Associate player roundup from Round 3 of the Bob Willis Trophy

Isaac Lockett reports on the action during a rain-affected matchday 3 of the Bob Willis Trophy with a specific focus on Associate nation players.

Ian Holland USA
Ian Holland of USA plays a shot during the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 match between USA and Oman at TU Cricket Stadium on 6 February 2020 in Nepal

Round three of the Bob Willis Trophy means that the English counties are around the halfway mark in the competition. With there being three groups but only the two teams who have collected the most points going through to the final every single point is crucial. But alongside seeing which teams come out on top, there is another opportunity to see how Associate players contribute to their team’s performance. Every game during this round of the Bob Willis Trophy was affected by rain which means that players would have to come to grips with different conditions compared to the previous two rounds of fixtures.   

Roelof van der Merwe (Somerset / The Netherlands) 

Following Roelof van der Merwe’s strong performance with the bat against Northamptonshire, he was part of the Somerset team that to Edgbaston to face Warwickshire. With Warwickshire captain Will Rhodes winning the toss and electing to bat, it would be up to Somerset’s bowlers to try to restrict the scoring in the opening innings of the game. van der Merwe’s left-arm orthodox spin was not called upon by Somerset captain Tom Abel during the Warwickshire innings.   

van der Merwe was out for 4 during Somerset’s first innings as he edged a ball from the impressive Oliver Hannon-Dalby to wicket-keeper Michael Burgess. This was the last bit of major action for van der Merwe in the game as he was not required to bowl during Warwickshire’s second innings.  

Josh Davey (Somerset / Scotland)

Along with van der Merwe, Josh Davey was part of the Somerset team that faced off against Warwickshire. Davey would be looking to maintain his exceptional form with the ball after impressing with the new ball two games in a row. Once again Davey shared the duties with Craig Overton and the pair bowled exceptionally under overcast conditions. Davey, despite not picking up a wicket, consistently challenged batsmen with another impressive spell to finish the first innings with figures of 11-2-22-0. 

Davey was then at the crease when Somerset declared their first innings with a lead of 292 runs, after coming in into bat at number 11 he scored 5 off 8 balls and remained not out. Moving into Warwickshire’s second innings, Davey once again opened the bowling for his team and straight away created momentum for his Somerset. During his second over, the Scot clean bowled Rob Yates with a beautiful delivery as can be seen in the clip above shared by Cricket Scotland on Twitter. Davey once again bowled fantastically and maintained his tight line; challenging the batsman’s defences and giving them little chance to score. During the 23rd over of the Warwickshire innings, Davey picked up two more wickets; first up was Michael Burgess who looked solid for his 13 runs and was definitely an important wicket for Somerset. Just one ball later, Davey picked up his third when Tim Bresnan edged another well pitched delivery into the hands of James Hildreth. Unfortunately, Davey and Somerset’s push for victory was halted by rain and with the match drawn. Davey finished with the figures of 12-5-21-3.  

Gareth Berg (Northamptonshire / Italy)

This season the runs and the wickets scored by Gareth Berg have a little more meaning than usual. During both the Bob Willis Trophy and upcoming Vitality Blast, every run and wicket that Berg takes will see a donation of money made to the Lord Tavener’s Runs and Wickets for Change charity campaign. When talking about what the campaign means to him, Berg was quoted by as saying ‘It is really important to me that the next generation is given access and opportunities to play sports and smile, no matter what’. If you would like to find out more about the campaign and find out how to donate click here.

During this round, Berg and Northamptonshire welcomed Worcestershire to The County Ground. With Northamptonshire winning the toss and elected to bowl first, Berg quickly found himself in the action in the field. Berg, fielding in the slip cordon took a good catch off the bowling of Nathan Buck to mark the end of Daryl Mitchell’s innings. The Italy international then was brought into the bowling attack and got the important wicket of Brett D’Oliveira. D’Oliveira looked good at the crease with some sublime shots, however, a well-directed back of the length ball resulted in the wicket with Ben Curran taking the catch. Despite a fantastic start with the ball, In a similar pattern of play to the teams last game against Somerset, Northamptonshire’s bowlers were then met with resistance this time in the form of Riki Wessels. Wessels, who played in the 2018 HK T20 Blitz for champions Hung Hom JD Jaguars, played a stunning innings; in an innings of 88 from 78 balls, which included 12 fours, Wessels slowed the Northamptonshire momentum. Berg bowled well during the innings but fell foul to some of Wessells superb timing to finish with figures of 14-2-58-1.   

Coming out to bat at number 8, Berg played a vital inning for Northamptonshire to help the team come close to Worcestershire’s first innings total. Berg scored a fantastically measured 45, which included 5 boundaries, to help the team finish almost with parity after the first innings. Berg ran fantastically between the wickets, but he also gave a fantastic example of how to bat with a lower order batsman as the senior batsman. The Italian international used his experience to control the strike whilst batting with number 11 batsman Jack White before Berg edged a ball behind from Joe Leach to wicketkeeper Ben Cox. 

During Worcestershire’s second innings, Berg bowled with good control without the reward of a wicket. During his 16 overs, Berg only conceded 45 runs and bowled an impressive 7 maidens. Despite not picking up a wicket, there were a lot of positives in the way that Berg bowled. 

Berg was then able to get a start during Northamponshire’s second innings but was unable to capitalise on it. Berg scored 18 before bowled by the impressive Josh Tongue. Although it must be said that Berg looked a lot more settled and confident at the crease compared to a number of the Northamptonshire batsman. Northamptonshire lost the game but it was another impressive performance for the Italian international.

Berg also brought up the impressive milestone of reaching 5,000 career first class runs during the game which is a huge achievement.    

Timm van der Gugten (Glamorgan / The Netherlands)

Timm van der Gugten retained his place in Glamorgan’s matchday squad following his impressive performance during his first match of the season against Worcestershire. Glamorgan welcomed Gloucestershire to Sophia Gardens Cardiff and was asked to bat first by Gloucestershire captain Chris Dent. van der Gugten impressed with the bat last week scoring some important lower-order runs, however, this week the feat was not to be repeated. The number 10 batsman got off the mark with a single, before a ball from David Payne hit van der Gugten pads and was adjudged LBW. 

van der Gugten opened the bowling for the team during Gloucestershire ‘s first innings and was able get the important wicket of Chris Dent early with the batsman edging a ball behind for wicketkeeper Chris Cooke to take the catch. With Gloucestershire then forming a good recovery after two early wickets, the Dutchman then picked up the wicket of Graeme van Buuren who was batting well. van der Gugten bowled a fantastic delivery that drew the batsman into a shot only for the ball to come back into the batsman and displace the bails. van der Gugten finished with figures of 11-4-24-2 and bowled with exceptional control. 

Moving into Glamorgan’s second innings and van der Gugten played an innings of class as once again he scored late order runs for his team. The number 10 batsman dug in to ensure that Glamorgan faced reduced chances of being bowled out and was able to contribute to the teams final total at the same time. Batting for 103 minutes, van der Gugten faced 86 balls scoring 30 runs as the batsman along with Cooke steered Glamorgan past the 150 run mark and looked settled at the crease. Eventually both teams agreed to bring the game to a close and agreed to settle for the draw.               

Cameron Steel (Durham / USA)

Cameron Steel was again part of the Durham team that travelled to the Fischer County Ground to play Leicestershire. Steel’s unfortunate lean run with the bat continued as he was only able to score 1 before he edged a ball off the bowling of Gavin Griffiths to be caught at first slip by Hassan Azad.

With both teams looking to create a result during the rain-interrupted match, Durham forfeited their second innings meaning that Steel wouldn’t be needed with the bat for the rest of the game. However, Steel was given centre stage in the game once more as he was brought on to bowl. Steel’s leg-spin broke an impressive partnership between Sam Evans and Colin Ackermann. Steel picked up the wicket of Sam Evans, with Alex Lees taking the catch    

Dieter Klein (Leicestershire / Germany)

Dieter Klein has been in tremendous form for Leicestershire at the start of the Bob Willis Trophy and has provided clear evidence as to why he has become such an important part of the team’s bowling attack. Opening the bowling, along with Tom Taylor, Klein claimed the early wicket of Sean Dickson with a wide ball that tempted the Durham opening batsman to play at the ball only to edge behind to wicket-keeper Harry Swindells. Klein continued to bowl well during Durham’s first innings despite not picking up another wicket and finished with figures of 15-0-57-1. 

With both teams then forfeiting innings, Klein was not needed to bowl again during the match. Klein also did not feature with the bat for his team meaning that his cameo during this game was short. Despite only having one innings to show the world his talent during this game, Klein once again bowled exceptionally and continued his fine form.     

Colin Ackermann (Leicestershire /  The Netherlands) 

Ackermann won the toss and elected to bowl first. His decision was initially vindicated as Dieter Klein got the early wicket of Sean Dickson. Ackermann one again brought himself on to bowl, but with the success that Ackermann has been having with the ball so far this season, there is an argument that he could have bowled more. Ackermann bowled 5 tight overs, finishing with figures of 5-1-17-0. During the first innings, Ackermann also took two catches to help the team break important partnerships. First, Ackermann took the catch off the bat of David Beddingham to see the batsman depart for 96; as he edged the ball off the bowling of Tom Taylor. Will Davis then elicited an edge off the bat of Jack Burnham which Ackermann took well at second slip as the ball was travelling quickly. 

With Leicestershire forfeiting their first innings then Durham forfeiting their second, Ackermann’s next involvement of the game would be with the bat during the teams run chase. Ackermann batted fantastically well and before the rain ruined what promised to be an exciting conclusion gave the team a good chance of chasing down Durham’s total. The Dutch international came in at number 4 and looked to give impetus to the innings. Striking 9 fours in his innings Ackermann really took to chase to Durham, as he maintained a strike rate over 100. Ackermann batted beautifully and once again looked in fine form which will be exciting for Leicestershire fans going forward. Who knows what may have happened if the rain had stayed away but excitement was guaranteed while Ackermann was at the crease.    

Ian Holland (Hampshire / USA) 

Ian Holland (main photo, batting in Nepal during CWCL2) is having a Bob Willis Trophy to remember for Hampshire. The American international must have been one of the first names on the team sheet as Hampshire and Surrey met at the extremely scenic Arundel Castle. Holland was given the new ball after Surrey won the toss and elected to bat. Holland, with his right-arm medium pace, was able to help his team off to the perfect start with three quick wickets. Holland’s first wicket was that of Ryan Patel, then bowled a fantastic ball that moved away from Scott Borthwick finding the batsman’s edge which carried through to wicket-keeper Lewis McManus. Holland’s next wicket was that of Mark Stoneman who was hit on the pads from another accurate delivery from Holland and was adjudged LBW by the umpire. The final wicket of Holland’s early flurry of wickets was that of Jason Roy who Holland struck on the pads with an inswinging delivery without playing a shot. Later during Surrey’s first innings, Holland was brought back into the bowling attack. Once again, Holland proved he is in fantastic bowling rhythm this season and deserves all of the plaudits he receives. The bowler picked up the wickets of the well-set Laurie Evans and Jamie Smith as both batsmen were struck on the pads and were out LBW.  Holland finished with outstanding figures of 20-7-60-6 and which was the all-rounder’s best first-class bowling figures.   

Holland’s batting performance during Hampshire’s first innings was unable to really get started as he was out for 6 after being clean bowled by Matt Dunn. After Holland’s dismissal, the Hampshire over was quickly over with the team being bowled out for 298. Holland once again opened the bowling for the team and was able to maintain his habit for picking up wickets which developed during the first innings. Holland picked up the wicket of Will Jacks, with the allrounder striking the Surrey batsman on the pads.

Holland’s performance was one of the highlights of match day three of the Bob Willis Trophy and should take a lot of positives from the performance.     

Brad Wheal (Hampshire / Scotland)

Brad Wheal was another player who was making his debut performance of the season, as the bowler came into Hampshire’s squad against Surrey. Wheal bowled the first over of the game, opening the bowling for the team and took a wicket during a fantastic opening partnership with Ian Holland. Wheal took the early wicket of Will Jacks, as he struck Jacks on the pads in front of the stumps with the umpire raising the finger. Wheal finished with figures of 15-5-60-1.

Wheal was bowled for 1 to be the last man out for Hampshire when he was clean bowled by Dunn. The dismissal meant that Wheal quickly had to refocus as he was once again given the new ball. If Wheal’s first innings bowling performance was anything to go by, it was clear he was in a good rhythm. This good rhythm proved to be crucial for Hampshire, as the opening bowler was able to remove both Surrey openers in quick succession. First, Wheal got the wicket of Ryan Patel with wicketkeeper Lewis McManus taking the catch, then Mark Stoneman with Tom Alsop taking the catch. Wheal bowled with sublime line and length and used the conditions to his advantage to finish the fantastic figures of 8-5-11-2.   

Wheal should be extremely happy with this first game of the Bob Willis Trophy and should be looking to build on his first outing in the upcoming games.  

Fredrick Klaassen (Kent / The Netherlands)

Dutch International Fredrick Klaassen played his first game of the season as Kent faced off against Middlesex at The Spitfire Ground. Klaassen was the second change bowled introduced as Kent bowled first looking to restrict Middlesex from developing a large first-innings total. The Dutch international really impressed with the ball and bowled with good pace, precision and skill. Klassen’s first wicket was of Middlesex opener Sam Robson with the wicket being completed by a good catch from Daniel Bell-Drummond, and then showed good composure to take a return catch off his own bowling to take the wicket of Martin Andersson. Klaassen’s wicket-taking ability continued to show when the bowler bowled a good delivery which John Simpson edged behind which was caught spectacularly by a diving Ollie Robinson. Klaassen’s final wicket was that of Miguel Cummings, with the bowler hitting Cummings’ off-stump with a brilliant piece of bowling. Klaassen finished with figures of 20-6-44-4 with the wicket of Cummings rounding up a fantastic first innings performance for the Dutch international. 

Klaassen remained the not out batsman as Kent’s first innings came to an end. Coming in at number 10, Klaassen remained 0* off 9 balls before the final wicket fell. During Middlesex’s second innings it seemed as if the condition of the wicket had changed and that it had become better for batting. Klaaseen bowled 7 overs but did not pick up a wicket. As the game progressed into the games final stages, Klaassen was not required to bat for his team but overall the Dutch international had a good first outing in the Bob Willis Trophy.     

Delray Rawlins (Sussex / Bermuda)

Prior to Sussex’s match again Essex, Delray Rawlins spoke to The Royal Gazette about the season so far and what life has been line following the resumption of professional cricket in England. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the 2020 cricket season will forever remain unique; however, Rawlins is clearly happy to be back playing cricket as he described that ‘It’s been a bit strange starting this late … But (it’s) nice to be back and out there with the boys.’ During the previous round of fixtures in the Bob Willis Trophy, Sussex was defeated for the first time this season against Kent. However, the result does not appear to have created a loss in confidence with Rawlins describing that ‘As a team, we obviously started well, but it was disappointing losing in that fashion last weekend … But with the team we’ve got, everyone is hungry and we are looking to put it right this weekend’. 

With the desire to bounce back at home against Essex, Sussex was first tasked with putting up a first-innings total. Rawlins, who came in at number 7, was unable to really get a start for his team. The batsman was out in an unlucky style as he attempted a sweep off off-spin bowler Simon Harmer, only for the ball to ricochet off his pad, balloon up in the air and straight into the hands of Alastair Cook. 

Rawlins has been called on with the ball more than Sussex fans have been used to during the Bob Willis Trophy campaign, again impressing with his left-arm orthodox bowling delivering 5 tight overs for his team only further proving Rawlin’s versatility as a player. 

During Sussex’s second innings, Rawlins looked like a player who was rediscovering his form with a fluid and enthralling knock. Once again coming in at number 7, the left hander looked to counter attack against the pressure that the Essex bowlers had developed. Rawlins scored 40 off 42 balls in an innings which consisted of 6 boundaries and 2 maximums in what was a real highlight of the game. Cricketing traditionalists may look at the innings and say that the batsman got a start and therefore should have occupied the crease for longer, however, the game has changed and with enigmas such as Rawlins he knows how he plays and it is fantastic to get a glimpse of what appeared to be the batsman refinding his form. 

Rawlins bowled just the one over during Essex’s run chase in the final innings and only went for two runs. Despite the loss for Sussex, it must be a huge relief for fans to have seen Rawlins back to his free-scoring self.   

Ryan ten Doeschate (Essex / The Netherlands) 

After missing Essex’s previous match, Ryan ten Doeschate once again came into the team for the county’s game against Sussex. The right-arm medium-fast bowling of ten Doeschate was not required during the Sussex innings which meant that attention switched to his performance with the bat. ten Doeschate scored 13 runs coming in at number 5 and got a start, however, was unable to really capitalise on it when he was caught at slip by Phil Salt off the bowling of Tom Haines.   

To continue an unusually quiet game for ten Doeschate, the Dutch international was not required to bowl during Sussex’s second innings. Then during Essex’s final run chase the batsman was only able to make 12 before trying to take on the impressive George Garton but was only able to find Aaron Thomason at deep square leg. 

Round three of the Bob Willis trophy, despite its rain delays provided lots of opportunities for Associate nation players to provide examples of the talent that they bring to the English county system. Ian Holland was arguably the standout playing during this round of matches but the many good performances really show the talent that the emerging game possesses.

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