Extra Cover: Worcester's man for all seasons

A week in cricket by David Llewellyn
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The Independent Online
MAN IN THE MIDDLE

TOM MOODY

(Worcestershire)

Of late, Tom Moody has appeared to be redefining the meaning of an all-rounder. He bats, he bowls, he is captain of Worcestershire and, more recently, the genial Australian has been opening the batting. He has also been sounded out about his willingness to take over from David Houghton as coach of the side.

It is little wonder that a respected commentator on the game warned the Worcester gatemen to watch out for their jobs. Moody found that funny, as did his team-mates. "They enlarged a copy of the article and pinned it up in the dressing-room," he said.

The coaching job sounds more up Moody's street. "I didn't say whether I would or wouldn't do the job when the suggestion was put to me," Moody said. "The club is still assessing the way they are going to structure the coaching. I can't really do anything until it is formally put to me. But then I will have to think seriously about it."

But the 31-year-old is a man of many parts. Back home in Australia, where his father John, a retired headmaster of a private school, recently received a top civilian honour, Moody's brother, Richard, is running their joint venture, a sports wholesale business. So it is no surprise to learn that the 6ft 7in Moody is not contemplating giving up any aspect of his multiple roles at New Road.

"The important thing to me is to establish that the coaching job would not affect my captaincy and my playing role now. If it did that then it would be silly to take it on, because I have a big enough responsibility as it is. To take on that as well and to make a mess of all three would not be the right way to go."

He plans to retire as a player, probably at the end of 1998. Whether or not he takes on the additional role of coach, one thing is certain - his will be a big pair of boots to fill.

THE ERRATIC ELEVEN

Occasions on which counties have conceded 50 or more extras in an innings

1 86* Surrey v Somerset (8w, 52nb)

2= 71 Lancs v Notts (28, 16)

71 Warwicks v Glam (2, 36)

4 64 Warwicks v Hants (14, 38)

5 57 Notts v Worcs (14, 12)

6= 56 Surrey v Leics (8, 40)

56 Leics v Hants (2, 30)

8 54 Notts v Derbys (12, 26)

9 52 Leics v Notts (6, 24)

10 51 Warwicks v Middlesex (2, 16)

11 50 Surrey v Northants (7, 40)

* Believed to be a Championship record

Surrey make a habit of

being extra generous

Even allowing for the fact that no-balls are worth two runs, counting for the batting side and against the bowler's analysis, and since the start of the season that the same now applies to wide deliveries, it is startling to see how frequently extras feature prominently, particularly when batsmen have made low scores. Last season (before wides counted double) Surrey achieved an unenviable first when they conceded more than 1,000 runs in byes, leg byes, wides and no-balls. So far this season they have given away 542. It is not surprising, then, that they have also set a record this summer of 86 (see above) in one innings. That surpassed their previous highest of 79, made last summer Remarkably, the opponents then were also Somerset.

THE WEEK

AHEAD

It may be Canterbury week, but neither Kent nor Essex will be in a party mood. This is a classic 48-pointer, as the cliche might go. Both sides are in with a shout for the Championship and need every point on the run-in.

Essex will be without Nasser Hussain, and their attack looks like being without Mark Ilott yet again. They have not won a match since losing him to injury.

Kent, while keeping the services of Mark Ealham, have to kiss goodbye to Dean Headley, who will also be on Test duty. None of the top six in the Kent line-up have scored a century in the Championship this season, and on current form it would appear they will be out-batted by a run- rich Essex team.

With Glamorgan having a week off, Gloucestershire's visit to Somerset assumes greater significance. Mark Alleyne is in awesome form with bat and ball, and Jack Russell has been keeping and batting magnificently. If Mike Smith can get over his England disappointment and one or two of the youngsters show why they have been brought into the side then Gloucestershire should win what could prove to be a close game.

Durham travel to The Oval, where Surrey's season has gone into reverse. Now they have lost the services of four key men to England. Durham are in the middle of a revival and Surrey could be in for a shock.

TERMS OF THE GAME

Blueprint

Not what is printed on the side of a Tesco carrier bag, rather the master plan of the supermarket giant's former boss, Lord MacLaurin. Herein lies the future of the game. Rumours suggest that the blueprint, due to be published tomorrow, will be more of a smudge than a fudge. Players want a two-tier Championship with promotion and relegation, but their employers prefer what is believed to be the Big Mac compromise, three groups of six with play-offs and no ups and downs.

Red mist descends over Tyke's seaside shenanigans

AROUND THE GROUNDS

Stanley Park, Blackpool

This could be the only ground to have been Boycotted in every sense of the word. When Blackpool CC gave Geoff Boycott - of the Yorkist persuasion - permission to stage a joint benefit with Ian Botham in the early 1980s it was too much for the then Lancashire chairman, the mercurial Cedric Rhodes.

Boycott had overstepped the mark in coming out of his own county to raise money, and it was certainly cocking a snook to pop over the Pennines and stage something in the enemy camp. The thorny issue resulted in Lancashire boycotting Stanley Park; from 1983 until 1990 the only county cricket staged there was limited- overs stuff, two Sunday League matches in 1988 and 1989. First-class cricket was not played there again until 1991. It was during this period that Lytham was accorded first-class status.

But it is not only young Albert Ramsbottom and his parents who go to Blackpool in order to enjoy the fresh air and fun (as the famous monologue would have it). Three years ago, cricketers had a fine old time of it.

It was the year Derbyshire piled up 490 for 8 and then left Lancashire high and dry on 83 all out first time around. Lancashire gathered themselves and hit back with a record-breaking 589 in the second innings, during which time Jason Gallian helped himself to the record for the slowest century in Championship cricket, his 118 occupying 453 minutes. But it was all in vain as Derbyshire won by three wickets.

Lancashire's record against this week's visitors, Warwickshire, is not good at Blackpool. Warwickshire have won two and drawn the other three Championship matches at the ground since the Second World War.

Top of the form

Most runs and wickets in their last five Championship innings

Bowlers Wkts Last five (most recent on right)

1 M Smith (Gloucs) 19 5-23 1-42 3-36 6-47 4-59

2 S Brown (Durham) 18 4-57 1-70 4-120 4-63 5-58

3 K James (Hants) 17 1-52 2-58 5-44 8-49 1-49

4 P Martin (Lancs) 17 8-32 5-47 3-61 0-25 1-41

5 A Sheriyar (Worcs) 16 3-118 1-47 6-19 4-44 2-28

6 A Donald (Warwicks) 15 5-98 0-47 2-52 4-11 4-40

7 K Evans (Notts) 15 3-115 6-91 2-35 2-20 2-52

8 M Robinson (Sussex) 15 3-54 4-42 1-48 3-142 4-53

9 G Rose (Som) 15 3-82 3-79 3-22 2-81 4-75

10 M Betts (Durham) 14 7-29 2-25 2-58 2-48 1-20

Batsmen Runs Last five (most recent on right)

1 A Stewart (Surrey) 412 0; 11; 271*; 32; 98

2 S Young (Gloucs) 378 48; 38; 3; 237; 52

3 N Johnson (Leics) 370 72*; 117*; 76*; 14; 91

4 M Hayden (Hants) 365 63; 150; 58; 0; 94

5 M Dowman (Notts) 345 19; 96; 149; 19; 62

6 M Ealham (Kent) 342 122; 15; 10; 139; 56

7 M Alleyne (Gloucs) 329 21; 0; 42; 97; 169

8 D Lehmann (Yorks) 311 3; 163*; 86; 11; 48

9 S James (Glam) 303 82*; 8; 26*;25; 162

10 S Law (Essex) 290 55; 14; 45; 1; 175

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