Cricket is intended to be played when the weather is warm and dry, if not hot and so the nooks and crannies which provide any shelter when the weather is cold, windy or rainy are few and far between on most grounds.
And the CloudFM ground at Chelmsford is no exception today. The temperature is nominally 11C but with a wind chill factor it feels like 8C. There’s next to nowhere on this ground which provides shelter when the wind is from the North or North East.
Having started to physically shake with cold, repairing to the Pavilion to snuggle up to a radiator (on full blast) was the order of the day. The radiator location provides warmth but a poor view of the play, which is just as well as Essex are making heavy weather of this match against Northamptonshire.
From an overnight 233/7 Essex should have been looking to close this out fairly rapidly but with only one wicket before lunch, they seem to have lost the plot. Harmer can’t buy a wicket and the seamers seemed all at sea.
Meanwhile Luke Procter scored his highest score for Northamptonshire (113) and Gareth Berg (at #10) managed 75 and having put Essex to the sword then tried to do more damage but each fell to poor shots. But reaching 390 is far more than they should have got.
This gave Essex an hour of batting before tea.
Browne tried to force the pace and was out for 12 at 12/1 but Sir A and Westley appeared to steady the ship into harbour at tea of 45/2 but a lot of edges to the slips, and through the slips brought the inevitable wicket on the stroke of tea.
The odd ball is doing something and there’s a bit of variable bounce but otherwise it should be a good batting strip. One thing is certain today there’s no best to dry it out!
But what do I know? Essex get becalmed…almost stopped after tea and hardly any runs scored in the next hour but wickets fall at both ends. Edges to slip and the keeper aplenty, some falling short, a lot taken!
By the end of the day as the crowd all but drift away Essex end on 95/8 – way short of the follow on target and bonus point territory. Other than the bore draw against Kent, Essex have struggled to score more than 200 so prospects don’t look good. And Northamptonshire’s record of not having won at Chelmsford for 24 years looks like ending.
All of this observed from behind the glass in the Pavilion giving me separation from the 8 degrees outside!
And apologies for the lack of photos…it may have been 8C but it felt like minus 8 degrees and even gloves were not enough! Perhaps better tomorrow