Good Friday and a glorious day saw a local derby played against a decent crowd at the Cloud FM County Ground. This was in effect Round 2 of the Royal London Cup, in Round 1 all 6 teams who batted first went on to win the game, including Essex against Glamorgan.

Ryan ten Doeschate won the toss for Essex and put Middlesex in to bat. It’s always a pleasure to be back ‘home’ to watch the cricket, the people watching alongside the cricket can be fascinating. I was with my friend Alun, we’d attempted a match a couple of summers ago at The Oval where we saw a single over bowled before the rain spoilt the day. We were much luckier with the weather this time!

I like to sit behind the bowlers arm, I can never understand the members who queue up early to sit in the pavilion which is sideways on at Essex, they can hardly see the ball when a fast bowler’s running in. People tend to sit in the same areas, each match, we sat behind 4 men who were all keeping score, 2 in their own scorebooks. 2 trusted themselves and were using pens, 2 pencils with rubbers at hand! I hadn’t noticed, but Alun did, that they ate their lunch at 1pm, the traditional County Cricket time, which surely means there was a gaol’s in their score books! Some County fans must have piles of scorebooks at home.

12 from 14 Balls for Paul Stirling

To the cricket! Paul Stirling opened the batting with Middlesex captain Dawid Malan. Essex had an early breakthrough when Robbie White, on loan from Middlesex caught him from the bowling of Sam Cook. A powerful batsman he’s a key man to see walking back to the pavilion. Middlesex were 23 for 1.

Divison 1 appealing from Sam Cook

John Simpson joined Malan, Jamie Porter opened the bowling with Sam Cook, he seems to have toiled so far this season, with what looks like an altered action, perhaps to protect his back. It’s hard to see him getting more and more frustrated while working so hard – his figures so far this season.

Jamie Porter – a man who wears his cricket heart on his sleeve
  • Hampshire (CC) – 1 for 112 from 25 overs – Average 4.48
  • Surrey (CC) – 1 for 164 from 43 overs – Average 3.81
  • Glamorgan (RLODC) – 1 for 44 from 9 overs – Average 4.88

Decent averages but Jamie thrives on taking wickets, hopefully those will come for him soon. Back to the match in question. Simpson looked comfortable at the crease but failed to deal with a ball from Peter Siddle, who at 34 is looking in top form and shape, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him featuring for Australia later in the summer. Another catch for White and Simpson was out for 27. Middlesex were 72 for 2.

Dawid Malan in full flow

Eoin Morgan, England’s white ball captain was next to join Malan, who was steadily building his score. He made 20 from 17 balls and was looking in good nick. Essex brought Dan Lawrence on to bat and Morgan thought he’d throw his bat at the first ball he faced rather than have a look. He skied the ball and White had his third catch. I’m generally too busy watching the catches to get the photo but I did get the shot by Morgan.

Middlesex were 107 for 3, Steve Eskinazi was next in, he formed a partnership ion 60 with Malan before he was caught by, White of course! From the bowling of Porter. Middlesex were 167 for 4 after 24.3 overs. Nick Gubbins joined his captain.

Steve Eskinazi on his way to 28 from 21 balls
A happy Jamie Porter

Each batsman had formed a partnership with Malan and Middlesex were steadily building a decent score. I’m a fan of Malan’s, and had enjoyed his innings, he was working toward his century and I had my camera poised to take a photo of his celebration. What I got instead was a photo of abject disappointment as he had Gubbins went for a quick run, Peter Siddle with some great fielding ran Malan out on 95. A time for mixed emotions for me as my team got a key wicket but a great innings came to an end without that century landmark reached.

The Agony
And The Ecstasy!

Middlesex were 293 for 6 in the 42nd over. George Scott came in at 7 and made 63 from just 30 balls, Gubbins made 56 and Toby Roland Jones – whose full name I must mention here – Tobias Skelton Roland Jones – that’s some mouthful! – made 28. I have to say it’s good to see him back! All of that added up to 366 for 8 for Middlesex, a very decent score, the key to building it had been partnerships throughout the innings.

Nick Gubbins made 56 from 57 balls
Apologies to Nathan Sowter for the photo – but, bails flying and all that!

Robbie White had a great game for Essex, he took 4 catches and stumped Gubbins.

Robbie White had a great day!

Essex opened with Varun Chopra and their very own Knight Sir Alastair Cook, unfortunately the crowd didn’t get to see him bat for too long. Tim Murtagh opened the bowling with Tom Helm and he did a great job of restricting runs and also took Cook’s wicket in the 8th over, with John Simpson taking the catch, Cook had made 16 from 16 balls and Essex were 47 for 1.

16 from 16 for Alastair Cook

Tom Westley came in at 3 and the pair made a stand of 158, both looked comfortable at the crease, then along came Nathan Sowter, he took a great catch from his own bowling and Westley was out for 77. Essex had moved to 205 for 2 in the 30th over.

Tom Westley made 77 from 59 balls

Sowter accounted for Dan Lawrence when he was on just 6, having him caught by Steve Eskinazi and Essex were 219 for 3. Varun Chopra was carrying on where he left off against Glamorgan where he made 111. He batted for 146 minutes and made 127 from 127 balls but a great catch from Eoin Morgan from the bowing of Roland-Jones saw him on his way back to the pavilion.

127 from 127 balls for Varun Chopra

Essex were on 256 for 4 and from this point on struggled to build a partnership. Good work between the captain Dawid Malan and his bowlers seemed to ensure that most shots by the Essex batsmen found a fielder. Ravi Bopara made 20 from 20 balls, Ryan ten Doeschate 32 from 20 and Robbie White 19 from 17. The 4 bowlers in the line up contributed 19 runs between them as Nathan Sowter took 6 for 62. Essex were bowled out for 328 giving Middlesex the win by 38 runs.

A good day for Middlesex captain Dawid Malan

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