For today and the next three days I’m really spoilt for choice! It’s a rare event or occurrence in the calendar that the three clubs I’m a member of all have home matches at the same time.
Do I watch probable champions elect Surrey take on Nottinghamshire who once looked like title contenders this summer, or do I watch current champions Essex play Hampshire and get themselves firmly out of the prospect zone for relegation or is it a visit to the Home of Cricket to see Middlesex try and retrieve something from the season against old foes and promotion hopefuls Sussex?
Voluntary work brings me into Central London today so the decision is between two…Play at Lords starts on time whilst the Oval is delayed an hour and Chelmsford for the record is still waiting to start as I type.
As Surrey seem to be favoured to be champions, it’s the Oval for me today. The wheels are coming off Middlesex at Lords so they get the honour of my company tomorrow (and also the start of my quest for test match tickets for the Ashes and Ireland next summer!).
The wheels also wobbled for Surrey at 36/3 just after lunch as the cloud cover lingered malevolently: Notts taking full advantage of no toss and a team of seamers to boot!
However, Stoneman (one of England’s tried tested and rejected) and Foakes (one of England’s tourists, never tried tested but also it seems rejected) restore considerable order with a partnership of 90 as Foakes falls for 48 – both seemed to struggle against the spinner Patel.
Jacks came to the rescue and forged another excellent partnership with Stoneman adding 78 for the 5th wicket before he (Jacks) too fell for 48.
Stoneman made waves towards the direction of the England selection panel as he masterfully made 99no at the end of the day which sees honours even, I would suggest with Surrey 256/6 with power to add from Stoneman and Curran (T). Just shows their strength in depth and I find it difficult to look beyond them for the Championship.
Meanwhile across the river, wickets fell like nine-pins – 16 in the day – in what May become an interesting game so its NW8 for me next!