Food and drink XI sustains hard work and my first ever long stop!

Bess begs for a wicket
A long stop in first class cricket? It’s not what you think!

The four day day/night match at Chelmsford looks to me after two days as one where hard work is required and should be rewarded.

The first two sessions had Somerset toiling while Bopara and ten Doeschate prevailed – the latter outscoring Ravi considerably but both made centuries – the first two first class centuries for Essex this season and July is next week!

This bat-fest and hard work for wickets gave me time to ponder whether an eleven could be formed from those with either food or drink as a last name…but current players only? Well, how about:

  • Joss Cobb – Northants (ok..a cob being a type of bread roll, or an alternative name for hazelnuts)
  • Michael Pepper – Essex
  • Matt Lamb – Warwickshire
  • Chris Sole – Hampshire
  • Will Beer – Sussex
  • Phil Salt – Sussex
  • Phil Mustard – Gloucestershire
  • Josh Tongue – Worcestershire (ox tongue is regarded as some kind of delicacy?!)
  • Graham Onions – Lancashire
  • Jamie Porter – Essex (porter is a kind of fortified beer) and
  • Joe Tetley – Cambridge Uni (I know, stretching it a point as this is a brand name but all this food and drink can be topped off with a cup of tea!)

Not a lot of batting but the bowling should be good!

Pepper impressed a large number of the Essex faithful yesterday – most of whom have seen many players come and go over the years, and the general consensus is that he is an England player in the making! Remember you saw it here first!

The run-fest resulted in Essex declaring at 517/5 off 150 overs some 35 mins before the scheduled ‘tea’ break; Bopara made 118 whilst ten Doeschate was not out on 173 – fine knocks both, although Ryan tended to only offer one shot each ball towards the end (hooking to leg) in an attempt to speed up the scoring rate. To their credit, at no time did Somerset give up although they looked down-hearted; they did not have all nine fielders on the boundary to stop the runs flowing as Essex tried in vain against Notts last week.

** incidentally Bopara and ten Doeschate took the score from 212/4 to 506/5 – the Essex record for the 5th wicket was in jeopardy until…

It seems that ten Doeschate needed to be reminded of the tea break as the declaration came suddenly when a drink was brought on to the field for him for no real reason and then everyone just walked off. I’ll come back to his captaincy later.

In the 10 overs before tea – taken 15 mins late – Somerset managed 39/0; this looks like a game where runs will flow and bowlers and fielders will need to work hard for their wickets.

A leg-side feather after tea does for Davies c Wheater b Wagner for 41 at 55/1. Enter George Bartlett with over an hour and a bit to the scheduled close – not an auspicious sight as Playfair records his highest score as 28 – and Somerset need another 462 to get to level terms or 312 to save the follow on. But pluckily did he bat against all that Essex could throw at him. A very hard chance down the leg side (a backward short leg was positioned – Pepper) was put down; no fault of the fielder as it was very sharp and very fine deflection but ten Doeschate immediately swapped Pepper for Harmer in that position and Pepper was despatched to the fielding ring like a naughty school boy…hmmm, yes, the game is hard but that seemed too harsh.

Later Cook A made some fielding change suggestions which were implemented and towards the end Westley suggested having a long stop which again was put in place straightaway. I have never seen a long stop in first class cricket so this was a first in over 50 years of following the game. There was no clear reason as the wicketkeeper seemed capable but it became clear later that they were trying to feed Bartlett the hook and were hoping for a mistimed one to go straight down Westley’s throat at long stop. The tactic didn’t work but Bartlett was out just before the close of play for 42 whilst Ed Byrom is still there on 53 at 140/2 – still 237 away from avoiding the follow on. On this pitch this should be possible.

With regard to the day/night nature of the game, we haven’t seen the excessive swing and seam of other matches but then it’s been unbroken sunshine for the past two days. The crowd was smaller than the first day (always seems to be the case) and little, if any, corporate entertainment in action…giving up a whole day’s work is more attractive than giving up a half-day and then your own evening! Numbers fell away after the tea and probably before and still no mass influx of people coming along after work – that’s just not happening.

One other aspect of day/night cricket is the ability to travel home after the game has finished. Spectators and members are not all locally based, nor have cars parked in the exclusive car park at the ground! Several travel long distances and not always by car so are using public transport, and even if they did stay to the end, then travelling back home by rail should be ok, but then they have the challenge of more public transport to complete the journey home. Not all towns and villages have bus services during the evening and not everyone can afford taxis…so they come along, pay full admission price but then have to leave well before the end to get home at a reasonable hour and at reasonable cost.

Porter in full flow – yet perfectly balanced!

No – not seeing double – Essex have two Cooks!

Wagner straining to take the first wicket

Long stop?

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