Darby day, balls, bails and feet!

If lager companies did ‘views in sport’ then probably… the best in the world. (My Adelaide and other Australian readers may want to take me back to the Adelaide Oval to prove otherwise!)

Today is derby day (not the horse race, that was yesterday) and the derby match between Middlesex and Surrey in the penultimate round of league matches in the Royal London one day cup.

But I ask why is everything that’s written ‘derby’ pronounced ‘Darby’? Must confuse non-English speaking people no end! And why only ‘derby’ why not other words containing ‘er’ …someone somewhere should know!

As ever all the cricket views and thoughts are contemporaneous and not written with the benefit of hindsight…so here we go.

The Lord’s Pavilion is heaving as you would expect on a glorious sunny summers day at the start of play.

Both sides need to win this match as the group is so close but Surrey are 8th out of nine whilst Middlesex are 6th. Net run rate will be key so the winners need to win in a one-sided way! I fear Surrey have too much to do and Middlesex can be in the mix for third place and in the quarter finals (which are not strictly quarter finals as only 6 teams can qualify!). Sussex are probably out of the running in the South as are Glamorgan whilst Kent and Hampshire make the running and could well have the top two spots taken.

Middlesex get off to a poor start losing Gubbins without scoring- although he’s apparently the Middlesex player of the month (for May!) Good job it’s June! Morkel playing his second game for Surrey takes the wicket.

After 30 mins, Middlesex reach 43/1 at 5.6 rpo, Morkel is on the money with a lot of playing and missing and the occasional run; forecast to be just shy of 300 but after an hour the pace slows and it’s 62/2 at 4.8.

Curran T (or currant as my predictive text wants to call him) is back from the IPL and into the attack with a new hairstyle including a streak (shades of Anderson past come to mind c 1999). Any early pyrotechnics have vanished and the forecast reduced to 270/280 but probably not enough.

By 90 mins play the wheels have come off for Middlesex as wickets fall and runs dry up 85/4 at 4.5. The pace attack and Curran 2-14 at present mean 250 will be a good score. Surrey will need to catch the express train to increase their NRR if they want to shoot up the table.

After 2 hours and 115/4 at 4.2, runs have slowed to a trickle but Dernbach is expensive and bowling too many wides . Surrey need to replace him. Only Stirling has made any resistance or score and nears his 50.

Wickets fall and as the adage has it, runs dry up as they struggle to 145/5 off 35…250 will be a marvel!

Sitting in front of the Pavilion provides another dimension from the overcrowded balcony and just adds to the curious nature of Lord’s- the balcony overcrowded and noisy (not everyone following the cricket but talking about everything else in loud voices so that no one else can concentrate); the church like silence of the Long Room where every sound is magnified to the embarrassment of the emitter; and the front of the Pavilion behind bowlers arm…a sight to savour!

I note that the two latest Test countries of Ireland and Afghanistan have their flags flying from the Nursery End but with insufficient flag poles South Africa and WI have been removed- I wonder whose decision that was and how they made it? Names in a hat?

Bowling full has its merits which Surrey are reaping with Curran T -piston arms flailing- keeps striking. Middlesex reach 170/7 at 4.2 off 41; Stirling made 67 and was solid in more ways than one!

Curran has 3-18 off 7 overs and 230 will be a good score from here. Surrey’s out cricket has got a bit loose easing the batting pressure with Stoneman dropping a sitter in over 49 but Burns redeemed the situation next ball. Slowish over rate and all out for 234 after 50 overs. Dernbach 2/57, Curran 4/33 – see what I mean? Middlesex probably 30 to 40 short.

Bails, feet and ball all in the air except for Burns! When a reverse sweep/paddle goes wrong, you look a …

Surrey get off to a shaky start and are 38/2 after 30 mins off 7.1 overs but ahead of the run rate. Stoneman is run out by his partner (Jacks) for 18 so…in the last week, dropped by England, dropped a catch today and run out by your partner…when it’s not your day/week, it’s not your day/week- as Blair said, things can only get better.

They struggle to reach 61/3 off 12 after an hour with Foakes and Burns needing to perform a rescue, which they do reaching 102/3 off 20 at 5.1, ahead of the required rate and Duckworth/Lewis.

Foakes seems to be playing off the front foot more than previously or that I’d noticed so far this season, perhaps that explains some of the odd fields set for him. Burns still bobs and weaves before each delivery and if these two can…

After 2 hours they reach 135/4 off 29 at 4.7 ahead of the rate required. Burns tries to be too clever and a reverse sweep/paddle doesn’t come off and he’s bowled as seen above. Ball, bails and keepers feet all in the air at the same time! Burns makes 40 and out comes Pope – spoken of as the next English pope (there hasn’t been one for centuries) but there’s not enough runs to spare for him to make one today.

But on they plod, slowly at first so much that the rates needed and current begin to converge but after a while, it becomes increasingly obvious that Surrey will win.

Foakes makes a fine 80+ and Pope a half century to bring Surrey home. Have they done enough? If other results go in their favour on Wednesday in the final round and they annihilate Glamorgan then all things are possible. I have my doubts but who knows? And as for Middlesex three wins and four losses mean another poor 50 over campaign with only Gloucester away to try and retrieve something. Shame really as they have good players in the squad but it doesn’t just seem to gel.

But I think I’ll choose the ‘battle of the bridge’ as it’s been weakly marketed by Essex who take on Kent – it should really be the battle of the ‘Dartford Crossing’ but it doesn’t has the same ring! Perhaps they’re trying to build on the Nordic noir of excellent TV series ‘The Bridge’ but Essex v Kent has always been a bit of a Saga! (Aficionados will get the pun!)

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