I was surprised to discover that Sussex have released 29-year-old batsman Luke Wells. Predominantly a red-ball cricketer, Wells has eighteen First Class tons to his name as well as having made handy contributions with his part-time spin.
Left-hander Wells is Sussex through and through but it’s to be hoped that he can find opportunities elsewhere on the county circuit. He’d walk into quite a few teams and I’m stunned that Sussex have not renewed his contract!
Former South African player Jonty Rhodes has been appointed as coach of the Swedish national team.
It’s fantastic to see an ex-player of such quality and now an experienced coach take on a role at a nation outside of the mainstream. Hopefully others will follow suit and help make Cricket a truly global game.
Below I’ve provided links to a few websites that focus on cricket away from the Test scene…
Borthwick deserted Durham when things were going to pot on and off the pitch. He wasn’t the only one. The one-time Test cap had aspirations of getting back in the England team but it was fellow Durham deserter and Surrey teammate Mark Stoneman who settled in quicker at The Oval to win England honours. Stoneman dried up and since being dropped by England has never really got going again. Since heading south Borthwick has never really got going at all. He’s done okay but not nearly enough to return to England contention and that ship has surely sailed for both. Would it even be a surprise if Stoneman followed Borthwick back up north?
Where to start. It’s all to much. This article might not be coherent!
We did it! We gained promotion back to County Championship division two in the most nail-biting fashion. In our final game we lost the toss, conceded 428 and were made to follow-on despite opener Matthew Revis carrying his bat. We set Derbyshire a paltry 127 to win with C Fry claiming 9-83 (!) but reduced them to 89-9 thanks in the main to our spinners. Their final wicket pair then produced the highest partnership of the innings to reach 120-9 when Matt Fisher, who had struck a vital 63 not out from number ten in our second innings, bowed out of professional cricket with the promotion sealing wicket. A full house went wild. There were tears, screams of jubilation and lots of bubbly. We’ll be back in the big time in 2032!
Forget the T20 campaign and we blew a good start in the One-Day competition but it’s top flight First Class cricket for Yorkshire once again. There were lots of contributors with the bat throughout the campaign including a century on debut from 17-year-old gloveman Chris Patrick. Homegrown talent Norman Dobson brought his white-ball skills to the four-day game to lead the way with the red orb. Oh… and batsman and part-time leg-spinner Fred Albright claimed nine wickets in a innings!
In the crucial match against Derbyshire, all-rounder Phillip Morris scored a century that nearly denied us promotion. We’ve had our eye on him for sometime (Because he shares his name with my dad!) so signed him up after the match. We’ve also signed a couple of specialist T20 bowlers (Jason Daniel-WI/Lakmal Sharman-SL) after New Zealander Geoffrey Donald’s horror show. We thought we’d recruited a third (Ranga Wijetinge) but accidentally got him to put pen to paper on a reserve overseas contract not a T20 contract (!) so unless captain Josh Phillipe is away with the Ozzies much, we won’t be seeing a lot of the Sri Lankan all-rounder!
Jordan Thompson, who made some useful contributions but also missed a chunk of the season due to playing in The Hundred, has been released once again as has young batsman Martin Woodcock.
We’ll see you in 2032 for County Championship division one cricket. I’ve rejected offers from Baluchistan amongst others to lead Yorkshire for a thirteenth campaign. My heart is a white rose!
In 2030 we celebrated my ten-year tenure by winning only one match in both First Class and List A cricket (Though for the second year running we were involved in a tie!). We did at least win five T20 games but could only finish sixth in our group. Finishing bottom of County Championship division two and once again failing to reach the knockout stages of either white-ball competition for the eleventh year in a row was a disappointment.
On the plus side prolific homegrown batsman Jon Baldwin won long overdue Test recognition. Sadly he slipped out of the picture quite quickly as teammate Dennis Brindell continues to be selected ahead of him despite struggling to adapt to Test level. Michael Hurst continues to perform well for England’s limited overs sides.
Albert Boxall (350 LA runs) and James Wharton (434 T20 runs) performed extremely well whilst Ed Barnes racked up 19 T20 wickets.
Oh, we did score 808 against Kent in the County Championship with our top four batsmen all scoring centuries!
Long serving captain Jonny Tattersall has been released at the age of 35 whilst teenage batsmen Chris Drinkell has also departed following a tough baptism at professional level. Fellow batsman Vic Walton as well as Australian T20 bowler Richard Hunt, who failed to back-up a good first campaign at Headingley, have also headed out the exit doors.
Josh Phillipe will return as our overseas player for a fourth year. Having captained the side in limited overs cricket the Australian will do so in the First Class format. Teenage wicketkeeper Christian Patrick has also joined us and New Zealand pacer Geoffrey Donald has been recruited exclusively for the T20 Blast.
I’ve rejected offers from Sussex and yet another offer from New Zealand to try and put things right in a twelfth season at Headingley!
After losing our opening T20 match, we went on to win five in a row under the leadership of new captain Josh Phillipe. Sadly the poor scheduling that allows the County Championship to interrupt the T20 Blast disrupted our rhythm. We crashed out of the knockout qualifying places following defeat in our last match. In truth our batting unit didn’t set the world on fire. Harry Brook (489 runs) performed superbly though and had a strong season across all formats. However it was our bowling attack who were to a man, excellent. Inexperienced Australian pacer Richard Hunt (28 wickets) led the way.
As normal, there was little to cheer in One-Day cricket. We did feature in a thrilling tie but it was the wooden spoon for us once again. Albert Boxall (234 runs) and Dom Leech (9 wickets) were the better performers but their low numbers confirm what a difficult campaign it was.
In four-day cricket we did okay but were always a little short of making a genuine promotion push. Josh Phillipe totalled 1089 runs but Matthew Fisher (63 wickets) was in phenomenal form throughout the campaign. Opener Matthew Revis continued his improvement and in the final match of the season, played his 100th First Class game. Curiously, he’s only ever played five limited overs games.
Spin-bowler James Logan has surprisingly retired and pace bowler Josh Rippenden has been released. Josh Phillipe will return as overseas player for a third season and Richard Hunt will rejoin us for some Twenty20 action. After a few years away from the professional game, we’ve resigned all-rounder Jordon Thompson, in particular to strengthen our limited bowling stocks.
In 2030 we’d dearly love to make the knockout stages of a white-ball competition or/and get promoted back to division one of the County Championship.
Incumbent England spin bowler Dom Bess is set to leave Somerset… but why would any other county sign him?
Well, presumably because they don’t expect him to be England’s number one spinner in the long term. I mean, what is the point of signing an England player, one who will rarely be available? Of course, if Bess’ Somerset teammate Jack Leach were to displace him for England, then Bess may, ironically, have been better staying at Somerset.
Leach is the better bowler but as technically and occasionally heroically correct as he is with the bat, Bess offers a more all-round package. That said, Bess has been extremely unfortunate not to return healthier figures this summer.
Yorkshire may seem a logical move for Bess. He has already represented the county on loan however the white rose county have youngsters Jack Shutt and James Logan on their books. It would be a shame if they followed the path of Karl Carver and Azeem Rafiq. Both players could’ve been backed a bit more but ultimately departed Headingley with their careers unfulfilled.
Bess should be a good player in white-ball cricket and I’ve always thought that Leach, who has never played a T20, could do well in the format. I mean Matthew Renshaw has been known to open the bowling in the Big Bash!
Ultimately there is healthy competition for England places and that is what is prompting this move. Gone are the days of a static county market. Players are transferring all the time, whether permanently or temporarily and it’s getting harder to keep up.
After nine seasons of County Championship division one cricket under my leadership, it all came crashing to an end. There would be no last day of the season rescue job this time.
Needing to not just beat Glamorgan but thrash them in the final round of games to send them down instead of us, we just couldn’t do what we did against Derbyshire last year (Please refer to the scorecard above).
Our batting unit actually performed well. Opener Matthew Revis (1227) led the way with the likes of James Wharton and Josh Phillipe among others also contributing significantly. Our bowling unit wasn’t too bad either but the experienced duo of Ben Coad and Sam Cook, released at the end of last season, were missed. Spinner James Logan topped the charts with a healthy 67 wickets.
Sadly we finished bottom of our group in both One-Day and T20 cricket for the second consecutive season.
I’m delighted to confirm that I’ll remain in my role and look forward to helping the club regain its first division status. Joe Root has retired whilst George Hill and Jared Warner have not had their contracts renewed. Australian pacer Richard Hunt joins us for T20 cricket only.
Okay, so ‘great’ might be stretching it, we won only two white-ball games all season and fared little better in the red ball environment… but somehow we retained our place in division one by the skin of our teeth!
As is often the case, we started well, winning our first three County Championship matches. The wheels then not only came off but rolled down the hill and out of sight! Quite how our T20 then One-Day form was so bad, I have no idea. Given the improvements we’d made in recent seasons, it was extremely frustrating. Australian Josh Phillipe was a particular disappointment but to be fair, he fared little worse than anybody else. We finished bottom of our group in both white-ball competitions with just a solitary win in each format.
And so it came down to the final few games of the County Championship. The scorecard above details how young Greg Birch, with only a couple of First Class games to his name, roared to match figures off 11-87 to seemingly preserve our division one status. Sadly we collapsed to just 88 all out in pursuit of only 104 for victory. At this point and following the trauma of such an up and down match, I thought that we’d been relegated by just 16 runs. I then realised that we had one game left and it happened to be a winner takes all relegation play-off against neighbours Derbyshire, who had a 3 (It might’ve been 5) point advantage.
Joe Root was selected for only the second time in half a decade and made 51 returning to his roots as an opener. Matt Fisher (4-79), recalled after taking eleven wickets in a second XI game, restricted the hosts to only a small lead after they’d looked set for a match-defining one. James Wharton, who despite his horror show as white-ball captain had performed well (With bat and ball) in the County Championship, set the tone with 77. Josh Phillipe (50) after a quiet few innings, dug deep as we fought the opposition and the rain. It was Fisher (4-50) again who ripped through Derbyshire second time around to send them down to division two. Having sunk into the relegation zone, we’d looked doomed but a combination of youth and experience had saved us.
The emergence of a number of young pace bowlers, not least the aforementioned Birch, means that we say goodbye to Ben Coad and Sam Cook. The money saved by releasing those players allows us to invest heavily in coaching/physio facilities and crucially youth development. Josh Phillipe will return next year. The Australian played some crucial knocks in First Class cricket but will hope to demonstrate his white-ball prowess more in 2028. 26-year-old off-spinning all-rounder Oliver Price has joined the squad and will hope to make a belated professional debut.