Cannabis or revolver? County Championship cricket!

I fully understand the need for increased security in the current times we live in but I’m fascinated about the varying levels of scrutiny I’ve experienced.

At Lords I’m questioned about any miniatures I may have under my hat, at the WACA in Perth umbrellas were regarded as blunt instruments (trombones were ok), in Sri Lanka no one worried, at the Oval it’s a open arm welcome and jolly banter when there’s a search (tests and internationals only) but at Chelmsford it just gets bizzare!

The last two days my bags were thoroughly searched and the contents broadcast by the security guy for all to hear. Rest assured there’s never anything inappropriate in my backpack!

When asked if he could do ‘the usual bag check’ I asked what that was. I was told that he’s looking for cannabis or a revolver! Now, whether that’s for his own use I didn’t ask but I sit here wondering what such a combination would do at a first class cricket match.

Given the average age of those attending I would venture that some may have experimented with the former many years ago (remember most of the Tory leadership candidates had done something at sometime) but I reckon the most radical thing the current group of spectators would do is join the provisional wing of the Women’s Institute and use strawberry rather than raspberry jam in a sponge! And as for the revolver…not quite sure about that.

Anyway today’s check was ‘any glass in there mate?’ as he pointed to my backpack. No…I replied, ‘Ok… thanks’ and I was allowed in. What worries me now is who in the crowd has the revolver!

By the way, after 45 minutes Warwickshire can’t remove the Kiwi night watchman as Essex progress to 116/1 and Sir A another 50. Lead is now 200

By lunch, the Essex ‘net’ progresses to 169/4 off 62 overs (33 in session!); thanks in the main to 83 by Sir A (still not converting those 50s into centuries…but then no one else is doing so either here at Chelmsford- home or away teams).

A minor collapse in losing three quick wickets was somewhat stabilised but losing another two in the first over after lunch by Brookes sees the score move to 190/6 by 2pm and a lead of 275.

Only two scores of over 300 have been made here all season (and both by Essex) and on the evidence of Warwickshire’s first innings, this should be ample but bat until tea, lead by 350 and bowl after tea.

Tea arrives, almost on time, as Essex reach 299/7 and a lead of 383. Lawrence has made a fine 74 and Harmer 43 as they grind the opposition down. There’s been an element of declaration batting but nothing too serious.

Wickets today fall in clumps; Wheaters attempt at a second reverse sweep ending his innings prematurely. Reverse sweeping 32 years ago didn’t look good (M W Gatting will know) and it doesn’t work now.

Wheater leans on his bat after the reverse sweep fails

There’s only one result for this game now and Warwickshire have been off the pace ever since ball one on Saturday and don’t look like working miracles.

Yates – ready for close fielding

The World Cup effect seems to have started with an excellent crowd here for a working Monday – the top of the Pearce Stand looks full. There’s also a bigger smattering of youth here today – some I suggest have played truant – but also younger people than average. Nonetheless care homes must be empty today and people can roam the streets free in the knowledge that most of the old folk are at the cricket!

Pearce stand…packed out
Wonder if anyone’s got the revolver?

What will be interesting is how long the effect lasts – shall we see such numbers when we have to wear ski suits to watch cricket ? And also the response of the ECB to the public reaction and the vast numbers watching the free to air Final and following on line – I’m told the final had more on line followers than all other sports combined yesterday. Come on ECB…ride this wave, make the changes, ditch the Hundred, resurrect the county 50 over game and bring cricket back to the people!

Rush of blood after tea by Lawrence sees him return to the Pavilion post haste. The only reasons the cognoscenti can see for continued batting are – Lawrence to reach 100 (didn’t happen), Harmer to reach 50 (which he didn’t), Essex to score over 300 (yes they did) or to set a target of 400 (which they did).

Rush of blood – fish eye view

Warwickshire reappear (Essex with substitute keeper) to bat for 3 and a bit sessions, 110 plus overs or score 400. Based on their first attempt that doesn’t look likely. But they stick to the task manfully and reach the end of the day at 67/1. The one falling to Beard. The plan tomorrow must be for Harmer to take one end and rotate the quicks from the other.

But that’s for tomorrow and I wonder what I’ll be searched for but I couldn’t find the revolver!

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