2006 Season Review A-L

Winners, losers, ups and downs

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

Andrew McGlashan

September 26, 2006

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In the first part of the final edition of The County Week, Cricinfo takes a brief look at each county and how they have fared during 2006. To read the review of the other counties click here



Dale Benkenstein was central to Durham's survival in the first division © Getty Images
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Derbyshire

Championship 5th Div Two Pro 40 8th Div Two C&G Trophy 5th North Group Twenty20 5th North Group
Positive signs emerged from the County Ground to suggest that, perhaps, there is light at the end of a dark tunnel. They broke their four-year run without a home Championship win when they beat Somerset and were in the promotion hunt into the final month of the season. Elsewhere, it was a familiar struggle but David Houghton has forged a healthy team spirit - much improved from the troubled times which led to the mass exodus.
Player of the season Steffan Jones - a great servant with the ball, his 59 wickets was a suitable haul, and he'll be hard to replace
Rising star Gary Balance - the 16-year-old Zimbabwean hit a half-century on Pro40 debut
Disappointment Such a poor one-day season

Durham

Championship 7th Div One Pro 40 8th Div One C&G Trophy 2nd North Group Twenty20 6th North Group
Their first division survival will go down as a great escape and enables the club to build on the lessons learnt from the summer. Without their three England players - Collingwood, Harmison and Plunkett - resources were stretched but Graham Onions extended the production line of seamers. They continue to develop a group of talented local players, but wouldn't have survived without the efforts of the 'internationals' including Ottis Gibson and Gareth Breese.
Player of the season Dale Benkenstein - led from the front to cover for the loss of Paul Collingwood and saved his best till last at Headingley
Rising star Ben Harmison - has taken the batting talent that eluded his brother
Disappointment Gary Pratt - England's supersub was released before the season ended

Essex

Championship 3rd Div Two Pro 40 Winners Div 1 C&G Trophy 3rd South Group Twenty20 Semi-finals
Adapted better than most to the Pro40 with their rash of allrounders giving them a line-up that batted down to No. 11. They were within a whisker of capping the season with Championship promotion but after having it within their grasp lost out to Worcestershire. James Foster put his name back in the wicketkeeping hat for England while Darren Gough continued to deny the onset of middle age. Alastair Cook's return from national duty created a selection dilemma for Ronnie Irani with no shortage of quality batsmen but a strike bowler must be on the shopping list.
Player of the season Andy Flower - One of finest batsmen of his generation and his impact on the younger players is evident
Rising star Mark Pettini - An exciting opener in the making and Will Jefferson's departure will mean plenty of chances
Disappointment Final-day defeat to Leicestershire meant another season in the second division



Essex claimed the Pro40 title but missed out on promotion in the Championship © Getty Images
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Glamorgan

Championship 8th Div Two Pro 40 7th Div One (relegated via play-off) C&G Trophy 9th South Group Twenty20 4th Mid/West/Wales Group
Robert Croft had enough towards the end of the season, but Glamorgan's summer fizzled away long before he stepped aside. Croft couldn't have done much more - 66 Championship wickets - but a run of injuries, often to their overseas players, decimated the side and some of the youngsters didn't appear up to standard. David Hemp, the new captain, has taken on a tough role. The best news of the summer was Sophia Gardens being awarded a 2009 Ashes Test.
Player of the season Michael Powell - two double hundreds on the bounce and recapturing the form that had England interested in 2004.
Rising star Daniel Cherry - promising late season form amid the wreckage of a dire summer
Disappointment David Harrison - hasn't developed after appearing like an Academy prospect a season ago

Gloucestershire

Championship 7th Div Two Pro 40 Winners Div Two C&G Trophy 5th South Group Twenty20 Quarter-finals
The Championship was a struggle for a county without the financial clout to compete with the bigger teams, but there were hints that the one-day glories are not out of reach again. They hit form to clinch the Pro40 second division, helped by the return of Ian Harvey who spent large chunks of the season injured. Hamish Marshall was a fine overseas pro, and the county could do with two of his quality and application. Jon Lewis plugged away and eventually earned a chance in the England team.
Player of the season Alex Gidman - matured with the bat, shame his bowler is falling away
Rising star Vikram Banerjee - high hopes around Bristol for the left-arm spinner Disappointment Chris Taylor - a Championship average of 26

Hampshire

Championship 3rd Div One Pro 40 3rd Div Two (promoted via play-off) C&G Trophy 4th South Group Twenty20 5th South Group
Even with the inspirational Shane Warne they couldn't quite maintain their challenge in the Championship. Some spicy Rose Bowl surfaces continued to make life tough for the batsmen, but Michael Carberry and James Adams developed well at the top of the order. Chris Tremlett's return mid-season added another dimension to the attack and with a crop of youngsters growing under Warne's leadership, plus solid base of experienced players, the future is bright.
Player of the season John Crawley - 1737 Championship runs is impressive especially when the Rose Bowl is your home ground
Rising star James Bruce - developing into a potent new-ball bowler
Disappointment Shaun Udal - from England Test-match winner to second-team bowler

Kent

Championship 5th Div One Pro 40 5th Div 2 C&G Trophy 7th South Group Twenty20 3rd South Group
A season with no obvious progress; safety in the Championship and missing promotion in the Pro40. They struggled to bowl sides out twice on featherbed Canterbury surfaces, especially when Amjad Khan was injured, although the batting is in healthy order. The departure of David Fulton should be filled by the talented Joe Denly but some firepower with the ball is a must.
Player of the season Matthew Walker - leading run-scorer and always an ideal man for a crisis
Rising star Joe Denly - plenty of runs in the second XI and a promising end to the season
Disappointment Dwayne Bravo's Championship form - averaged 26 with the bat and 54 with the ball



It was a season of near-misses for Lancashire despite the best efforts of Mal Loye © Getty Images
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Lancashire

Championship 2nd Div One Pro 40 6th Div One C&G Trophy Runners Up Twenty20 4th North Group
The bridesmaids twice as they were second best to Sussex in the Championship and C&G Trophy. A season that promised much ends with more head scratching as to how a side chock full of quality fails to bag any silverware. The weather didn't help but that two-wicket defeat at Canterbury - ironically a match Andrew Flintoff played - proved costly. A group of youngsters including Tom Smith, Simon Marshall and Steven Croft are maturing rapidly.
Player of the season Mal Loye - what does he have to do for an England call-up?
Rising star Tom Smith - his winter in Australia could add a yard of pace and more to come with the bat
Disappointment Nathan Astle - Plenty of starts but no centuries to fill the void left by Brad Hodge's departure

Leicestershire

Championship 4th Div Two Pro 40 6th Div Two C&G Trophy 6th North Group Twenty20 Winners
More Twenty20 glory for the masters of the shortest game but that form wasn't transferred to the other one-day tournaments. Continued to struggle in the Championship where their limited resources are exposed. With promotion out of reach Jeremy Snape selflessly stood aside as youngsters were given their chance. Leicestershire will be hoping one or two develop to fill the gap that will be left by Stuart Broad's increasing international commitments.
Player of the season HD Ackerman - a run machine and superb role model for the youngsters
Rising star Stuart Broad - obvious choice, but boy he looks a prospect
Disappointment Adam Griffith - never settled, omitted from the Twenty20 final, and left early with injury

To continue reading The County Week's Season Review click here

Andrew McGlashan is editorial assistant of Cricinfo

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Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.

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