Nottinghamshire v Durham, County Championship, Trent Bridge, 23 August 2011
The time delay that operates on this blog means that I’m unable to comment in detail on Leicestershire’s WELL DESERVED TRIUMPH! in the 20/20 Finals yesterday. But I wonder whether it was the threat of being replaced by a worm, as suggested in my last post, that may have spurred Charlie Fox on to his victory in the Mascots’ Race. Some people only perform when their contract is up for renewal.
But back to last Tuesday, and the man in the headline.
I speak, of course, of Harborough’s all-rounder Rob Taylor – seen here in action at Fairfield Road with bat –
with ball –
in the on the covers.
who was making his first class debut against Surrey at Grace Road, scoring 70 in his first innings and taking 3 wickets (as did Shiv Thakor, including that of Mark Ramprakash). Leicestershire lost by the respectable margin of 10 wickets.
Unfortunately I wasn’t there, having believed the BBC weather forecast, which predicted heavy rain all day. Instead I went to Trent Bridge, where the forecast was for occasional light showers.
A day at Trent Bridge is never wasted, but I’m not convinced that I would prefer to watch the much-vaunted First Division cricket on a regular basis. This was an important match, in that Durham are still in with a chance of winning the Championship – Notts could only spoil that chance.
Durham were lacking Harmison (AWOL), Plunkett (Yips), Davies (?) and (much to their annoyance) Onions, Borthwick and Stokes who’d joined the other Meltonian Taylor in Ireland for the One Day International. Notts were lacking Patel.
This illustrates one difference between a First Division county and Leicestershire – there are simply more of them. Durham have a squad of 22, Leicestershire have 16, plus three who are only available in the holidays (from school, in Thakor’s case). Even lacking all the above, Durham’s side were an experienced bunch, whereas Leicestershire, who’d rested one or two before the 20/20, played six who were 21 or under against Surrey.
First Division counties tend to be older. Although both Notts and Durham have their young talents (Alex Hales got a century in the first innings), their backbones are made up of quite elderly Kolpacks – (Benkenstein and Adams), ex-Test men (Collingwood) and not quite Internationals (Di Venuto, Read, Franks, Pattinson, Blackwell, Mustard).
I accept there is a contradiction here, in that I would hate to see the Championship become subordinated to the Test game to the extent that its only purpose was as a nursery for internationals, or to see County men being automatically despatched to the knacker’s yard the minute they hit 25. On the other hand, I think I would rather have spent the day at Grace Road watching R. Taylor, Thakor, Dixey and Eckersley (even if they were getting a drubbing).
At lunchtime I was examining the collection of old bats that line the walls of the Museum, when I noticed a contemporary-looking bat, inscribed (in green ink) “This bat has two faces too”. There was no explanation attached, but I speculate that it might have been a leaving presentation from Jason Gallian to Kevin Pietersen.
Also in the Pavilion, at the end of the first over after lunch, I took this photograph (most of the snaps on this blog are for illustrative purposes only, but this one I rather like, so I’ll make it larger than usual). It would be nice to give it some grand allegorical title, but I think it was one of the Nottinghamshire squad taking out a water bottle that had been forgotten when the players came out after lunch.