The County Championship returns and gives me a break!
Except that “break” comes in the form of welcoming Middlesex to Hove. They’re second in the table to our valiant fourth.
They look pretty tasty and Nick Gubbins looks to have given out a few drubbins (geddit?) and averages 72 this season with the bat.
Their keeper, Peter Handscomb, is not far behind with an average of 57. We better get these two early or we’re in trouble.
For us, Travis Head is still off somewhere counting his money so I look around the squad.
Laurie Evans has really impressed me in the debacle which has been our T20 campaign. I give him the number 4 berth.
I really want to play Delray Rawlins but I can’t see how he gets into the side except at the expense of Will Beer and his spin has been pretty sound.
We win the toss! Cue the ticker tape parade!
I’ve ordered the groundsman to prepare a seamer friendly pitch.
So I opt to bat. Of course. What could go wrong?
Sussex first innings:
We start really well. Phillip Salt and Luke Wells play responsibly and positively. Salt gets to 53 with a beautifully drive from 85 balls and we’re 87-0.
We lunch at 107-0. It’s the sweetest meal I’ve had in ages. I fully expect to lose a wicket first ball back out in the middle, karma style.
But actually we just tick along. There are few highlights, until 14:33 when Salt tries to wander halfway towards cover and snicks one to Stevie Eskinazi off Miguel Cummins, and he’s gone for 82.
It’s a shame because he’s batted really well and would have deserved a ton but I’ve known us be significantly worse than 145-1.
Stiaan van Zyl, on the other hand, lasts five balls and is gone leg before wicket to Cummins.
A lot less impressive, frankly. 147-2.
My man Laurie Evans wanders to the wicket. They bring on Toby Roland-Jones.
Evans is soon sauntering back the other way having spooned one to Eoin Morgan at gully. 166-3
Next into the attack comes Nick Gubbins. His rank filth non-spinning leg spin has brought him 2 wickets and given up 141 runs.
Naturally, he gets Harry Finch with his third ball, smacking into his shin, middle stump and the youngster is telling his story walking.
I gaze wistfully towards the seafront and dream of Rawlins. We’re 173-4.
At 183-4, Wells is still going and he has big Ravi Bopara alongside him. What could etc and so on…
God Ravi looks comfortable.
Right up until he gets out for 15 to Tim Murtagh.
I really hate this team at times. 197-5
Ben Brown comes and goes for 6 and we’re 219-6.
However, David Wiese has regularly chipped in this season so there’s always hope. He goes for 2.
Claydon has a little blast for 12 but everyone else is flapping and incompetent. 242 all out.
Middlesex first innings:
Middlesex end day one 19-0.