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Somerset all-rounder takes early MVP lead.
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Somerset’s Lewis Gregory produced an inspiring performance to take top spot in the PCA Most Valuable Player Rankings and help his side fightback against Kent to claim a dramatic victory.
The game was in the balance going into the final innings with Kent chasing 206, but the Somerset all-rounder worked his magic with the ball to take a staggering 5-18 and end with 48.53 MVP points. Gregory was a key figure in the 2018 Overall PCA MVP Rankings, finishing fourth and has now started this campaign in the same vein.
With four different leaders over the course of four days, Gregory’s fourth innings heroics have placed him ahead of the chasing pack with Joe Clarke, Sam Northeast and Tom Taylor all topping the Rankings over the course of the opening four days.
The MVP formula was designed by the players to identify the match-winners and key influencers of matches throughout the domestic and international season.
The innovation provides a more rigorous analysis of player performances than traditional batting and bowling averages. For example, runs gain more points if they are scored quickly or in low-scoring contests and top order wickets are judged more valuable than those that fall later. Catches, run-outs and stumpings are also accounted for as well as bonus points for captains and players who are on the victorious side.
The player who tops the Overall County MVP Rankings at the end of the season receives a £10,000 reward.
England Test captain Joe Root is just behind Gregory in the standings after his match-saving 130 not out against Nottinghamshire.
Notts looked well placed to take the win on the final day after some excellent batting from their own English contingent, but it was Root who ended as MVP with 41.32 points rescuing the game from a tricky position on day four.
On his Championship debut for Nottinghamshire, Clarke certainly put his best case forward for a potential England call-up this summer after his sublime debut against Root’s Yorkshire. The 22-year-old scored 112 in the first innings before a declaration in the second innings saw him just three short of consecutive hundreds, finishing on 97 not out.
His efforts with the bat across both innings left him with 35.93 MVP points and sixth in the Overall Rankings.
Ravi Bopara’s brave batting display couldn’t stop his side slumping to an innings defeat in their opening fixture against Hampshire. With wickets tumbling around him, the all-rounder scored 144 with the bat and was only dismissed once while he also claimed two wickets with the ball and a catch to finish with 41.22 points.
Hampshire’s dominance was a result of several big game performances from the team, which has seen Fidel Edwards, Kyle Abbott and Northeast earn places in the top 10 of the Overall Rankings. However, Bopara earned the MVP due to a superb individual display in a poor team performance.
Taylor was the standout performer in Division Two as Leicestershire defeated Sussex in Hove. The seam bowler took career best match figures of 10-122 to end the first round of fixtures with 40.10 MVP points. The 24-year old also added a valuable 33 with the bat from his only innings to put him above the rest.
A key component of the MVP formula is rewarding players plying their trade in the top tier of red-ball cricket meaning MVP points gained in Division Two are worth 20% less than Division One.
Middlesex had MVP, Dawid Malan to thank for their drawn game against Northamptonshire after their captain hit a fabulous 160 not out to allay fears of an opening round defeat after a first innings deficit of 174-runs.
Having been made to follow on, the left-hander will have given selectors another player to think about after proving he can occupy the crease for long periods of time finishing with 32.44 points.
The final fixture in Division Two saw Matt Critchley edge out teammate Harvey Hosein to MVP with three crucial wickets on day four for victory. A performance which included a half-century, Critchley ended the match with 23.06 points.
During round two, all 18 counties will take to the field for the first time with Surrey starting their title defence at home to an Essex side who will be desperate to bounce back from their opening fixture defeat.
After their promotion last season, Warwickshire will get their opportunity to register some points on the board next out as they start their 2019 campaign at home to Kent.
Relegated sides Lancashire and Worcestershire have had to wait until round two for their first chance of redemption with the Red Rose heading to Lord’s to face Middlesex and the Pears facing a rampant Leicestershire.
To view more information about the MVP Rankings visit the ‘About the MVP’ page.
Keep up-to-date with daily MVP news by following the @pcaMVP on Twitter.