And so it’s back to the south coast for a derby with neighbours Kent.
I’ve still got nearly an entire team unavailable. The bright side is that Stiaan van Zyl is back fit. He pushes out Harry Finch and comes in at 4.
Otherwise, I leave well enough alone.
Would you like to have a wild stab in the dark as to how the toss goes?
Olly Robinson takes the new ball to Daniel Bell-Drummond and Graham Webster.
After 8 overs it seems to be about honours even. Robinson and Mitchell Claydon have each gone for 16 and Kent haven’t streaked away, but nor are they grovelling and begging for forgiveness.
I bring on Aaron Thomason for a change of line and length. He ties them down with three dot balls in a row, before pushing Bell-Drummond onto the back foot and beating him for pace. Gone for 7. 32-1.
South African Heino Kuhn is the next man in. He looks confident but he can’t seem to get Thomason away cleanly, and the same holds true for Monty Panesar at the other end.
Eventually, Thomason bowls straight. Kuhn tries to step aside and usher it to the on side and Jonty Jenner takes the edge. 46-2.
Aaron Dwyer decides the best thing he can do is support Webster. This begins to look like a top class strategy when he goes after Monty.
Panesar has bowled two overs for 6 runs.
Then he’s bowled 3. For 20.
So there’s that then…
Travis Head gets the chance to further show me why I was wrong to be sniffy about his bowling.
After 2.5 overs, he’s tied them to 10 runs and then dislodges Webster, Ben Brown swooping to take the catch at first slip. 94-3, 21/50 overs gone.
Sean Dickson and Dwyer just sort of pootle along. When there’s a loose ball they dispatch it, otherwise they take the odd single.
After 33 overs. It’s 160-3 and the run rate is 4.8. It’s… okay.
Thomason comes back on for his fourth over and a new spell.
That livens things up. He concedes a single then gets slashed for a six.
However, third ball he bowls Dwyer, sending his leg stump cartwheeling after the batsman has snuck to 48 from 47 deliveries. 167-4.
Kent’s Ollie Robinson – bats 5, wicket keeper, 21 years old and not to be confused with our own Ollie Robinson – bowler, 26, bats 9 – is next up.
As I said, Thomason has the ability to make stuff happen.
In this case, that’s Dickson and Robinson slamming him for 17 in an over. 197-4.
We lose 47 minutes but no play. Which I don’t understand, but whatever.
After the break, Dickson decides he can do the same to Panesar. The 24 he concedes is… just rude. 221-4.
Thomason does what we all want him to do, however, and gets him next over, Jenner snatching the chance. Gone for 71, 223-5.
Jack Leaning comes in. I leave Monty on with a view to let him get some pride back.
They slap him for 13. 239-5, 41/50 overs bowled.
I bring back Head. The over goes like this:
- Edged. They snick a single.
- Robinson smashes a six.
- Edged. Safe. They run a single.
- Leaning leans in and batters a six.
- Awful, uncoordinated play and miss.
- Leaning snatches a single and the strike.
I pull a jersey towards me and scream a primordial scream of rage. 254-5.
Claydon also has an over to conjure with.
- Leaning smacks him for six
- Plumb lbw – not given
- Smashes him for a six
- Plumb lbw – given! Gone for 54 off 27.
- New batsman Grant Stewart takes a single
- Robinson. Lbw – not given.
Sometimes with this sport I don’t know whether to scream or laugh.
Robinson begins by bowling Robinson. Something I find unaccountably entertaining.
He has an lbw shout, a play and a miss and an lbw shout in consecutive balls before Kent‘s Robinson gets a single.
Next ball, Sussex Robinson puts one outside off stump and Stewart is caught by Brown for 9. 308-7.
I’ve not managed the bowling load correctly for some reason so George “Bowling Average of 8 From One Over Ever” Munsey has to bowl the death over.
It ends 319-7.
We need 6.4 an over.
Or would be for any side other than us.
Tom Haines, he of the hasty selection/last available person last time out, gets us off the mark by hitting a boundary.
Sadly he also gets trapped lbw by Matt Milnes and we’re 6-1.
Luke Wells and Head perform a familiar pattern. They play ok and we make some runs, but they take far too long.
After 10 overs, were 28-1. Wells’ 15 is from 34 balls, Head’s 8 from 22.
I bellow to up the pace. Idiots.
The run rate has already crept to over 7.
The rage screaming works as Head hits Harry Podmore for 10.
Sadly, Stewart gets him lbw after he sneaks the strike at the end of the over. 37-2.
Wells, at least, tries to do what he’s told. He’s on 34 from 50 balls after I move his aggression up. He does really well before Robinson angles one across him, Podmore taking a great catch. 71-3.
7.9 an over needed.
Somewhat predictably, Bell-Drummond ties down both van Zyl and Munsey. The run rate spikes to 10.3.
The game see-saws – sometimes they take just enough runs to meet the run rate, other times they can’t get it away.
Munsey is eventually out to Bell-Drummond for 38 and this makes us 151-4.
169 to get at 11.2/an over.
Ben Brown – so good at shepherding the tail, so adaptable, gets a duck. 153-5.
Jenner decides to stick with the keepers union. 153-6.
Bell- Drummond on a hat trick.
He doesn’t get it.
But Stewart gets rid of Thomason anyway. Gone for 2. 156-7.
164 to get at 12.9/an over.
Olly Robinson – by no means a batsman – hits 9 before guess who takes his stump out. 165-8.
Henry castles van Zyl and that really signals whatever pathetic ember of a chance we had being extinguished. His 66 took 73 balls and was by far the best knock of the match for us. 180-9.
140 to get at 17.8 an over.
What chance Monty can do that, eh?
All out for 182. We lose this by 137.
It was a bad toss to lose – again – but I can’t help but think if we’d had even four of our injured or unavailable players we’d have made this a closer contest.
This was not a great Kent side and we’ve made them look like Bradman’s Invincibles.
I’m off for a gin and a lie down.