Today marks my 51st day of live cricket watching this year and how better than watching two matches on the same day!
A brief trip to the Oval sees Surrey trounce Essex – Lawes, the night watchman, nearly top scoring and ends undefeated on 32. It’s clear Essex didn’t want to be there and only by stretching out play into the second hour could they be assured of staying for lunch – more tempting for some I would suggest (somewhat tongue in cheek)!
All very clinical by Surrey who still sit top of Division One. Pope scoring the winning runs with a reverse sweep from the one ball he faced. One wonders if he’ll be asked ‘busy day at work today…?’
With Hampshire winning too, Surrey haven’t put any more clear blue water between them. Maximising bonus points and optimising over rates will be key for the remaining matches.
This loss essentially removes any hopes Essex may have had even with a game in hand. The title is destined for Surrey, Hampshire or possibly Lancashire.
So a quick trip across Central London to Lord’s for the remainder of Middlesex v Sussex – previously regarded as much of a local derby as Roses matches!
There had been a run fest over the first three days but only 40 or so runs between the sides (each side scoring high 400 or low 500!). Almost the same first innings difference as south of the river but for a lot less runs!
But what’s this? Sussex 69/5 at lunch and a lead of just over 100? Could there be a result today? A run chase? A cascade of wickets? Exciting afternoon in prospect!
A couple of wickets after lunch (96/7) puts the cat in the pigeon loft but the arrival of Ari Karvelas – SA by birth, but an international cricket player for Greece (yes…they do!) – brings a calm and the occasional six so that after tea he reaches his half-century.
I can’t remember watching any other Greek cricketer scoring a 50, let alone one at Lord’s – unless, dear reader, you can tell me otherwise?
Joined by Steve Finn – formerly of this parish – they doggedly defy everything Middlesex can throw at them. Karvelas (an anagram of Lark Vase – just shows how slow the game had become that even I could work out the odd anagram!) eventually succumbed for 57 but onward both sides plod. Why no declaration or handshake at 4.50pm which is usual when matches reach this point of pointlessness?
Sussex lead by 200, Middlesex would need to score at close to 10 an over to win; Sussex highly unlikely to take all 10 wickets in that time and Middlesex just shut up shop if the wheels started to come off. So why carry on? Why play another half an hour before declaring (which they do and everyone walks off) but the afternoon has definitely been all Greek to me!