County Championship Division One, The Oval, close, day two: Surrey 351 v Sussex 204-2
The fag end of the day at Michael Faraday and cricket came-a-calling. ‘Aint it always the case, Comrades.
And so a full on day playing in the LOVELY SE17 Nursery, and then the short postcode hop over to SE11. It wasn’t quite the Nursery End at The Oval; that comes next month when we make the majestic trip to HQ, art deco toilets et al, dahhhling.
And so Day 2 of Surrey Vs Sussex and it was hard work for the ‘rrey out in the South London sun. Something of a BATTING DAY, which works both ways on a wicket that is a bit of a bugger for the bowlers.
Pleased to report that the Surrey Cricket post-tea friendly pauper’s policy is still in place. A polite wave to Mr Gate Man and the job’s a good ‘un, all for the price of simple sum that the Nursery kids mastered earlier in the day:
0 + 0 = NOTHING.
Surrey seemed content to see out the day with as little effort as possible. This was also my motto some eight hours earlier. Chasing down [yeah, right] Surrey’s first innings knock of 351, I arrived fashionably late in the fashion abyss that is the Peter May Stand. Sussex were on 128-2, with 22 overs remaining in the session.
The grand old Peter May has been the scene of many lost South London summers of carnage past. Thursday couldn’t quite compete with the Great Booze Black Out of ’98, but the old boy was looking slightly tired and emotional.
Discarded sausage rolls, cans of Carlsberg and the SE11 pigeons seeking a crafty shag in between overs. The Oval experience is a lesson in life’s great survival skills. Last man standing on a sticky wicket takes home the spoils. And the discarded sausage rolls.
A little tired and emotional myself, I sat back to soak up a South London suntan. An operatic appeal from Tim Linley soon livened things up. The Viscount slid along the sacred Oval turf like Springsteen playing to the crowd at Madison Square Gardens.
Born to Run, etc, which was most certainly the case for Luke Wells of Sussex, who stood his ground and continued to turn over the runs.
I was in need of some context; I was in need of some cricketing analysis. I needed two blokes in the commentary box banging on about past glories on the dance floor at the Clap’ham Grand.
And whaddya know – Church and Barran came to the rescue via the @surreycricket commentary. Some slight technicals followed. The modern interweb was streaming the ball-by-ball via my fancy phone. It’s so fancy that it means that it has invented time travel, delivering commentary about 15 seconds behind the real world.
By the time the Linley operatic appeal had been described in great glory, the next ball was already making its way to The Oval boundary. Being a delivery behind the pace would be perfect for any big screen replays. Otherwise it’s just an irritant, albeit a pleasant one.
Not that there was a great deal of detail to describe out in the middle. Sussex seemed happy to tick over the old scoreboard at the same pace that I ticked over my next tinnie.
This was a game of patience being played out, something that was also the case for any teaching staff in the ground earlier in the day when 5,000 South London school kids had a day out at The Oval.
Jade Dernbach was brought back into the attack, but his death bowling doesn’t quite suit the four-day format. 150 turned over on the scoreboard with 15 overs remaining in the day. A close of play score of 165 come stumps wouldn’t have been unreasonable.
Time to liven up The Oval attack. Chris Tremlett was unleashed from the Vauxhall End as the first shadows were cast from the newly opened Corinthians Roof Terrace bar. Or should that be that the Corinthians Roof Terrace bar was unleashed under the shadow of the Surrey bowling attack?
Luke Wells made a late move for his century, knocking up a fine 100 that makes the Friday morning session rather interesting.
It all then got slightly psychogeographic with Oval memories of old come the close of play. It all got slightly tired and emotional. Anyone seen my discarded sausage roll?
And so Surrey headed back to the pavilion with Sussex looking strong on 204-2. There’s talk of a return visit to South London on Saturday, run rate and weather allowing.