Cricket revolves around numbers – runs scored, runs against, wickets lost, wickets taken – so much so that the numbers have to balance; there can only be one occasion when they don’t and that’s at the end of a winning game. One side must score at least one more than the other to register a win.

Jamieson – how did that miss?

The other number of concern is that they’re 11 players a side. In this game at the Cloud, there’s 11 fielding and two batting but the 11 who field can seemingly not have to bat! This doesn’t sit well with me but that’s the modern way of tourist matches.

But back to the numbers! In recent times names and numbers have been added to players shirts to help identification and I must say it does help. But here…who are the players? The numbers on the shirts are covered by long sleeve sweaters; the scorecard is completely blank so you need to fill it yourself but you’re not told who’s who? And as for the scoreboard don’t get me started! It easier to rely on the internet and websites than it is the scoreboard!

Ok it’s a friendly match, not first class and not that great in terms of quality from the FCC XI but the ECB still have the gall to charge £15 per day for what? Unnamed players playing badly?

NZ declare at precisely 100 overs for 362/9 inc one ‘retired’ – Henry for 65no. Fletcher 50 no and Patel 36no add 64 in 45 minutes against some pretty innocuous bowling by FCC; it’s at this point in an innings bowlers show their true worth and to let NZ go from 219/8 to 362 without taking a wicket is poor, but there we are.

The FCC lunch at 59/1 with Sibley gone; his new stance/approach looked strained/stressed and far from comfortable. Compton goes mid afternoon for 39 and taking the chance to watch side on, (anywhere on the ground that’s not in the teeth of a cold breeze or so sheltered as to be able to fry eggs on the ground) his stance has too much weight over front foot so that the back leg waggles! Pin him back against the stumps and…?

Sibley…shouldering arms
Compton…too far forward?
Henry and Compton

From the NZ aspect, Henry and de Grandhomme look good; Jamieson looks out of sorts/match practice to start with going for close on 8 per over. Which begs the general question of how will players from the IPL will cope next week going straight into a test? We now have Tickner bowling (but not batting) same with Duffy before lunch, Fletcher takes over the gloves, and Williamson is fielding – all good match practice but…just jars.

de Grandhomme in full flow
Kyle Jamieson

And so it continues, just like tag wrestling but who’s on the field and who’s not? You tell me!

By tea FCC reach 143/4 with Haines 41no in steady and unspectacular form but that’s what his team needs!

Unfortunately after tea things start to go awry and wickets fall galore. This is a professional effort by the Kiwi’s and a near full strength test side against, and let’s be honest, a makeshift team of county players who don’t feature in the trash and bash.

Spectator numbers dwindled after tea – possibly close to 700 at its peak and a good number of NZ fans too!

By the close FCC had succumbed to 247ao with Lyndon James scoring a dogged 52. The Kiwis lead by 115. The last pair failed to bat ‘sensibly’ and now need to come out to bowl the one remaining over of the day. That would not have happened in times past.

And finally an apology to any of my dear readers who were upset by my comments yesterday on gardening. For the record, I’m also not keen on DIY, oysters, crabmeat, jobsworths, white vans in country lanes, patronising newsreaders, tea, rudeness, cold callers who call me by my first name when I answer the phone, and…sorry, there’s a list too long to number! 🤣