In spite of the rain, there have been many noteworthy performances in the LV= County Championship over the past week with 11 batsman hitting centuries and 12 bowlers taking five-wicket hauls.
Huw Waters returned the week’s best bowling figures courtesy of his seven for 53 in the first innings of Glamorgan’s narrow defeat to Hampshire, while Stuart Meaker took six for 39 for Surrey against Worcestershire. Alan Richardson celebrated being crowned as one of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year by taking 10 for 128 in the same match, with Graham Onions also taking 10 wickets in Durham’s match against Middlesex – including clean bowling England captain Andrew Strauss in both innings.
Of the 11 batsmen to have scored centuries in largely difficult conditions, Rikki Clarke and Darren Maddy shone with a near-club-record eighth-wicket stand at Liverpool, and there were important innings from Ravi Bopara (117 not out) against Yorkshire and Phil Jaques (126 in the same match against Essex).
It is Nick Compton though who takes this week’s award, as much in recognition of his excellent start to the 2012 season as for his 204 from 323 balls in Somerset’s dominant performance at Trent Bridge. The 28 year-old added 216 for the second wicket with Arul Suppiah (124) and a further 217 with James Hildreth (102 not out) for the third wicket before Somerset declared on 445 for two in reply to Nottinghamshire’s paltry Chris Read-inspired first innings total of 162.
What made this innings all the more remarkable was that it was not even his highest score of the season to date as he had hit 236 against Cardiff MCCU earlier this month. Overall his 2012 first-class batting average stands at the impressive figure of 134.17 and he is well on the way to 1000 first-class runs in a calendar month if he can make the small matter of 195 in Somerset’s upcoming match against Lancashire.
Things have not always been this easy for Compton, as; in spite of being a talented all-round sportsman and the grandson of Denis Compton; he was forced to leave his first county club Middlesex at the start of 2010 after growing frustrated at the lack of first-team opportunities following three barren summers. Fortunately, the move west to Somerset appears to have been a catalyst for improvement in all aspects of his game. Not only did he mark 2011 with his best season to date, but he has also spent a brief, but successful, spell in Zimbabwe playing for Mashonaland Eagles and has begun pursuing what looks likely to be a successful post-playing career in journalism.
The end of his playing career is something that is looking increasingly distant at the moment, however, and he could yet find himself as the latest South Africa-born batsmen – he was born in Durban and moved to England as a teenager – to represent England at the highest level.
© Cricket World 2012