Well folks, that’s round four completed. There were some fantastic matches, including a one run victory for Yorkshire over Northants; a first First Class victory for Nottinghamshire in what seems like a lifetime plus; close finishes and victories for Gloucestershire, Lancashire and Somerset. There was only one draw this week, at New Road between Worcestershire and Essex, where only twenty wickets fell and where it appeared it wasn’t so much a new road and just “a road”.
Who has made the team of the week this week?
- Alex Lees (Durham) 129
In a match during which no other batter passed 40, Lees’ 129 in a partnership of 208 with Will Young helped Durham set an imposing total. It was a total that ultimately proved too much for Warwickshire. It wasn’t just the runs that Lees scored, but also the amount of time he occupied the crease. An innings of over 125 overs, allowing others to bat around him to contribute to the total.
- Will Young (Durham) 124
Like Lees, Young scored three times more runs than any other player managed in a single innings. Inversely to Lees, however, he scored his runs quickly, allowing Lees to bat at his natural pace and set up the victory. Young is only here on a short term deal before Cameron Bancroft arrives, so he may well have to leave right now. Yet, in his short stint with the county supporters they may have developed an all time love for the player with performances like this.
- Tom Westley (c)(Essex) 113
Westley may have been batting on a very good track at New Road this week, but a century is a century and this was his second of the season. It was a score that ensured his side posted a score that left only two possible results: an Essex victory or a draw. The pitch put paid to the former, but Westley’s innings had put paid to a Worcestershire victory long before that.
- Hashim Amla (Surrey) 215
When you sign an overseas player, you expect them to change games for you, to be the best and to influence results. In Amla, that is what Surrey have. His double century here allowed others to bat around him and generate a score that propelled Surrey to their first win of the season. He batted for over eight hours before retiring injured but, by then, the damage had been done and Surrey were well on their way to victory.
- Ollie Pope (Surrey) 131
Surrey need to enjoy Pope’s runs now before England fixtures commence later in the season. Pope, whose form wasn’t the best over the winter, looks to have rediscovered his mojo. Any lingering doubt about his place in the side will have been tossed aside easier than Pope tossed aside Hampshire’s bowlers in this match. He, along with Amla, were the driving force with the bat, putting on a partnership of 257 – only 14 runs less than Hampshire managed in both completed innings.
- Ian Cockbain (Gloucestershire) 0 + 117
When you get a duck in your first innings you have to do something special in the second to get selected in DEC’s prestigious Team of the Week. Well, guiding your side to their fourth highest successful run chase of all time is pretty special. Cockbain’s 117 was the highest score in the innings and, by the time he fell, the job was all but done and just 21 more runs were required for victory. It’s even more impressive when you consider he came to the crease with his side in trouble at 53 for 3.
- Steven Davies (Somerset) 2 + 44 and 5 dismissals
The numbers above don’t scream selection in a Team of the Week, but the context does. Those 44 runs in the second innings, on a very tricky pitch to bat on when his side were chasing victory, were exceptional. Davies’ unbeaten partnership of 86, with debutant Lewis Goldsworthy, saw his side home when it looked like a defeat was the only real possibility. It was gritty and Somerset fans will be hoping for more as the season goes on.
- Wayne Parnell (Northants) 5-64 + 5-79 and 5 + 33
If ever a man did not deserve to be on the losing side it was Wayne Parnell this week. His ten wickets put Northants in a position to win; his 33 in the second innings a score – only bettered by one other in the side – took them to the edge of victory. And yet, as he fell to Steven Patterson, he was the last man out it and that meant that Northants lost by one run. Parnell can be very happy with his performance. What would he have given to have scored 35 in the second innings, though?
- Craig Overton (Somerset) 3-60 + 5-34 and 38*
Overton just gets better and better. His eight wickets this week blew Middlesex away and ensured that Somerset were not chasing an unmanageable total in the fourth innings. He contributed an unbeaten 38 runs in the first innings, too, which meant that Somerset did not give up a huge lead to Middlesex and kept them in the game.
- Brydon Carse (Durham) 2-15 + 5-49 and 40
Carse is fast and a genuine wicket taker. His seven wickets in the meeting with Warwickshire this week ensured a victory for Durham. In both innings he removed the Bears’ tail, making sure no annoying lower order partnerships got in the way of victory. In a bowling attack that boasts Chris Rushworth and Mark Wood, to outperform them both is impressive and suggests an exciting future for the club.
- Kemar Roach (Surrey) 2-40 + 8-40
In the first innings Roach played second fiddle to Jordan Clark, whose six wickets put Surrey in a position to win. In the second innings Roach not only hammered that position home, but smashed it to pieces. His 8 wickets for just 40 runs put a demoralised Hampshire side out of their misery and gave Surrey their first victory of the season. Performances like this are exactly what Surrey signed Roach for, and they will be hoping for more of them as the season goes on.