket in the 40th over, leaving Somerset 223/5.

As Hose approached his century Jamie Overton started long- handling to great effect cracking a couple of muscular sixes. His departure, lbw to Chris Liddle, came as a relief to George Hankins in particular after he dropped the fast bowler twice on the long-on
boundary.

Hose reached his well- deserved 93 ball 100 in the final over from Tom Smith. But he left it late. On 93 with two balls left he pulled the slow left armer’s penultimate delivery for a maximum over the mid-wicket boundary and got home off the last ball of the innings.

Gloucestershire’s pursuit of a revised target of 297 from 46 overs got off to the worst possible start when Phil Mustard was caught off a leading edge to Craig Overton’s first ball.

Dent soon followed when the same bowler bowled him round his legs. As the Duckworth- Lewis target outstripped the Gloucestershire total by menacing proportions Cockbain fell to van der Merwe at 62/3 in the 15th over.

But the telling blow for the home side came in the next over when skipper Michael Klinger was caught behind from Jamie Overton for 26. Jack Taylor and Hankins rallied the innings, the former reaching a typically-belligerent 50.

The pair had added 103 when Taylor, having smashed Jamie Overton over the long-on rope into the Ashley Down End apartments, was caught on the same boundary next ball for 68.

Hankins followed in the next over, bowled by van der Merwe for 32. There was fight from Benny Howell (23) but by then the game was won and lost and the Gloucestershire tail-enders put up little resistance.

The wickets were shared between the Overton twins, and the two spinners – Waller and van der Merwe, backed up by some highly-competent ground fielding and catching in what was an impressive team performance.