Nick Sumpton’s Column: Sad scenes as Boucher retires

Mark Boucher
Mark Boucher

In an unfortunate incident during a warm-up game, the South African’s have now lost their wicket-keeper Mark Boucher for what seemed like would be the tour, but is in fact for ever, as he announced his retirement from international cricket on Tuesday.

It will be a great loss to the South African side as Boucher has been a incredible player for them over his long career. It’s a shame that his hand has been forced and Boucher hasn’t been able to call time on his career in his own way.

Such a shame it is for the South African’s that they have lost Boucher, it may aid the selection process as AB de Villiers looks likely to take over the gloves.

They could now be able to pick four seamers and a spinner, something which England don’t do, opting for a three-man pace attack alongside Graeme Swann.

In helpful conditions for seam bowlers, that would allow them to keep their quick bowlers fresh with four at their disposal and release the pressure on Tahir to tie up one end but that will all depend on whether they have the confidence not to replace Boucher’s runs lower down the order and rely on the other six batsmen to put the runs on the board.

England completed their five-match series against Australia this week and they won the series 4-0.

The 1st Test match against South Africa ends on July 23 with Yorkshire’s quarter-final to be played on July 25. That means both Tim Bresnan and Jonathan Bairstow may be available for selection, but will they be able to find their way into an already impressing side?

I thought this one-day series would have been a bit more tightly contested, but it hasn’t England have dominated from start to finish. I do however, expect the forthcoming Test series against South Africa to be a real cracker.

There will have to be some really intense cricket to match the 2005 Ashes Series which was the greatest I’ve ever witnessed, but these two teams going up against each other could provide us with some intriguing contests.

The battles go right down from 1 to 11; England’s top six against the pace attack of Steyn, Morkel and Philander. Their top six against the pace attack of Anderson, Broad, Bresnan and maybe Finn. Imran Tahir against Graeme Swann in the battle of the two spinners and the two captains Andrew Strauss and Graeme Smith.

Don’t forget the added spice of Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen being from South Africa, which will sure to get the Proteas fired up from ball one. What is for certain, is that it will be a mouth watering series of Test cricket.

The weather washed out the chance of Yorkshire doing the double over the Lancashire Lightning in the t20 competition, but Yorkshire did manage to get play in their final game of the campaign convincingly beating the Derbyshire Falcons to ensure they had a home tie in their quarter-final.

They had our very own Adam Lyth to thank, who made 78 from 51 balls at the top of the order alongside Phil Jaques as they put on a record first-wicket partnership for Yorkshire of 131.

They have since been drawn against Worcestershire Royals at Headingley in the quarter-finals with the chance of ending their curse of being one of three teams to have never played in the t20 Finals Day, which this year will be at the SWALEC Stadium in Wales. The Royals are one of the other three teams so it will be a fiercely contested tie at the end of July.

I said in a previous column that they had the side on paper to do well this year, with explosive players such as David Miller and Mitchell Starc included in the side. I also said it’s another matter of going out there and putting the performance together, and they have done that. They’ve deserved to top the group and are well placed to go on and make it to that finals day.

Where will t20 go from here though? Listening to Michael Vaughan on talksport, he was advocating a franchise system of nine teams, city based with the profits being split between the counties. For example, you’d have a ‘Leeds’ team and they would split any profit between Yorkshire and Derbyshire.

It’s just an idea, and as I’ve said before, something which I don’t think the purist cricket fan would entertain. But England is lagging behind in lucrative t20 market. Vaughan argues, and I have to agree, people want to see the big names go up against each other, and England has some of the biggest names on the world stage at the moment, people want to see Pietersen facing up to Swann, Anderson bowling to Bell and Bairstow trying to hit Finn out of the park.

Until there is a window for England players and other big hitting stars, to play in one way or another the crowds and interest will continue to fall. I’ve also mentioned before that the number of games has to be reduce if ticket prices stay as they are, to watch all home games this year would cost you in the region of £100. For the same price you could watch England for a couple of days in a Test Match.

Despite torrential rain during last week the 2nd XI managed to complete their first fixture since June 2 against Carlton Towers on Saturday. It wasn’t a result that the 2nds wanted though as they were defeated among the sea fret at North Marine Road.

It was the only game to take place of the three teams over the whole weekend, as the 1st XI’s two games were washed out, along with the 3rd XI’s tie against Scalby 2nds.

Tom Precious has looked like one the few Scarborough batsman who has been able to get to grips with the bowling attacks this season, and he made 67 against Carlton Towers on Saturday.

Another has been Ashish Kundi and he added 39 to his season total which has just notched past 100.

Nobody would have thought that in the first week of July players would just be passing the 100 run mark such has been the season we’ve had.

After finally getting some play and a result, it was very disappointing not to be on the right end of the result. We let the game slip in the different stages of each innings, firstly we let them get too many in the last 15 overs and they ended up moving past 200, and then we lost vital wickets in the middle period of our innings when we looked like we could have made a push for the target of 206.

If we could have limited them to 170 our 161 all out would have been a whole different chase with a slightly more manageable target to reach. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case and we lost by 45 runs. The 2nds will look to bounce back against Sheriff Hutton next week, if the weather stays fair.

This week the first XI entertain Driffield at North Marine Road while the 2nds travel to Sheriff Hutton.

Martin North’s 3rd XI will look to get back to action against Staithes 2nds at Scarborough College.

On Sunday the 1st XI will once again try to get their Yorkshire League Knockout tie completed at Harrogate, while the 2nds face another round-robin t20 stage against Duncombe Park and Pickering.