The challenge is to get Sussex promoted after five seasons languishing in the second tier. There was money to play with but my acquisitions have plunged us into the red. We have squeaked a victory from the jaws of defeat, despite accidentally sending Glamorgan top in the process.
They begin as they ended: tapping us around.
Meaker forces Scotsman Calum MacLeod into an error for 58 off 75. 439-5. Then, Claydon gets Tom Moores (not the NHS fund raising pensioner) for 5, and they’re suddenly “staring down the barrel” at “only” 443-6.
Pete Trego makes a nice cameo of 29 before David Wiese gets his first wicket of the match. 487-7.
Trego’s replacement, Mr Broad, has the sort of over that reduces a man’s hairline. Plays and misses to his first ball, lbw shout – turned down – to his second. Smacks poor Wiese for 4 next ball and then scampers off strike with a single.
Haseeb Hameed returns the favour and so, Broad then comes back, and is caught behind.
I throw a bat across the dressing room. I do use the bad words.
Unbelievably, Broad’s next over against Meaker is similar. He still goes, eventually, for 18 after I scream from the balcony that I want us bowling so short he has to take his teeth home in a hanky.
528-8 is, I think, the definition of scoreboard pressure.
Hameed, batting at 5 for some odd reason considering he is an opener in his own mind, snicks one to Brown off Claydon. His 132 could probably be described as “handy”.
I make the fields aggressive and tell the bowlers “none of this fast bowlers’ union shite”. Bounce them out. I want career threatening injuries.
For some reason, they bowl fuller than me after a Sunday lunch. I bring on Beer, hoping he’ll bamboozle them. Bizarrely, it works and Luke Fletcher goes for 6.
They are all out. 546 is going to be an interesting first innings total to overhaul – and it’s not even lunch on day two yet.
We get one over in before lunch. In exactly the sort of caution I expect from him, Salt decides to plunder Broad for 10 off the over. Oh, Phillip. I feel like you may regret that after the break.
With 19 on the board, Salt gets bowled by the other one. Mohammed Abbas, yes the Pakistan international who I’d sort of forgotten about because Broad was dominating my thoughts, makes the breakthrough and we’re 19-1.
Wells and van Zyl bat well, but Broad tricks Wells on 41 and we’re 105-2.
Travis Head comes in and, just after tea, runs out van Zyl just as he gets his 52nd run. I can barely look at the big South African as he comes back to the hutch. He is purple with rage. 109-3.
I soon join him. George Munsey, who – lest we forget I signed and then gambled on to strengthen our batting, and who is averaging 21 with a high score of 31 – can bat all day here, go big and really establish himself.
Instead, Abbas gets his second wicket and he is gone for 11. This maybe the last time he plays. 126-4.
“In Ravi we trust” I think, as the man – the legend – makes his way to the wicket. He is dropped twice in his first two overs and plays like a total fanny.
He then settles down and begins to play well. I spot that Mullaney is absolutely out on his feet as he’s into his 14th over, and has bowled on the spin for about an hour.
I ramp up Ravi’s aggression. He hits him for 6, for 4 – and then gets out for 41.
It is all my fault, again, and we are 194-5.