Monday, 4 January 2016

Hobden tragedy sours cricket weekend

It is always sad to read of and report on the passing of a cricketer, but the loss of Matthew Hobden, a cricketer of some talent and potential, is especially poignant.

Several commentators have suggested he was likely to play for England, something we will never know. That he was cut off considerably short of his prime, at just 22 years of age, is desperately sad and my thoughts and condolences go to his family and friends at this time.

It will take some time for things to return to normal, as we know all too well at Derbyshire, but the cricket 'family' will be there for them, as they always are.

Over in South Africa, Ben Stokes played as good an innings as one could wish to see, with admirable support from Jonathan Bairstow. Having said that, I don't think I have ever seen so average a South African attack and subsequent events have not changed my opinion of the time that the wicket was turning into a road. While their bowling badly misses Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander, there's little wrong with the home side's batting and the game looks destined for a high-scoring draw.

The British media is often guilty of blowing things up out of proportion and I don't yet think this England side is the real deal, capable of dominating the world game. In time, perhaps, though that will depend on James Anderson being adequately replaced and on Moeen Ali becoming more consistent with his spin. Both have their good days, though Anderson has a limited shelf life and Ali is not yet the force of Graeme Swann.

Elsewhere in South Africa, our very own Wes Durston scored 73 from just 31 balls for the MCC against the Western Province Cricket Association. While the attack was probably not of first-class standard, you still have to make them and to hit six sixes in an over, as Wes did, is a feat in any kind of cricket.

I hope it translates into a golden summer at home for a very good cricketer and nice man. He will be a key player for us in 2016 and may well offer crucial balance in the second half of the season, as well as all round skills in the one-day competitions.

See you soon

No comments: