The joys of living in Chelmsford means I can go and watch Essex play cricket for a couple of hours at a time if that’s all I have available in my day.

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With plans to watch London Skolars in the afternoon I decided on watching the first session of the cricket.

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It’s lovely having a 10 minute trip to sport, with the hours spent travelling to various venues it makes such a pleasant change.

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I was able to park near the ground too, which was an added bonus, in spite of this being cricket it felt like big, unattractive coat weather, and so it mostly proved to be.

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Essex had won the toss, and looking at the overcast conditions decided to bowl.  I’d been hoping to see them bat, but saw a good session as it turned out.

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I stood back as the 1st over was bowled so I didn’t disturb anyone – it was quite funny that a fellow member stood right in front of me blocking my view!  Some people are so unaware of others!

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No harm done however I just moved away myself, did make me chuckle though!

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I like to sit behind the bowlers arm, but knowing I wasn’t going to be there long I went to a seat near the pavilion.  I found myself sat between what will hopefully be the future of Essex cricket – at the very least from a viewing perspective.

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On my left was Bertie – 20 months old with his Dad Christian – for such a little lad he was really good as the game was going on!  Then he was totally in his element when play broke – although he did kick the cricket ball a few times!

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On my right was George – with his own membership at 6 years old, he watched the play keenly and chatted away to his Dad.  This really is where the love for the longer format of the game has to start.

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And so to the cricket – David Masters opened the bowling from the River End, with Jamie Porter taking his place at the Hayes Close end.

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Daniel Bell-Drummond and Joe Denly opened the batting for Kent.  Denly’s wicket was the 1st to fall, he was caught behind by James Foster off the bowling of Porter for 3.  Kent were 10 for 1.

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Robert Key made his way to the crease – a hard hitting batsman it would be key for Essex to get his wicket before he got his eye in.

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Jessie Ryder had taken the ball to bowl from the River End and he was successful, taking Key’s wicket LBW for 18 – Kent were on 39 for 2.

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Sam Northeast emerged from the dressing room – it must be pretty daunting to take your place when wickets are falling for cheap.

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It had been cold on one of the days I attended the Surrey game and Nick Browne had said it was colder in the middle – it has to be said the Essex fielders looked on the chilly side as play progressed.

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It never ceases to amaze me what the fielders get up to at times when the ball is dead – Greg Smith in particular for Essex often looks like he’s in an exercise class.  It makes for entertaining watching.

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Jessie Ryder took the next wicket – Northeast was caught for 6, with a pretty spectacular catch by Greg Smith – all that in field exercise clearly pays off! His team mates were clearly thrilled!  In general there seemed to be a good team spirit.

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Fabian Cowdrey was next to arrive at the crease – a very famous name – he’s the 3rd generation of Cowdrey’s to play for Kent.

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David Masters returned to bowl and Nick Browne proved that anything Greg Smith could do he could too!  A good catch – the wicket of Bell-Drummond fell for 30 – a good innings by the Kent man in difficult conditions.  Kent were 72 for 4.

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That felt like a strong position to me when I took my leave to go to the rugby league.

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Darren Stevens had been the next batsman in – and he made a very good 50 runs in the afternoon.

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Stevens’ innings helped to take Kent’s total to 193 All Out – a total that probably couldn’t have been imagined at lunch time.

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I was of course by now watching an altogether different game so had no idea until later what had happened in the Essex reply.

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How can I put this – well I suppose the easiest way is to simply state the figures! Essex closed the day on 67 for 6!

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Not a very good afternoon at the office!  As well as shoring up the Kent innings Darren Stevens took 3 of those wickets.  Jack Mickleburgh with his wicket intact at the end of the day top scored on 20.

A couple of ‘facts’

  • Nicest moment of the day – had to be seeing Bertie playing on the outfield!
  • Best moment of the play – without a doubt Greg Smith’s catch!
  • Ladies loos – functional and clean – but very much in need of an uplift!

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