With the England matches starting in late May I planned to go to Lords to watch Middlesex play Essex in the Royal London One Day Cup, it’s a good job I worked out they were actually playing at Radlett! (photos from the Middlesex innings included, Essex innings to follow)
There was clearly an issue on the M25, but my Satnav decided I should see most of Hertfordshire before I eventually got to the ground. There was plenty of parking at £5 for non-members. I took a chair with me and for most of the Middlesex innings sat trying to peer between people and avoid hats and arms flying in the air as I was taking photos. Until I spotted a chair in the front row, I moved across to an uncomfortable chair, but a good view.
My tortuous journey got me there a little late, Middlesex had won the toss and elected to bat, their openers Stevie Eskinazi and Nick Gubbins looked well set and put on 79 before Wagner, looking fresh, and fast had Eskinazi caught on the boundary by Ashar Zaidi. Paul Stirlng followed quickly after a great catch from Ryan ten Doeschate, and Gubbins was bowled for 50 in the next over by spinner Simon Harmer. 79 for 1 had turned quickly into 86 for 3.
Hilton Cartwright, dressed as Tom Helm for some reason, joined Eoin Morgan at the crease, the 2 of them built a partnership of 57, with Morgan in particular playing some great shots, before young bowler Sam Cook had Cartwright given out LBW for 29.
John Simpson was next in, and also next out, he looked an elegant batsman until caught by Varun Chopra from the bowling of Ravi Bopara, who has a habit of taking key wickets for Essex. Eoin Morgan on 45 looked well set, but was out LBW to Harmer in the next over
With 36 overs bowled Middlesex were 184 for 6, James Franklin was not out 29 and Tom Helm added a useful 21. Steven Finn got his bat onto the ball to hit 2 big fours, before he was caught by Ryan ten Doeschate for 10. But, the ground is a small one and the 250 Middlesex reached didn’t feel quite enough, even as an Essex member who’d seen some very fragile batting so far this summer.
However things didn’t start too well for Essex, when Adam Wheater playing his first game for the First XI was out for 1, caught by Simpson from the bowling of Helm (who was also dressed as himself). Essex were 3 for 1!
Tom Westley who’d had a torrid start to the season joined Varun Chopra and the pair put on 153 runs, that wasn’t without some luck, I think Middlesex dropped at least 3 catches, but sometimes luck is a factor in a good innings. Chopra made 59 before he was stumped by Simpson from the bowling of the spinner Ravi Patel.
Dan Lawrence who’s one of the Essex batsmen who has had a good start to the season came in at number 4. Tom Westley had played a great innings and fully deserved to reach his century as he helped move Essex to a win. Yes he’d been dropped a couple of times, but he took full advantage of the chances he was given. He reached an impressive 134 before an impressive catch from Steven Finn from the bowling of Patel saw him walking back to the pavilion with 134 runs to his name.
Essex were 245 for 3 and needed 6 runs, those 6 runs didn’t come without drama as Dan Lawrence also fell to Patel, LBW, seeing him finish with 3 for 41 from his 10 overs. Captain Ryan ten Doeschate hit the winning runs and Essex had their first win in the first game of the tournament, winning by 6 wickets.
It was great to see Tom Westley batting at his best and as an Essex fan I hope that innings has kick started his season. I make no apology for the number of photos of Tom, a winning century meant he was in the frame a lot!