Apr 202014

Hampshire 231 for 5 (Smith 70) vs DerbyshireScorecard

Will Smith portrait, 2014Will Smith showed the qualities that made Hampshire snap him up © Getty Images

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Players/Officials: Will Smith
Matches: Derbyshire v Hampshire at Derby
Series/Tournaments: LV= County Championship Division Two | England Domestic Season
Teams: Derbyshire | England | Hampshire

‘Will Smith is dead’ is one of the great hoaxes of the Internet. He has been misreported to have died in surgery in the United States and in a fall in New Zealand. There is barely a Twitter hoaxer alive who does not wake up one morning and think “Today, I will tell the world that Will Smith is dead.” There are even hoaxes that there have been hoaxes. Such are the trappings of fame.

Will Smith, the Hampshire version, shares a name with the American actor if not a bank balance. As he possesses a quieter intelligence, that is not likely to change. But if he was not reported dead at the end of last season, he was certainly presumed to be ailing. Durham had won the Championship but Smith, a former captain just the wrong side of 30, was judged surplus to requirements at the end of the season.

When Hampshire gave him a two-year contract, only a few days elapsed before he was asked if he wanted to be captain again. He said he did not, although all it will take is a crisis for him to be reconsidered.

He wanted to make his mark as a batsman, to improve his status late in his career, and his judicious 70 on a breezy and largely chilly Easter Day at Derby represented a solid start. It was not the sort of statement to attract an Internet hoaxer, in fact it will not always have held the attention of the Derbyshire faithful as they stared at the slate-grey skies for hope of light relief, and a hat-trick from nowhere, or Wes Durston, but it was the sort of innings to gain dressing room respect.

According to the Second Division table, which is still not as much embryonic as a gleam in the eye, this was top vs bottom: Hampshire lie top on accounts of having played two matches and winning one of them thanks in part to a hundred by Michael Carberry against Gloucestershire; Derbyshire are bottom, outdone by Alastair Cook at Chelmsford after routing Essex for a two-figure score in the first innings.

But in reality this is an important early-season joust between two likely promotion contenders, making it the sort of match on which to munch a sausage bap and contemplate the meaning of life, an appropriate Easter pursuit.

Derbyshire bowled wastefully in the morning, although that impression is also heightened by Carberry, who is an excellent leaver. He played well for 45 before leaving a little grumpily when Tony Palladino, in his first over against the breeze, had him lbw. “That’ll tarnish your England chances,” came a cry from the outer. It is best not to pause on an lbw at Derby: it deserves to be recognised as the ground where five-second bursts of spleen are always possible.

Adams’ inconsequential affair ended when he edged Mark Turner, the loosest of Derbyshire’s attack, to the keeper, before the afternoon gave way to an earnest battle between Smith and the Derbyshire seamers, a colourless landscape lit up by floodlights for much of the day. It was the sort of contest where you dreaded Iain O’Brien, the former New Zealand bowler, who was commentating for the BBC, inviting you to offer technical analysis from a press box square of the wicket and someway distant from the action.

In the Derbyshire club bookshop, a mid-afternoon refuge, there was an air of excitement at the sudden arrival of as many as 42 second-hand copies of The Harold Rhodes Affair – Rhodes’ own story of one of the great throwing storms in cricket history.

Rhodes, who has never entirely forgiven the events of half a century ago, was eventually judged to have had a hyper-extending arm but his England career was ruined. He would doubtless be judged innocent these days after extensive technological analysis judged his action to be within the 15-degree limit.

Quite why so many copies have suddenly become available was not made clear. Maybe Rhodes has cleared out his garage, always the sort of thing you attempt around Easter, unless you come to Derby, grab an extra layer of clothing out of the boot at lunchtime, and set your face into the wind to watch Will Smith prove that his heart if still beating.

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Apr 042014
Vince appointed Hampshire T20 captain
James Vince was in great form, Middlesex v Hampshire, Friends Life t20, North Group, Richmond, July, 14, 2013

James Vince is a highly-regarded young batsman © Getty Images

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Players/Officials: James Vince

James Vince, the 23-year-old Hampshire batsman, has been appointed the county’s new T20 captain. It is a further rise in Vince’s responsibility after he was made vice-captain of both the County Championship and 50-over sides.

Vince, an attractive batsman who toured Sri Lanka with England Lions in February, takes on the challenge of keeping Hampshire’s superb run going in T20.

They have reached the last four finals days, lifting the trophy in both 2010 and 2013. Vince played in both successes under the captaincy of Dimitri Mascarenhas, who retired at the end of last season.

Vince has a solid record in T20s with almost 1500 runs at 27.49 coming at a strike-rate of 127.24. 23 is a young age to be placed in charge but Vince has now been a fixture in the Hampshire dressing room for four years.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge of captaining the side,” Vince said. “It will be a very proud moment to lead the lads out in our first game. I’m lucky that we have a very talented squad and one that has already had a lot of success in the competition.

“I’ve played under some very good and successful captains who I’ve learnt a lot from so I will try and follow in their footsteps and hopefully we can have another enjoyable and successful T20 season.”

Hampshire have been installed as favourites for this seasons NatWest T20 which will see group matches spread over the season in a regular Friday night slot, bringing in a new challenge for counties having to switch quickly between the longest and shortest formats.

Hampshire director of cricket Giles White naturally thinks Vince is capable of leading the transition: “James has impressed both on and off the pitch and this is a great opportunity for him. He has the respect of the group and thinks about the game well and for those reasons I am sure he will do an excellent job.”

Mar 202014
Amjad Khan released by Sussex
Amjad Khan took the wicket of Hamish Marshall, Sussex v Gloucestershire, Friends Life T20, Hove, July, 24, 2012

Amjad Khan’s final year at Sussex was severely hampered by injury © Getty Images

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Players/Officials: Amjad Khan
Series/Tournaments: England Domestic Season

Pace bowler Amjad Khan has been released by Sussex as part of cost-cutting measures by the club after his 2013 season, his final year of a three-year contract, was severely disrupted by injury.

Khan, 33, who was capped once by England at Test level, against West Indies in Trinidad in 2009, joined Sussex in 2010 after starting his career with Kent. He took 61 wickets at 29.88 for Sussex, taking his first-class tally to 347 wickets 31.62.

He suffered a broken wrist last season which required surgery and he was limited to a handful of Second XI appearances.

“My departure is an amicable one and I look forward to seeing my friends and former colleagues be successful in the future,” he said. “I’d like to thank all the players and the staff at Sussex, who have helped make the last three years so enjoyable.”

Mark Robinson, the Sussex cricket manager, said, “Amjad will be sorely missed by everyone at the club. He’s been a matchwinner for us in all formats and set great examples to our younger bowlers. He has been unlucky with his wrist injury sustained in the final year of his contract and we wish him all the best for the future.”

Jan 072014
Welch new Derbyshire performance director
Graeme Welch

Graeme Welch is leaving Warwickshire and returning to another former club © PA Photos

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Players/Officials: Graeme Welch | Alan Richardson
Series/Tournaments: England Domestic Season

Graeme Welch has been appointed as Derbyshire’s new elite performance director on a three-year contract. A former Derbyshire captain, Welch has earned a strong reputation as assistant coach at Warwickshire and was widely credited for his developmental role with the bowlers when helping the club to the 2012 County Championship title.

But after missing out to Dougie Brown for the role of director of cricket at Edgbaston, 41-year-old Welch has decided to pursue opportunities elsewhere. He also left Edgbaston for Derby during his playing career.

His appointment will have a knock-on effect elsewhere, with Worcestershire’s Alan Richardson expected to announce his retirement from playing to take up the position of bowling coach with Warwickshire.

Though 38, Richardson remains one of the leading bowlers in the county game and led Worcestershire’s Championship bowling averages in 2013. With 69 wickets at 19.82, he claimed 35 more wickets than anyone else at the club.

After starting his career with Derbyshire in 1994, Richardson also had respectable spells with Warwickshire and Middlesex before joining Worcestershire in 2010 and enjoying the best period of his career. He claimed 254 first-class wicket in four seasons for the club at an average of 22.07 apiece and, in April 2012, was named one of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year.

Aug 122013
Onions suffers broken finger
Graham Onions is hoping for a Test recall on his home ground, Chester-le-Street, August 7, 2013

Graham Onions has not been able to add to his England caps this season © PA Photos

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Graham Onions has been ruled out of contention for the final Investec Ashes Test after breaking a finger in Durham’s recent YB40 match against Scotland.

Although it is far from certain Onions would have been included in the squad for The Oval the injury ends his chances of making a Test appearance this season. He was part of the 13 for his hometown Test at Chester-le-Street but did not make the cut for the final XI.

Onions has yet to play for England since the third Test against West Indies, at Edgbaston, last year which is also his sole cap since suffering a career-threatening back injury in 2010.

Onions broke the knuckle joint on the little finger of his right hand attempting to take a return catch during Sunday’s match in Glasgow. Durham are hoping he will be fit for their next Championship match against Surrey which starts on August 22.

Jul 122013
Nerveless McKenzie does it again

Hampshire 122 for 6 (Carberry 41) beat Sussex 118 for 7 (Nash 40) by four wickets

Neil McKenzie hit two successive fours in the final over to swing the match, Nottinghamshire v Hampshire, FLt20 quarter-final, Trent Bridge, July 25, 2012

Neil McKenzie again proved a matchwinner in a tense finish © Getty Images

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Neil McKenzie hit the last ball of the match for four to guide champions Hampshire to a four-wicket win over Sussex in the Friends Life t20 South group clash at the Ageas Bowl.

Experienced McKenzie kept his nerve as wickets tumbled in Hampshire’s pursuit of Sussex’s modest total of 118 for 7. They went into the last over from Scott Styris requiring six to win and a single was needed off the final ball.

As Sussex crowded the South African with a ring of close fielders, McKenzie lifted his shot to midwicket, thereby ensuring Hampshire’s third win in four fixtures.

In many ways it was a remarkable match despite the low-scoring because Hampshire, after losing the toss, were 73 for 1 at the halfway stage, needing only another 46 for what looked to be a comfortable victory.

A disastrous over from West Indian Dwayne Smith had set Hampshire on their way. Smith conceded 24 from his one and only over to openers James Vince and Michael Carberry with each hitting him for two fours and Carberry adding a six.

But from a position of control, Hampshire inexplicably lost their way and McKenzie’s winning shot was only their second boundary during the second half of their innings..

Chris Nash and Chris Liddle imposed a belated stranglehold, taking four wickets between them and conceding only 28 from their combined eight overs. Nash had Jimmy Adams stumped at 80 in the 12th over, top scorer Carberry (41) was caught on the cover boundary at 84 and suddenly Hampshire were in danger of collapsing.

The majority of a crowd of around 8,000 were stunned into silence as Liddle got rid of Sean Ervine at 101, Liam Dawson hit his own wicket at 111 and in the same over from Michael Yardy, Adam Wheater was caught and bowled without scoring.

At 112 for 6 with seven balls remaining Hampshire needed the know-how of McKenzie and Dimitri Mascarenhas to see them home, leaving Sussex to regret Smith’s desperate intervention.

When Sussex batted their total never looked likely to trouble the champions and they did not recover from losing Luke Wright, the luckless Smith and Yardy in the first five overs.

Styris and Nash threatened a mini-revival with a stand of 41 for the fifth wicket but Nash’s fighting innings of 40 from as many balls could only delay Hampshire’s progress for so long, Mascarenhas and Sohail Tanvir each taking two wickets.

Jul 062013
Notts roll on thanks to Lumb

Nottinghamshire 156 for 2 (Lumb 96) beat Durham 154 for 4 (Stoneman 51) by eight wickets

Michael Lumb smashed his way to 96 in short order, Durham v Nottinghamshire, FLt20 North Group, July 6, 2013

Michael Lumb crashed the ball to all parts but fell four runs short of a century © Getty Images

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Michael Lumb made the highest T20 score by a Nottinghamshire player to help his side to an eight-wicket win over Durham at Chester-le-Street. Lumb fell just four runs short of a deserved century as the Outlaws made it four wins from four by chasing down 154 for 4 with 4.3 overs to spare.

Durham’s acting captain Mark Stoneman made his first Twenty20 half-century but his innings was overshadowed by Lumb who hit 14 fours and three sixes in his imperious 53-ball stay. Lumb would have been run out on 14 had Ben Stokes hit the stumps from cover, and on 72 he was dropped by Scott Borthwick when he appeared to be dazzled by the sun running in from deep cover.

Lumb took 30 balls to reach his half-century and was cantering towards three figures, driving Borthwick for his third six, when he went down the track and was stumped. That was off the last ball of the 15th over when only eight were needed to win.

Lumb scored 39 of the first 47 runs before his England opening partner Alex Hales also got going. He made room to hit two fours through the covers in offspinner Ryan Pringle’s first over then hit two fours and a six over square leg off Mark Wood’s first four balls.

The stand was worth 91 in nine overs when Hales pushed forward and was bowled by off spinner Gareth Breese’s first ball.

Skipper David Hussey put Durham in and came on to bowl when they were 81 for one after 11 overs. By the time he had bagged 2 for 23 in four overs of his occasional offspin the hosts had no chance of posting a competitive total.

They had also been throttled by Samit Patel conceding only 16 in his first three overs of left-arm spin, but when he returned for the 19th over Breese got after him. The first ball was lofted over extra cover for six and the Jamaican also found the boundary with a lofted reverse sweep and a straight drive as 18 came off the over.

Stoneman reached 50 off 40 balls but appeared to be bamboozled by Hussey firing the ball in at leg stump from around the wicket. Only three came off his first over and in his second he yorked Stoneman for 51. A similar ball accounted for Borthwick, who made 44 off 37 balls, while the other two wickets both went to Jake Ball. It was only in the 19th over that Durham found any real momentum and their total never looked like being enough.

Jun 252013
Taylor reminds England he is still around

Sussex 506-5 dec (Yardy 204*) drew with Nottinghamshire 478-8 dec (Taylor 204* )

James Taylor struck nine boundaries in his 88-ball innings, removing Alex Hales, Nottinghamshire v Surrey, County Championship, Division One, Trent Bridge, 1st day, May, 15 2013

James Taylor made a big impression with an unbeaten double hundred in an otherwise dead match against Sussex © Getty Images

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Players/Officials: James Taylor
Series/Tournaments: England Domestic Season

James Taylor is a young man with a long career already behind him. The problem is that some people seem to blithely assume the best of it is behind him.

At only 23, he has played with distinction for two first-class counties, captained the England Lions against Sri Lanka, and last year played two home Test matches against South Africa. Many people do not even make their Test debut by then.

A couple of even younger bucks have run up and overtaken him since then, notably the Yorkshire pair of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, but although Taylor denies thinking about England, he must still have hopes, and the innings he played over the last two days – an unbeaten 204 against a Sussex side which sensed at the start of the day that it had a slight chance of victory – will have done him no harm at all.

He started the day on 81 and, when hands were shaken on a draw, he was still there, 30 or so short of his career best. In the process of scoring it he passed 6000 first class runs. He now has 15 career centuries, four of which have been doubles, although not all have them been scored in Division One. Moreover he has had not one but two 97s this year.

It is quite a record, yet England’s latest attitude has been to omit him from many of their various squads, squads designed to suit all challenges and all stages of a player’s career.

Perhaps they have decided he will benefit by being left alone. Perhaps they will downgrade this as a dead match on a benign pitch. have an issue with the fact he is only 5ft 6ins. Perhaps they will look at the same score by Michael Yardy in Sussex’s first innings – an England one-day player whose time has passed – and await more persuasive evidence.

Taylor acknowledged that scoring in the top division is more difficult, and therefore more satisfying. “I think it is a better standard, having played a lot of second division cricket”, he said. “It’s a step up and I think it’s important to show people I can score runs against the best bowlers in the country.

Sussex’s challenge was to take 14 wickets in the day, preferably before Notts reached 339, and on a pitch showing few signs of misbehaviour it never looked like happening. They lost only one wicket before tea, Ajmal Shahzad becoming Chris Jordan’s fifth victim. He had scored 77 and shared a stand of exactly 200 with Taylor.

Once the follow-on target had been passed the match was effectively over, victim of the loss of more than 100 overs on the first two days. If either side was going to win it was Sussex after they posted their 506 for 5 declared, but the game was played on a flat surface and the batsmen had the upper hand.

James Taylor is a modest young man. He played superbly, especially off the back foot, but chose to point the finger of praise elsewhere.

“It was about scoring runs when we needed it”, he said, “and the batsmen stepped up. I definitely couldn’t have done it without Azmal Shahzad. He has to be proud of his performance today. It was a flat wicket but you have to deliver results and he definitely did.”

Shahzad’s restrained 77 suggested a player who might be coming to terms with his wider responsibilities.

Asked about his England prospects Taylor gave a politician’s answer. “Ah, I don’t really think about it too much to be honest. They’re all world-class quality players and I don’t compare myself to them. I’m my own person. But I do want to get back there as soon as possible. It’s the place to be. And the only way I’m going to get there is by doing what I’ve done today.”

Jun 222013
Worcs edge closer through Shantry

Glamorgan 277 (Allenby 82, Shantry 4-65) and 200 for 7 (Wright 63, Shantry 4-67) trail Worcestershire 505 for 7 dec. by 28 runs

Jack Shantry runs in, Wwarwickshire v Worcestershire, County Championship, Division One, Edgbaston, 2nd day, May, 12, 2011

Jack Shantry has so far taken eight wickets in the match © PA Photos

Worcestershire edged closer to their third County Championship win of the season as Glamorgan continued to take a pounding at New Road. At the start of the third day the home side needed 15 wickets for victory and by the close they had taken all but three of them with Glamorgan still 28 short of avoiding an innings defeat.

Jim Allenby propped up the visitors with 82 in their first innings dismissal for 277 and weighed in with an unbeaten 53 when they batted again, trailing by 228.

Worcestershire’s seamers maintained relentless pressure on a largely unresponsive surface and weather permitting they can now expect a quick wrap-up the win when the visitors begin the final day on 200 for 7.

Fast-improving Jack Shantry led the Worcestershire charge with 8 for 132 in the match and Alan Richardson became the leading wicket-taker in the country when claiming his 40th victim of the summer.

For Shantry it was a continuation of an impressive sequence on his home ground. Having posted a championship-best 7 for 69 in the last home match against Essex, he has now taken 15 wickets in three innings at county headquarters.

Glamorgan were simply overwhelmed by the pressure of replying to a massive total of 505 for 7. There was just a glimmer of hope on the third morning when Allenby and Mark Wallace took their sixth-wicket stand to 114 but there was little to come when Worcestershire won three leg before wicket decisions in 10 balls.

Alllenby was the first for young allrounder Joe Leach and there was a final flourish by Wallace (43) and Michael Hogan, with 37 from 42 balls, before Shantry mopped up the last two wickets.

Although Glamorgan’s second innings was twice interrupted by rain, their batting was again fragile. The door was ajar straightaway when Will Bragg skimmed a drive of Chris Russell to Alexei Kervezee at point and Ben Wright was soon fighting a lone battle as a succession of partners failed to reach double figures.

Stewart Walters was lbw to Richardson and Marcus North got a leading edge to short extra cover when Worcestershire brought on offspinner Moeen Ali, partly with eye on their over-rate.

Moeen then sparked off another burst by Shantry when he held a stunning left-handed catch at short midwicket to dismiss Murray Goodwin but he dropped a slip chance from Allenby when he had made only 1. In Shantry’s next over Daryl Mitchell held a sharp slip catch to dislodge Wright for 63 and Shantry had spell figures of 4 for 25 in 6.4 overs when he removed Wallace and Dean Cosker.

But a tiring attack was unable to make the final push as Will Owen (34 not out) joined Allenby in putting on an unbroken 71 in the last 15 overs.

Feb 272013
Sussex positive after 2012 loss
Darren Sammy needs his umbrella as he inspects the pitch, press conference, Hove, May 3, 2012

West Indies’ tour match at Hove was one of many to suffer due to the poor weather in 2012 © PA Photos

Sussex have reported a loss of £325,375 for 2012, with the club’s success in reaching the semi-finals of both limited-overs competitions helping to offset the poor weather that hit county takings around the country.

Turnover remained the same, at £5.2m, but although operating profits were up, an increase in depreciation to £553,00, after the redevelopment of Sussex’s Hove round, saw losses jump by more than £200,000 on the previous year. The club suffered an almost-total washout to West Indies’ tour match in Hove – with only 34 overs bowled over three days – but they did benefit from a one-off payment of £133,000 from a settled legal claim in 2012.

“Whilst a £227k operating surplus is a credible outcome, it was boosted by the one off receipt of £133k in respect of the settlement of a legal claim,” Simon Crundwell, the Sussex treasurer, said. “Alongside continuing challenging economic conditions, the unseasonal weather in 2012 contributed in part to our match income being 22% down on prior year. However, alongside the legal claim, income from our home Clydesdale Bank 40 semi-final and home Friends Life t20 quarter final was vital. Encouragingly, our non-match day revenue continues to grow, 28% ahead on the prior year, which is an important cornerstone of our medium term business plan.

“The deficit of £325k recorded is after charging increased depreciation of £553k, reflecting the completion of our ground redevelopment. Importantly however, the club remains cash positive at an operating level with £95k generated from continuing operations after interest and before non-repeat income and depreciation.”

Jim May, Sussex’s chairman, added: “The county club business model is marginal and without our success in one day competitions, Sussex would have made an operating loss. However, it is pleasing that, whilst the playing side remains strong, we are making progress year on year on the business front.”

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