The second day opens with the pitch a delight and all set fair in the skies.
David Wiese and old Mitch Claydon get the nut, and we set the fields to throttle the Bens of Compton and Duckett. They both tick along solidly, a few singles, a few boundaries, 8 byes – which makes me feel like smashing the keeper in the head.
Eventually, George Garton and Ravi Bopara take the first change berth and Garton soon does the business.
Compton caught and bowled off the slower one for 18. 70-1, we lead by 125.
Christopher Nash donders out to the wicket. If I was Nash, I’d be extremely unhappy with how it ends. Which is with Duckett running me out for 7 out of nowhere.
Still, he’s not on my team.
So fuck ‘im. 97-2.
Lobbing Joe Clarke an off stump half volley four ball first nut up was generous of us wasn’t it? I seeth.
Claydon comes back on from the pavilion end. It works too – Clarke telling the tale as old as time, caught at insanely short leg by Delray Rawlins for 8. 105-3, a lead of 90.
We’ve played worse than this.
Samit Patel comes out to take the fight to us.
Claydon has quite the over to Mr Duckett. A play and miss a whisper from a nick, battered for a 4, dropped by some tit at slip, tapped for a single. Duckett lives for another day – worse luck.
I chuck Will Beer the orb. He usually makes something happen.
Here he makes our lead evaporate as Duckett bitch slaps him for 13.
Next over we tweak line and length, but Duckett duly arrives at his century. It’s come from 143 balls with 12 fours and a 6. They are 161-3, trailing by 34. It’s a top notch knock and I can be mad.
Well, I can. And obviously I consider poisoning him during lunch but still, the boy can bat.
Lunch. They are 187-3 and we lead by a paltry 8 runs. Day Two, Session Two is going to make or break this match.
I lob the ball to Wiese and Garton. We tinker with the field settings.
And my anal preparation bears fruit as Wiese does Duckett with the slower ball. Gone! For a 115 off 164 balls, but I’ll take what I can get here.
197-4, they’ve snuck into the lead by 2.
Haseeb Hameed looks to go hard early, and his partnership with Patel begins looking good.
Wiese looks like he’s beginning to blow. But I’ve been here before. “One more Davvy Boy!” I bellow from the boundary.
Patel duly rewards my positivity by chipping the cherry to Bopara at mid off. Gone for 42 off 56, Notts 216-5, leading by 21.
I don’t like cricket. I love it.
Steven Mullaney does go after us. But, heaven help us, our hero becomes Ravi Bopara who snares the 33 irritant lbw for 16. 252-6 and in the boss seat by 57.
Everyone’s favourite Scotsman, that isn’t languishing in my second XI, Calum MacLeod is next onto the block.
We tinker once again with our plans, set fields begging him to hit to his least preferred option of the onside. I ask Rawlins and Beer to twirl away.
We drop MacLeod. Of course.
It doesn’t really cost us too badly because – for no reason I can fathom – Hameed needlessly runs him out for 9 off 25.
“Get some of that, ya wee radge!” Someone who lives in Scotland screams from the balcony. 274-7.
S. Broad Esq – a handy number 9 with a test century to his name – wanders out.
“Smash his fucking teeth out!” A person not entirely unconnected to the club is heard to tell his fast bowlers.
I don’t really get a chance to follow through on this. Rawlins rips one, Broad does… terribly and he’s gone for a big, fat, golden duck. 275-8. “Cheers big man! Off you fuck.”
I focus on new batsman Luke Fletcher, who has the distinct whiff of the bunny to me. So, of course, Rawlins traps Hameed for 48 off 70 balls. Leg-End. 280-9.
Mohammed Abbas does ok. For seven balls.
Garton smashes his stumps out and he’s gone for 2.
All out for 290, a lead of 95, and this game is in the balance.
Sussex’s Second Innings:
We make it to tea. In fairness, it was 7 minutes but it was in no way a given with this team.
We begin to tootle along. Tom Haines survives a fairly decent leg before shout, but it was sliding down the leg side.
Evans is not so lucky. His feathered glance is taken by Duckett off Abbas, and he’s walking for 15 off 18. 36-1 and those chats I’ve had with the team over and over and over and over and over and… well, you know, I’m not sure they’re hearing me.
My early evening improves no end when Haines is clean bowled by Abbas for 23 off 37. 43-2.
This brings together my so-much-better-than-I-deserve middle order delight of Stiaan van Zyl and Travis Head.
The pair move us to a rather handy 70-2 before Fletcher swings one in and van Zyl misjudges it. Out for 19. 74-3 and Notts still lead by 21 runs.
At the other end is Ravi.
So, naturally, very soon – six balls to be precise – there is not Ravi at the other end. I ask in all seriousness, what the fuck do you do with a player who has a First Class career batting average of 39.76, who this season is not only averaging 28.14 but also gets out Every. Time. At. The. Worst. Possible. Time.
He’s like a one man morale sapping vacuum in the middle order. End of this season, I’m sacking him.
However, Delray Rawlins and Head partner up and move us over the century as well as edge us into the lead.
This pair stabilise us and guide us through to the close of play 127-4, a lead of 32.