Season One: Episode 31 – Worcestershire vs Sussex, Challenge Trophy

Season One: Episode 31 – Worcestershire vs Sussex, Challenge Trophy

This inferior version of cricket just goes on and on, doesn’t it? No wonder cricketers struggle with their mental health.


I don’t know what to do. Really. I can’t seem to buy a win, everyone is either injured or off travelling the world as mercenaries and David Wiese is still two weeks away from recovery.

Monty Panesar has taken two wickets in our two One Day games at 81.50.

Mitchell Claydon, usually so good in our four day format, has two wickets at 55. 

I think that’s called ‘buying’ your wickets.

Those two are swapped for Will Beer and Stuart Meaker respectively.

Hell, I basically have no other players to rotate anyway.

Amazingly, I win the toss. I’m batting first today and I’m telling the boys to go big or go home. I want runs compiled so heavy you have to move them with a shovel.

Sussex’s Innings:

Tom Haines and Luke Wells, inexplicably, seem to have listened.

They are patient but they also put away opening bowlers Charles Morris and Josh Tongue when they stray off line.

After 10 overs, we’ve moved to 48-0 and Haines has 26, Wells 22.

They leave Morris, on even though he’s basically crawling to the wicket with exhaustion. I pump up their aggression to try and milk them.

It doesn’t work. We take 5 off the over but there are also three not awful shouts to dismiss both batsmen.

Dillon Pennington has a good over but, bizarrely, Worcs leave on Morris for another over. We take 17 off him. 70-0.

I leave the aggression up, we have wickets in hand and the run rate is still only 5.3

Wells falls trying to pump Pennington to the boundary caught by Simi Singh. 72-1.

Travis Head continues where Wells left off and it is Haines who is next out. Pennington pins him back and dismisses him leg before wicket for 52. 99-2.

Head’s 50 duly arrives – from 54 balls – and we’ve moved to 158-2. 

This is as good a batting performance as we’ve put together this season but, as ever, the run rate is too low. 

5.3 an over won’t be enough. 

It’s never enough. 

Stiaan van Zyl and Head together at the wicket are definitely our strongest partnership. 

Van Zyl does fall eventually, also caught in the deep by Tongue off Eric March. 164-3, 20 overs left to go.

George Munsey makes a cameo 17 before nicking behind to Alex Milton off the bowling of March. 194-4.

Travis Head and Ben Brown put on some runs and Head makes his 100 from 90 balls, including 12 fours and four 6s. 240-4.

Brown falls prey to Singh for 20 reducing us to 249-5, before Jonty Jenner goes for 3. 260-6.

We end 263-6. Head’s 115 not out being an example of outstanding batting.

It’s a total a lot better than we have managed in a long time, but it’s pretty far short of the 300 you really need to put teams under pressure these days.

Worcestershire’s Innings:

New Zealander Hamish Rutherford and Daryl Mitchell are sent out to face the fire power of the mighty Sussex.

Or something.

I can’t help noticing that Head’s batting has left him pretty pooped. That’s problematic considering he’s been one of our best bowlers, too.

Rutherford is first man in. And out. Meaker smearing his stumps for 5. 5-1.

Meaker strikes again, as Mitchell gets his defensive shot in a tangle and the edge is taken by Brown. 15-2.

I bring on Aaron Thomason as Meaker and Olly Robinson finish their first spell of four overs.

Jake Libby really doesn’t enjoy the change: he’s gone lbw for 11 with Thomason’s first ball. 29-3.

Joshua Dell comes in to join Tom Fell, but Thomason ends with a wicket maiden. I’ll take that.

Will Beer takes the ball from the other end. The second ball of his second over sees Dell chip it to Jenner, and he’s gone for 1. 35-4.

Now, regular readers will know what is going to happen: I’m going to gloat and run around the balcony screaming and giving them the big send off.

Not so this time: I am calm and zen-like placidity itself. I usher the lads on at the drinks break with the quiet reassurance that “you can do this.”

Singh is next man in and, while we don’t immediately get him, I’m buzzing watching. His 6 runs take 21 balls, and their run rate spikes over 6.3.

God, it’s good to see it happen to another team.

We keep it quite tight and bowl well. Every bowler has an economy rate under 4, apart from Head and his off spin has travelled at 4.08 – hardly awful. 

With 20 overs left, Singh tries to sneak a single, the ball is fired back and the big Irishman is run out for 19 from 66 balls.

94-5 and 8.8 an over needed.

Fell has done pretty well and moved to 57, but my Zen-like calm is challenged when we drop him twice in an over. 

However, Meaker takes the decision out of the fielders’ hands by clean bowling March for 13. 

112-6, 9.3 an over.

Alex Milton makes his first notable contribution by getting dismissed for 0, 118-7.

I bring Thomason back on as Beer and Meaker use up all their overs. 

Fell falls victim to the big man, snicking behind to Jenner. The 26 year old made a handsome 76 but Worcestershire are now 134-8, need 11.3 an over and we’re into the tail proper.

This proves to be accurate when Thomason gets shot of Tongue next ball. 134-9.

I don’t wish to be alarmist or anything but I think we might win this.

I’d almost bet on us messing this up.

But we don’t! 

Robinson smashes out all three of Pennington’s stumps and …




We win – away, note – by 124 sweet, sweet runs.

This is so far ahead of any other performance that we have put together in one day cricket this season. I almost don’t know where to run.

Head is given the Man of the Match champagne, which he totally deserves, but his 115* goes well with his 8 overs, 2 maidens 0-32 at an economy rate of 4.

Honourable mentions should also go to Meaker’s 4-42 and Thomason’s 3-22.

We leap frog both Worcs and Gloucestershire to the dizzy heights of seventh with our 2 delightful points. 

More importantly, I fill the coach back to Hove with enough booze to wreck the careers of half the squad.


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