After four scintillating days, the first round of fixtures of the Bob Willis Trophy has come to an end with some unlikely victories and outstanding performances up, down and across the country. Here at Deep Extra cover we have selected our team of the round. Have we got it right?
- Alex Lees (Durham) 8, 106
Who wouldn’t love getting one over on your previous employer? That’s exactly what Alex Lees did when he scored a century against Yorkshire. Yes, it was a losing cause, but his runs in the second innings helped to set Yorkshire a total to chase. Had the Durham batting been as flaky as the first time around, Yorkshire would have been chasing next to nothing.
- Nick Gubbins (Middlesex) 192, 60
How do you put a few barren seasons behind you? You start this season with 252 runs across two innings, propelling your team in to a position of such strength that local rivals Surrey were always chasing and never really in the game. Sadly for Gubbins he wont be remembered for the 252 runs he scored but the manner of his dismissal – which went viral – after being bowled trying to reverse seep Nick Moriarty second time around.
- Ben Slater (Leicestershire) 172, 25
It’s a few days before the season starts and your employer says, “thanks Ben, but you’re not going to play for us. You need to go and get some game time elsewhere”. What do you do? You can either dwell on it, or you can go out and score your highest ever first class score, which is exactly what Ben Slater did after Nottinghamshire sent him to Leicestershire on loan. Slater’s 172 set up an impressive first innings lead, and his 25 in the second innings was in the pursuit of 150 in 15 overs to win.
- Leus Du Plooy (Derbyshire) 130, 7
You are playing your local rivals, the rest of your batting order falls around you and you score more than half of your side’s total innings score – 130 out of 239 with the next highest score being 45. It was an impressive performance, and a performance that ensured Derbyshire remained in the game at Trent Bridge. Had he fallen as cheaply as others, Derbyshire would have lost without doubt.
- Colin Ackerman (c) (Leicestershire) 94, 73*
You’ve been made permanent captain of your club, you are a huge underdog going into the game and not only do you guide your county to a fine victory over one of the big boys, but you contribute in both innings. 94 in the first innings to generate a lead, and then 73 not out in the second innings off 41 balls propelled the Foxes to a famous victory.
- Adam Rossington (wk) (Northants) 4, 135
When your side has conceded a first innings lead of 229, realistically the best you can hope for is a draw, but often it doesn’t happen. Adam Rossington ensured it happened with a magnificent 135 not out off 399 balls, and batting a mammoth eight and a quarter hours to guide his side to safety. Throw in that it was his first game as permanent captain for the side, and that he also kept wicket for 120 overs, and it is even more impressive.
- Samit Patel (Nottinghamshire) 80, 63, 1-4, 1-74
In a losing cause Samit’s performance is excellent. 143 runs and match figures of 2 for 80 gave Nottinghamshire a chance of victory, which most thought they would and should have taken. He provided lower order runs, which ensured that Nottinghamshire had two very competitive totals.
- Fynn Hudson-Prentice (Derbyshire) 91*, 8, 1-44
Hudson-Prentice’s figures may not look as impressive as some others around the country, but viewed in context they become more impressive. His 8 in the first innings was done batting with a runner, which he required because he damaged his leg in the first innings bowling, where he took 1 for 44. In the second innings he batted for 3 and ¾ hours, faced 222 balls and scored 91 runs in a run chase of 365, marshalling the tail to the highest ever run chase achieved by his county.
- Ollie Robinson (Sussex) 11, 3-36 23, 5-29
You watch some bowlers and they just stand out and say “I’m going to play for England one day!” I believe Ollie Robinson is one of those. He shows real promise and his 8 wicket were an excellent return in Sussex’s victory over Hampshire, wrapped up in three days. He also had to take on more responsibility as Sussex were missing Jofra Archer, Chris Jordan and new signing Stuart Meaker. Robinson lead the attack and he lead it well. 34 runs were also a good contribution down the order to help his side set winning totals.
- Jamie Overton (Somerset) 3, 2-16 0, 5-48
If the rumours are true then this could be the last game Jamie Overton plays for Somerset. If it is then, as goodbye presents go, it is a pretty decent one. 7 wickets, 5 of them in the second innings, bowling them to victory and taking the final wicket too. He bowls with real fire and pace and will be an excellent signing for Surrey, be it next year or this.
- Tim Murtagh (Middlesex) 5-47, 2-27
On a day when Ireland beat England in an ODI, Tim Murtagh was not the only Irish eyes that were smiling as he bowled Middlesex to a 190 run victory over arch rivals Surrey. He is a certainty to take wickets, as he always does for Middlesex, and having given up the option to play for Ireland to continue playing for the London side, his figures in this match justify his decision – and Middlesex’s for keeping him on.