A morning at the Premiership Rugby Fixtures Release gave me a small quandary – Essex were playing Australia in Chelmsford and Surrey were playing T20 against Middlesex at the Oval.  In reality I didn’t have to think too much – I rushed back to Chelmsford after having a great morning.

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A chance to see the Australians play was a no brainer really, I’m lucky enough to have tickets for 12 days of the Ashes – if the games are competitive.  But The County Ground is a much smaller venue than the Test grounds, so a chance to be closer to some of the best players in the world.  I made the most of it and took a load of photos.

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Australia had amassed a huge 562 in their first innings – they seem to have a new All Rounder in their midst – Mitch Marsh scored 169 runs!  Including twenty 4’s and five 6’s – David Warner opening had 94 to his name before he was caught by Ravi Bopara.

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The magic moment of Day 1 for an Essex player was when Tom Moore took the wicket of one Michael Clarke as he faced his first ball!  A Golden Duck – he was caught by Ryan ten Doeschate. That’s a memory that will be forever lasting!

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Essex responded in some style – with opening batsman Tom Westley hitting 144 runs – earning him the personal congratulations of England Captain Alastair Cook.  He was bowled by Mitchell Starc.

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Ravi Bopara reminded the Australians of his batting power running up a patient 107 before being caught by Clarke from the bowling of Marsh.

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Those 2 centuries helped toward a total of 414 for Essex – an interesting statistic for England I’m sure!

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Australia were back at the crease when I arrived at the ground – Jamie Porter had already dispatched David Warner – bowling him for 4 and James Foster had caught Chris Rodgers from the bowling of Matt Salisbury for 32.  That saw Australia on 58 for 2!

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Michael Clarke was at the crease – although I’d seen him in 2013 I hadn’t realised how slight he is, cricketers really do come in all shapes and sizes.  Clarke wasn’t going to go for a Duck 2 innings in a row and he ran up a decent 77.  It was good to see the Australian captain in action.

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He saw  Adam Voges lose his wicket LBW to Aron Nijjar for 1 run – Voges was clearly unhappy with the decision – I thought I’d heard some bat – but out was the decision of the umpire.

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Shane Watson was similarly deemed LBW from the bowling of ten Doeschate for a mere 6 runs he too was unhappy – my photos show him a very long way down the wicket.  But the umpires word is final with no technology.

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Clarke was then kept company by Marsh who scored a decent 37 before Matt Salisbury bowled him.  Another memory moment  came for a young Essex man as Aron Nijjar bowled Michael Clarke.

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Australia with Starc and Hazelwood at the crease finished the day with 2 wickets in hand and 2 wickets remaining.

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The Essex bowlers did a very good job in restricting the Australians – a day to be proud of.

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The afternoon was a wonderful one – I was joined by my 2 lovely friends Tina and Stella and as well as enjoying the cricket we enjoyed lots of laughter!

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I’d be back for Day 4 – and yes that will be lots more photos and Event 88

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