Saturday, 30 August 2008

Big day

But to be fair it could all end in anti-climax.

I can't see anything in this final day apart from Chris Rogers attempt on the club batting record and it would be a real shame if he were denied a fair crack at it by running out of partners.

Waggy is a good batsman and closing in on the mini-double (500 runs, 50 wickets) but he is vulnerable early and that would just leave Charl Langeveldt and Nayan Doshi to keep Rogers company, neither of whom one would have total confidence in. The South African can hit a ball but with that style the bowlers always have a chance and Doshi, while a cricketer of some merit, is not a batsman I'd put my mortgage on.

There's a comment on 606 saying that Rogers is a "flat track bully" which is patently unfair. Very few batsmen make big scores consistently on tracks favouring bowlers and it could be argued that Rogers has made 60's and 70's this year when the conditions favoured them and which were possibly of greater merit. I cannot think of any batting record that has been set on an awkward track and the trick is to cash in when the conditions are in your favour.

"Drink at the well". That was the advice to a fledgling batsman from his senior colleague many years ago when he suggested he might get out having made his century. There are plenty of times when form is a desert and runs hard to come by so batsmen should capitalise on the opportunities afforded by the occasional docile track to boost their average. To be brutally honest, yesterday's track has been the same for the batsmen of both sides but only two have cashed in and a batsman should be applauded for having the technique and concentration, not to mention stamina, to do so.

Rogers is seventh on the all time top scorer list this morning with the following above him:

Stan Worthington 238 not out v Sussex 1937
Chris Adams 239 v Hampshire 1996
Kim Barnett - 239 not out v Leicestershire 1988
Peter Bowler 241 not out v Hampshire 1992
Pat Vaulkhard 264 v Nottinghamshire 1946
George Davidson 274 v Lancashire 1896

Curious to think that, resuming on 237 Rogers needs only one boundary to leapfrog from seventh to joint third.

Interestingly Pat Vaulkhard's challenge for the record was the only time in over 120 innings that he ever passed the century mark, being only an occasional school holiday player. Drink at the well, indeed. He was a highly entertaining, front of the wicket batsman, as were all of the above, although Peter Bowler was more a steady accumulator.

I always hoped the record would go in the early 1980's when Peter Kirsten was in his prime and runs flowed from his bat. Six times he passed the double century mark, three of them unbeaten. Had we been playing four and not three day cricket at the time, I'm convinced Kirsten would have set a record that would never have been broken at Chesterfield in 1978 against Glamorgan. The required declaration stopped him in his tracks when the bowling was disappearing to all parts and another hour or so would have taken him past 300, let alone the Davidson record. He finished 206 not out but on days like that Kirsten's bat must have looked like a barn door to bowlers.

Kirsten didn't so much drink at the well as guzzle it dry. I really hope that Chris Rogers does the same today.

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