Rain, rain go away. Quite frankly we’ve had enough now. Of the eight fixtures this week, only one saw a side claim a victory – Nottinghamshire completed their third consecutive victory, defeating Worcestershire by a mammoth innings and 170 runs. Everyone else took eight points and any bonus points home with them – and no doubt some soggy kit too.
The raft of draws sees little change at the top of the three games. Nottinghamshire, Gloucestershire and Lancashire sit atop their groups and are looking good to progress to the top seeded group after the end this stage of the competition. Despite the rain, there were still some fantastic performances this week. So, let’s see who has made the Deep Extra Cover team of the week:
- Rory Burns (Surrey) 64 and 104
Burns was under pressure here this week. Not only was he in front of the Sky cameras for the world to see, he also had to justify his selection in the England squad earlier in the week after not being in the best run of form. However, in tricky conditions throughout the game he looked composed and assured at the crease. He scored well at a strike rate of over 40 in both innings and in the second innings, when he was looking to set up a declaration, his strike rate was over 65 and managed to get that total up.
- Mark Stoneman (Surrey) 63 and 74
Like Burns batting in tricky conditions, Stoneman gave Surrey a solid start and totals that meant they stood a good chance of winning the game. He also upped his scoring rate in the second innings, scoring at a strike rate of over 70 to help set that declaration total. Compare that to his first innings strike rate of 49, showing his adaptability and flexibility and importance to this Surrey side.
- Tom Abell (Somerset) 132*
If there was a way to put an innings in a dictionary, you would put this innings under the title “captain’s innings”. Abell’s 132 not out was the bedrock for Somerset’s 300 for 8 declared, and it ensured that in an uncertain weather effected game, Somerset were going to go home with plenty of points. No other batter scored more than 57 in the entire game, and it would have appeared that Abell was batting on another pitch. Somerset fans, however, will be glad he wasn’t. His knock was key for them in this match.
- Ben Duckett (Nottinghamshire) 177*
When there is inclement weather about, sides want to bat once and bat big. Ben Duckett enabled Nottinghamshire to do just that, as he amassed 177 unbeaten runs in his side’s total of 400 for 5 declared. He scored at such a pace that his side still had time bowl out Worcestershire twice. His 177 came off just 196 balls and included 19 fours. He also shared in two century partnerships with Lyndon James and captain Steve Mullaney. In a match during which no one else scored more than 90, Duckett’s knock was pivotal in his side’s third consecutive victory of the season.
- Nick Gubbins (Middlesex) 1 and 124
Middlesex were on shaky ground to say the least. Chasing 289 for victory, having been bowled out for 160 in the first dig, Gubbins found himself 18-1 and facing defeat. However, he took his side to the verge of victory. His 124 showed poise and control, coming off 145 balls with 2 sixes and 13 fours. It was only when he fell that his side had to bat out for the draw. Without Gubbins’ stickability, Middlesex may well have succumbed to defeat. His knock was vital to the side, and was a welcome return to form for a batter who has previously been mentioned for England selection.
- Darren Stevens (Kent) 190, 1-18
Kent were staring down the barrel when Stevens walked to the crease. What happened in the next 149 balls was, quite frankly, extraordinary. Stevens scored 190 runs, hit 15 fours and 15 sixes and propelled Kent to a position of control within the game. It ensured they would claim at least a draw in this rain affected match. He also took a quarter of all the Glamorgan wickets that fell across the two innings. He offers so much to his side with bat and ball, he truly is a county great.
- John Simpson (Middlesex) (wk) 68 and 4 and 4 dismissals
In Middlesex’s innings of 160, no one else made more than 26. Had Simpson also succumbed for such a low score, Middlesex would probably not have secured the eight points. He also scored at an impressive rate. That meant, with the chance of lost days to weather, on the last afternoon all three results were possible. When Simpson fell in the second innings, it ended the chance of a Middlesex victory. Simpson is one of the best wicket keepers in the country and he did not disappoint in this game, adding four dismissals to his tally of runs.
- Luke Fletcher (Nottinghamshire) 7-37 and 3-20
Fletcher is in the form of his life. This was his first 10 wicket haul in First Class cricket and, if he keeps bowling like this, it will not be his last. His first innings return destroyed the Worcestershire order and helped remove them for just 80, ensuring only two results were possible. His three in the second innings ensured that only one result was ever going to happen.
- Ben Aitchison (Derbyshire) 6-28, 24
This was Aitchison’s best bowling figures in First Class cricket and his first five wicket haul. Derbyshire sought quick wickets to try and force Durham to follow on and, once that target had passed, to secure bowling bonus points. Aitchison ensured that the Falcons secured full bowling bonus points. His 24 runs in the first innings helped them to also secure their second batting bonus point and ultimately to come out of the game with more points than Durham.
- Kemar Roach (Surrey) 4-61 and 5-86, 5
In what was Roach’s last game for the brown caps in this stint, he showed what an impressive overseas signing he has been. His performance in this game turned it in Surrey’s favour more than once. In the first innings, he tore the heart out of the Middlesex top order and then, in the second innings when Middlesex looked like they might win, he turned the match on its head. In the end, Middlesex were having to bat out to save the draw and this was down to Roach’s performance in the second innings.
- Chris Rushworh (Durham) 6-49, 4*
What more can be said about Chris Rushworth? He takes wickets, he bowls tight and he is a phenomenal county professional cricketer. Derbyshire were the side to get the Rushworth treatment this week and he took wickets throughout the order. It didn’t matter if he was bowling at top, middle or lower order batters, he is capable of taking their wicket. His efforts ensured Durham took maximum bowling points.