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A feral end to the Frizzell

Submitted by Rick Eyre on September 26, 2005 - 10:54am

Woah! I would have thought that county cricket in late September would have favoured the bowlers, but in the eight matches of the final week of the 2005 championship, two teams passed 700, one declared not far short, another passed 500 and four more topped 400. What gives?

I need to start by mourning the relegation of Surrey to the second division next year. Pity we don't have the soccer euphemisms, of passing from the Premiership to the Championship. Surrey scored 686 for 5 and beat Middlesex by an innings and 39 runs at The Oval. All this after Middlesex had doomed them to relegation on the first day.

I have to love the way Nottinghamshire celebrated winning the county championship. Stephen Fleming won the toss, put Hampshire into bat, and duly conceded 714 for 5 (John Crawley knocking up a career best 311 not out). From there, Notts lost by an innings and 38 in three days.

It gets loopier when Division Two wooden-spooners Derbyshire knocked up 707 for 7 against second-last Somerset before going on to their only championship win of the season, by an innings and 18. But why did Derbyshire captain Luke Sutton declare as soon as he got out when his partner, Graeme Welch, was on 99 not out?

Then there was the Essex innings of 574 at the appropriately named New Road. Ronnie Irani was out for 99, South African-born Dutch international Ryan ten Doeschate went for 98, and seven Essex batsmen hit at least one six! Nineteen wickets fell in four days, but at least the Worcestershire season did not end until the doyen of flat-track bullies, Graeme Hick, swatted his 128th first-class century.

It would be remiss of me not to mention that Mushtaq Ahmed notched a career-best 90 not out for Sussex against Kent, while, harking back to Surrey, Azhar Mahmood's 204 not out was his first-class best. He shared a fifth-wicket stand of 328 with Mark Ramprakash, who took 12 hours and 40 minutes to score 252.

And so ends four years of the Frizzell County Championships, as we see that most annoying form of naming rights abuse - the sponsor doesn't change but they impose a different brand on the event. Hence, in 2006, we will have the Liverpool Victoria County Championship.

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