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Only decided to go to this the evening before – a real last minute thing.  The 2nds don’t visit the south much, and with enough new players on the teamsheet to make the game of ‘guess the player’ worth the trip.  With the possibility of Mark Davies bowling, and not a cheerleader or mascot in sight – Result!

Fenners; a ground where you were dead glad you printed out a google map before you went – there are no signs to it, plus the one on the gate is not obvious when the gate is open.  I walked right past it in the wrong direction…  .  The ground has Housemartins that like the outfield, that’s all I can say.

Second eleven cricket; where you can be your teams top supporter.  Mainly by being the only team supporter there!  Now if only I had brought a dog.

There was a tannoy that you could hear and an announcer – but he gave up during the second semi due to lack of crowd and the Foxes scorer not telling him which player was which.  In the 2nds lots of players have unnamed clothes or are wearing clothes borrowed from other team members, we had two Brathwaites and two Richardsons.  One of the Richardsons was threatening to wear a headband!  From the colours you would never guess he was an Aussie?

I didn’t intend to write a report so I took no notes.    The scoreboard was quite often wrong too.  My recollection of any match is largely rubbish as I spend too much time faffing about with my camera and talking to people and or eating.  You have to pay extra attention if you want to really report what is going on at these matches!  As you can see I didn’t.

Bob and Joe Coyne opened the bowling; the other bowlers were Paul Muchall, Andrew Tye, Ruel Brathwait and Ben Raine.  I was surprised how well Paul and Ben Raine Bowled, Ruel was Ruel and Joe and Andrew were more hit and miss.  But I think they all got at least one wicket apiece in both the matches.  Costa and Ben Harmison did not bowl.

Braithwait took some really nice skied catches, Our fielding was good in both matches.  And there was some big hitting by all the teams involved in the day.  Some nice stuff from us in our Semi but unfortunately not as much by us in the final match.  Pringle was 12 man.

It was really nice to see Mark Davies back in action. The Gloucestershire openers took a liking to him at first but he pulled it back to take 3 wickets in his 4 overs.  It was a shame he only got to bowl two overs in the final as he was bowling really well by that stage.  It’s a shame we don’t see him play much in T20, as he looks like he could be good in it.  And if he finds physically he is not cut out for further Championship cricket I’m sure he has lots of valuable work to do for us in the shortest form.

We batted well against Gloustershire and passed their 142 easily with 3 or so overs to spare, with the loss of only 3 wickets.  In the other semi the Leicester fielding was poor and Sussex hit them all over the place.  Even so Ben Brown had a glove throwing fit on returning to the benches when out – strops are obviously the in thing in the Sussex dressing room.

Although rain was forecast for most of the afternoon it only interfered with the Sussex v Leicestershire match where I think the state of the foxes warmup and one day kit was just to much for the Angels, they could not hold the tears of hilarity back any more.  The umpires were of the sort you would want on a possibly rainy day as they pressed on to get the play done, the final started nearly an hour early – I think lessons could be learned here and no play was lost to rain at all.

We started the Finals match startlingly well with Davies causing so many problems in the first over that he claimed a wicket and there was a run out off of his bowling.  It all unravelled somewhat near the end of the 3rd over when Davies went for a caught and bowled which did not come off, instead he left the field to play the ‘is there a broken bone in my hand’ game with the Fenners physio.

From there on in Sussex hit the odd boundary and the odd mighty six regularly – enough to get them up to 161

And by the time it was our turn to bat we found that Sussex’s bowling had tightened up since the semi, they bowled more like an attack with Amjad Khan, Will Beer and Ollie Rayner should.  It didn’t look good for us when the in form Rocky got stranded mid way down the pitch early on.  The rest of our top order got out to catches, apart from Ben Harmison who was run out, and I think Paul was bowled.  You know that it has probably slipped away when two of your ‘no name on jumper’ bowlers are at the crease, with a good way to go to the finishing line.  [update; for proof that I wasn’t paying proper attention here is the scorecard…most of them seemed to get bowled!]

Bob did threaten to go out to bat at the end, but he wasn’t needed, so perhaps his hand was just bruised, rather than anything more serious.  We failed to get the 24 runs needed.

They got a big bottle of bubbly, we got a smaller one.  They sung their horrendous team song loudly once back in the dressing room.  I left, I had a pina collada to drink on the train .  Cambridge is easy to navigate around so making the half eight was no problem. But Cambridge is a town where free range morris dancers roam the streets….be afraid, be very afraid…

There are more pictures from the days play here.


And England manages to wreck it without even overbowling it!

Now it’s Plunkett; that’s an England squad bowling injury full house for Durham!
Following on from Mark Davies leaving the England squad with ankle problems and then having an operation on his ankle, and Graham Onions returning home from the squad with back injury; esteemed drinks boy Pudsy has now apparently joined the list.

BBC TMS feed – 0439 – Eng 490-9 (171 overs)
“ And a bit of breaking news on TMS – Liam Plunkett will return home a day early from this tour because of an injury that they want to treat immediately.”

Oh and even more joy – Bunny’s back injury is more serious than at fist thought, and Bob is not looking certain to be fit for the start of the season now either.
Do England treat their pace bowlers well?  What do they do with them?  They have not been flogging the overs out of the Durham ones in matches.    For the amount of time our bowlers have seen on the competitive field this winter this is not been a good return.   Plunkett has seen only one [non EPPs] tour match all winter!
England: keeping our Nigel [the physio] in business!

Fresh from the indignity of having his boots removed from the environs of the outfield of the EPPs first match against Gauteng, England’s most recent test squad call up finally took to the field today for an England XI.

In a rare spell of good weather in what has been an unseasonably wet period, in a rain curtailed match Mark was the most economical bowler conceding 24 runs in 10 overs.

There is a picture of him here in the very white whites that England now sport. The South African Invitational XI v England XI at East London a 2 day warmup match. [This photo may possibly be by Garath Copely,  PA don’t credit the photographer]