The County Week - August 22-28 August 29, 2006

Kirtley's day and Schofield's chance

Cricinfo takes a look back at the week of county action and some of the performances that caught the eye

Cricinfo takes a look back at the week of county action and some of the performances that caught the eye.



James Kirtley bowled Sussex to the C&G Trophy after a difficult season © Getty Images
Innings of the week - David Hussey, 164 v Kent
While a group of Australian cricketers have been trekking around the Queensland bush bonding themselves ahead of the Ashes, there are still plenty knocking around county cricket and making their presence felt. David Hussey had a slow start to the season, but he now has four successive centuries at Trent Bridge. His 164 put Nottinghamshire on course for a vital victory in their push to avoid relegation the season after being crowned champions. For a while, as the week's dramatic events in London unfolded, it appeared that Hussey could have been playing for an International XI against England in the Twenty20. As it turned that wasn't required, but if he continues to churn out runs a real international call-up is still not out of the equation.

Bowling of the week - James Kirtley, 5 for 27 against Lancashire
Winning a Lord's final for your team is the ultimate for many players, especially those who never quite crack international cricket, but you get the feeling it meant more to James Kirtley than most. Last season his career seemed in doubt after he was reported for a suspect action and he spent the winter remodelling the tools of his trade. But it wasn't just his action that needed rebuilding, but confidence too and that took longer. He hasn't been a fixture in the Sussex team until the second half of the season, but picked the grand day out at Lord's to finally put his troubles behind him. In his first spell he removed Lancashire's big three - Mal Loye, Nathan Astle and Stuart Law - before sealing the trophy for Sussex with his final two leg-befores.

Team of the week - Sussex
Sussex's Kirtley-inspired triumph could just be the start of a memorable finish to the season. Attention will now turn to the Championship where they are level on points with Lancashire, and both have three games to go, while the Pro40 isn't out of reach. Saturday's win showed what makes them such a dangerous team as they scrapped all the way, despite most half-time predictions that it was Lancashire's match. Any team that Chris Adams leads will know how to fight and when you throw in the wiles of Mushtaq Ahmed no situation is hopeless. Mushtaq played his part with 10 overs for 19 runs but, although Kirtley took the headlines, the Sussex team spirit was etched all over their victory.



Chris Schofield has the chance to prove his worth to Surrey © Getty Images
A welcome return
For a man who won two Test caps for England to be reduced to earning a living as a painter means something has gone dramatically wrong. That is the tale of Chris Schofield, the legspinner, who was released by Lancashire at the end of the 2004 season and proceeded to take them to court for unfair dismissal. Since then he has moved between various county second elevens, trying is hand with Sussex, Derbyshire and most recently Surrey. Now there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon that his playing days may resume, thanks to a couple of injuries at The Oval. Anil Kumble has been forced back to India with a shoulder problem and Ian Salisbury is hampered by a knee injury. Suddenly, Surrey were down to one main spinner - Nayan Doshi - and wanted some cover. They signed Schofield for the rest of this season - he debuted against Yorkshire in the Pro40 - and he has four weeks to show he is worth a contract. For the time, at least, the painting can wait.

England watch
Sajid Mahmood takes 3 for 16 in the C&G final...Geriant Jones hits 49 in the Pro40...Monty Panesar takes five wickets in the match against Leicestershire...while Stuart Broad takes 4 for 63 in the second innings before picking up the Cricket Writers' award the same day.

Andrew McGlashan is editorial assistant of Cricinfo