Thursday, 3 September 2015

New Road

Worcestershire v Sussex

(Day 1 of 4)

1st September 2015

Prior to this match I had noted Worcestershire all-rounder Joe Leach had labelled his side’s remaining County Championship matches “three cup finals”.  It struck me as an odd term to use to describe what were not only league matches, but four-day jobs at that.  Nevertheless, it did serve to illustrate the parlous nature of Worcs. First Division status.  They sat in second bottom place (two are relegated), with this afternoon’s opponents Sussex just four points and one position above them.  So clearly, if the Three Pears were to entertain any hopes of survival, this was a match they could not afford to lose.

So, it is a fairly safe bet that the loss of Daryl Mitchell and Tom Fell with the innings barely begun was not in the script.  However, then followed one of those periods which makes cricket so unfathomable to the likes of my Wife.  For Brett D’Oliveira and Joe Clarke dug in and we faced a grinding war of attrition, as for 30 overs little of substance appeared to happen.  The batsmen prodded away ball after ball, content to chisel out what could not have been much more than 2.5 runs an over.  It was grim stuff, and I loved it.

The pair were dismissed in quick succession after lunch however; D’Oliveira caught after attempting a shot which, even to my untutored eyes, could best be described as reckless.  Ben Cox later gave his wicket away equally cheaply, by doing the lifting-his-bat-out-of-harms-way thing (shouldering arms, is it called?), only to turn around to witness one of his wickets sent flying.  I am guessing that being dismissed in such a manner is pretty embarrassing for a batsman – second only to being involved in an Inzamam-esque run out, perhaps.

That one put the hosts on 110-6 and in more than a little bother.  Fine work by Alex Gidman did keep the over rate ticking over, and by the time tea was called (and I had to leave) Worcs. had progressed to 172-8. 

But this was hardly cup final winning form.

The main entrance to New Road, Worcestershire CCC

I rather liked this cloud formation 

Happy to be corrected, but I think this is Daryl Mitchell

Brett D'Oliveira failed to get a touch on this one 

Panorama of New Road, Worcestershire CCC

Chris Jordan launches one in the direction of D'Oliveira

This slightly rickety wooden building sat behind the Basil D'Oliveira stand...

...a gift from the Supporters' Association back in 1954

Panorama of New Road, Worcestershire CCC

The Graeme Hick Pavilion

I would rather like to sit up there.

Throughout the day the skies alternated between azure blue and slate grey

There is something I find inexpressibly pleasing about the presence of trees within a sporting venue.

Brett keeps his eye on the ball.

Michael Yardy (Sussex CCC) 

Sussex bowler Luke Wells gets busy

Panorama of New Road, Worcestershire CCC

Panorama of New Road, Worcestershire CCC

Chris Jordan

Chris Liddle

Break for tea - and time for me to head to Newport

Update: Worcestershire lost the match by an innings and 63 runs.  Division 2 beckons Methinks.

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