Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Week One, Sadness, Controversial New Rules and Rain Stop Play

Week one of the English domestic cricket season has brought new toss rules also relegation and promotion controversy. Together with great sadness and shock with the terrible news that James Taylor England and Nottinghamshire batsman has had to retire from all cricket after being diagnosed with a serious heart problem. Life sometimes is very unfair James (Shorty - to his playing pals) is just 25 years old and really had a great cricket career in front of him. Having being captain for Nottinghamshire and breaking into the England set up he was a very popular player with his team mates and supporters. He is also a great fielder and the recent tour of South Africa saw him take outstanding catches at Short Leg

Showing a couple of catches can never do justice for his fantastic career that was just about to get all the rewards for all his hard work. Good luck to James, the whole of the cricket fraternity wishes you well.

So with that news cricket really was put into prospective as prior to this information breaking the new toss rules had come into force on the Sunday with six tosses taking place and just one away side, Gloucestershire, choosing to not enforce the home side into bat. Glos took up the 50/50 method of trying to bat first themselves, and they succeeded in winning the toss and of course batted.

We can obviously gleam from the fact that if a toss has taken place that it is supposed to be a good batting wicket and the away side fancy it. Unfortunately Gloucester lost the match, in fact they were thumped by 10 wickets so perhaps this was a bad choice, but one does suspect they would have lost either way.

Cricket Wickets
The Captains not in the middle for the Toss 
Some, like myself, are not getting too worked up over this new rule, others such as Mark Butcher seem to hate it with a passion, tweeting and vlogging that he thinks it will have a detrimental effect on the game and not work as intended. It was of course intended to encourage home teams to prepare better turning wickets to help with the growth of our spinners. I think our spinners are growing quite well as it is, I can't see how this is going to make that much of a difference myself. Equally 50% of the time your team will be the away side, and will of course have the new rule all to themselves. So it will certainly even out.

To even up the fixtures County Cricket Championship is going to change from NINE teams in both divisions to EIGHT teams in division one and TEN teams in division two.The change will mean that ALL teams can play in one particular week, unlike the present system where we have at least one team sitting around from both divisions.  To do this, it has been decided that this season (2016) only ONE team will be promoted from division two. So that makes Div two this season very competitive indeed right from the start and the early start with rain around got some teams very nervous indeed.

None more so than Kent who travelled to Worcester. Now this particular fixture has been dogged with bad weather on more than one occasion both home and away. So its hardly surprising that when the fixture list came out the Kent fans straight away picked up on the fact they were going to Worcester first game of the season in very early April.

Now April for the past two years has been very kind, in fact last year April was better than early June! It was very warm and it was short sleeves and sun glasses all around the country. That of course could never last year in year out, we all know that.
Worcestershire County Cricket Club underwater
New Road Jan 2016

The alarm bells should have started to ring at New Road in January when the ground was so many feet under water. Expecting this to clear in the winter months is not the same as a summer flood when it can drain reasonably quickly. The winter has not been that bad, most grounds are looking fantastic, but the two weeks prior to the first week quite a lot of rain fell on New Road. This was the time to take action. Sam Northeast the new Kent captain has even said perhaps the games could have been reversed, a very good idea, but he was of course talking in hindsight after the game, the time to make this decision I think was about 4 weeks ago. The officials at Worcester keep saying that the ground was fit to play on the Friday before the game and the rain on Saturday was worse than expected, there was nothing else they could do.

Kent are very frustrated it is a difficult start as they now go on 10 days break, why this happens I just don't understand, the fixture men at the ECB are still not getting this right. Too many teams are on a ten day break after just playing one game. Why does this happen? Nobody knows.
The weather unfortunately caused draws at Durham, Northants, and Southampton with various reason for interruptions, rain obviously, but also bad light, and the most frustrating of the lot waterlogged pitches which also happened in particular at Northants. So Kent were not the only ones to suffer, but they do remain the most bitter and feel it could have been highlighted earlier, I am not so sure, but can see how infuriating it is to sit in the pavilion with the sun shining. so do understand. They don't seem to have any real answers though. But their situation is not quite as bad as it could have been with so many of the other games getting draws and importantly for Kent not so many bonus points were dished out.
So only two winners Notts lead Div one they beat Surrey quite late on, but comfortable enough in the end and go top. In Div two Essex had a good win against Gloucestershire and they of course go top as well. Performance of the week is easy enough Ben Duckett age 21 playing for Northants now has an average of 282 ! Sussex never did get him out, Ben very unlucky not to get a shot at the triple hundred as the weather stopped play on Day 3, but his average is in tact.

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