And so I reach Event 50 on the 4th May not bad going!  I wonder sometimes how I fit work in (hope my boss isn’t reading!)

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Having had a rugby packed weekend Bank Holiday Monday brought me a much calmer day in the form of Day 2 of the LV County Championship game between Essex and Gloucestershire.

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As I’ve mentioned before this helping of sport is virtually on my doorstep – a mere 5km from my home, adding to the chill factor.

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Amazingly the day was set to be the best of the weekend – most unusual for a Bank Holiday – we so often have an awful day then go back to work in the sunshine.

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A short drive to Meteor Way just on the outside of the town, a pound paid and my car was parked.  It’s wonderful to have a ground in the heart of the City of Chelmsford, but that can be a problem parking wise.  I believe Meteor Way will be open for members all season.

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A short, very pleasant stroll and I arrived at the ground in time to spend another proud to buy a cuppa before play started.

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Essex had batted 1st on Day 1 and had made, sorry Essex, a pretty poor 159 All Out – with Jaik Mickleburgh being top scorer with 42.

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I like to move around the ground a bit when I’m there for the day, I’d say my view of choice would be behind the bowlers arm.  But I sent the morning session sitting on the wooden benches outside the pavilion.

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A small aside – while I’m writing this I’m watching Juventus v Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final – goodness footballers are over dramatic!  And pretty much cheats at times!

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I sat next to 2 very friendly Essex fans who were fun to chat to – I think they were a tad perturbed that I clapped several good shots by the Gloucestershire batsmen.

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I explained that first and foremost I’m a sports fan –  I appreciate good play for the sake of it – cricket wise last season I was thrilled to see Luke Wright score 153 in his innings against Essex, my team.

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It was an amazing display – taking a mere 66 balls – it saw Sussex win the T20 game at the County Ground.  His batting was nothing short of amazing!

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I will also confess I was disappointed when Ricky Ponting played and was out for 4 – I wanted to see him score runs!  Not that I wasn’t pleased for Graham Napier who took 4 in 4 balls that evening.

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Gloucestershire made a better job of their 1st innings making 245 – with 2 men exceeding 50 runs.  Opening bat Chris Dent scored 57 before he was caught by Nick Browne off the bowling of Jessie Ryder.

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Peter Handscomb batting at 4 – scored 66 before he fell to LBW from the bowling of James Porter.

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Porter had the best of the bowling, taking 4 for 59 from his 20 overs – Jessie Ryder bowled 16 overs taking 3 for 75.  David Masters took 2 for 51 from his 21 overs.  The remaining wicket went to Graham Napier.

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I’d had lunch in the pavilion, a very tasty Lasagne with garlic bread, salad and coleslaw for £7.50, I had a bit of time to spare so messed about with some of my photos from the rugby the day before.

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I moved  for the 2nd session to sit to one side of – behind the bowlers arm – and found myself sat next to Michael Coleman.  He’d been watching Essex since 1949 when he was 12 years old!

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Michael was a complete delight to talk to – he recounted a game in 1983 when Essex were all out at 5;30 for 275 I think he said – Surrey came in to bat – and were all out for 14 at 6:30!!  I’ not surprised he remembered that one!

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Essex went in for tea on 41/0 – I must find out what actually happens – do they drink tea??  Things looked pretty good at that point.

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Maybe Browne and Mickleburgh had too much tea during the break, or a cake or 2!  They were both walking back in fairly quick succession – Brown was out for 9 – caught by Dent from the bowling of Liam Norwell the score was 61.

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Mickleburgh was the next to fall – being bowled by Norwell for 31 – the score was now 73 for 2.  Dan Lawrence who’d had a mighty innings at the Oval fell for 3 – LBW – to Norwell yet again.  74 for 3.

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Jessie Ryder seemed to be getting his eye in until he lost his wicket to a great catch from Hamish Marshall from the bowling of Jack Taylor – at 82 for 4 things weren’t looking too good.

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Play was halted at around 6:15 as the players were brought off for bad light – amazing considering the day had been largely totally glorious.  Sun tan lotion was most certainly the order of the day.

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Day 3 was a back to work day for me – but I managed to keep track of the scores – Essex were all out for 199.  Kishen Velani put on a spirited 58 ; Liam Norwell took 6 for 33 – superb bowling figures!

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I thoroughly enjoyed my day at The County Ground – it still gives me a bit of a thrill when I show my membership card – albeit to a scanner now!

Lots more cricket to come – but next up a whole new experience for me – Horse Racing! I’m  hoping for some great photos, it’ll be very unusual not a ball of any shape or size in sight!

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