The second week of the season has seen some fantastic matches, all going into the last day. Seven sides secured a victory and we witnessed some fantastic individual performances. Only one player from last week’s side has retained their place this week – the irrepressible Darren Stevens who, at the age of 42, is still producing runs and wickets for Kent on such a consistent basis that his value to them is untold.
Of the other ten players this week nine counties are represented with four nationalities but, most importantly, 11 excellent performances over the four days.
1 – Ian Holland, Hampshire – 64, 146* and 3-19
The story of how Ian Holland came to cricket is pretty special. What he offers Hampshire is also very special – opening the batting as he did in this game and scoring runs consistently, with over 200 runs in the match. What more could you want from your opening batter?
2- Adam Lyth, Yorkshire 97, 116
Lyth is another batter who scored over 200 runs for his side at the top of the order across two innings, helping to propel his side to victory. He scores his runs quickly and gives the side impetus, and this match was no different. He will be disappointed to not have had two centuries, but that disappointment will be tempered by his side’s victory
3 – James Bracey, Gloucestershire (WK) 118, 83* 2 catches
After a winter of bubble life for England, James Bracey will be glad to play and, if he carries on in his current form, Gloucestershire will be glad he is playing too. Batting at three, Bracey scored 118 in the first innings, helping his side set a total in a local derby that pretty much gave them parity. In the second innings, he a composed 83* to see Gloucestershire to victory. Throw in his keeping, which is always more than tidy, and it is easy to see why England wanted him in their bubble.
4 – Ollie Pope, Surrey 245
Pope, like Bracey, has spent a lot of time away with England and is widely regarded as one of England’s best batting prospects. His 245 runs in this match backs this up. Pope’s double century contribution is even more impressive when only one other player made a century in the innings, and two others reached 50. He scored at a good pace, too – his 245 coming off just 272 balls – and allowed enough time for his side to take twenty wickets.
5 – Kiran Carlson, Glamorgan 127*, 132
When you score a century in both innings in a match you have to be pleased with your contribution, even in a losing cause. Carlson can be proud of his figures against a much vaunted bowling attack, and against which only two of his team mates managed to pass 50.
6 – Matt Critchley, Derbyshire 109, 84, 5-67, 3-76
In Critchley, Derbyshire really do have a gem of a player. Batting at five, he has been excellent this season and is yet to fail to reach 50. He fell just 16 runs short of two centuries this week, allowing his side to set an imposing total followed by a total for the opposition to chase. Whilst Worcestershire were chasing said total, Critchley was bowling with control and guile. He took three wickets in the effort to bowl Derbyshire to victory, after having taken a 5 wicket haul in the first innings.
7 – Darren Stevens, Kent 52, 47, 4-60, 0-41
The most surprising thing about Darren Stevens’ figures in this game is Yorkshire’s second innings: he went wicketless. His consistency across seasons, matches and innings is phenomenal, as shown yet again this week. Batting at seven for Kent, scoring 99 runs across two innings and being the genuine wicket taking threat he is, all at the age of 42, Stevens’ contributions to Kent in every game are beyond compare.
8 – Simon Harmer, Essex (c) 0, 6, 5-79, 5-57
A side capable of being bowled out for 96 usually wouldn’t be expected to win many games. Unless that side has Simon Harmer in its attack. Since he made his debut for Essex, no other spinner has taken a 5 wicket haul at Chelmsford. In this week’s match, he added two more – one in the send innings when his side were defending a total of just 167.
9 – Ollie Robinson, Sussex 67, 4-50, 9-78
Ollie Robinson has been tipped to make his England debut this Summer, and with figures like this it is easy to see why. 67 runs batting down the order is always handy, as are figures of 4 for 50 in Glamorgan’s first innings when he removed two of the top three batters. In comparison, in the second innings Robinson took nine of the top ten. The only man not to succumb to Robinson’s pace and bounce was Billy Root.
10 – Brydon Carse, Durham 0, 15, 3-37, 5-82
When Durham look back at why they lost to Essex this week, Brydon Carse will not be the reason. He bowls as fast as his stock is rising and was involved in England squads last summer. With figures like this, against a batting line up that boasts five players with international experience, it is easy to see why.
11 – Mohammad Abbas, Hampshire 4, 6-11, 3-28
Mohammed Abbas is one of the best seam bowlers in the world currently, but not even he could dream of figures of 6-11 in an innings. Add in a hat trick, and no doubt he was on cloud 9. At one point Abbas’ bowling figures read: 3 Overs 1 Maiden, 5 wickets for 3 runs. He contributed massively to his side bowling out Middlesex for just 79. Second time around he only managed the three wickets, but again at a miserly average as he bowled his side to a well deserved victory.