Leicestershire v Essex, Grace Road, County Championship, 24 July (day 4)

Yet again I shake my skinny fists at the weather gods (the BBC – no  doubt in some Government-inspired attempt at disinformation – have shown a large black cloud spewing forth rain over Leicester) and head off to Grace Road.

Now – bugger excitement, bugger glamour – this is county cricket in the raw.   The fourth day of a County Championship match.  It’s already rained for a day and a half, so a result is highly improbable.  Essex have scored 420-ish and declared.  Leicestershire are 60-odd for three when I arrive. 

The rest of the day – in between brief showers – is typical of a lot of county cricket, almost like listening to ambient  music – but with a brief period of play when everyone sits up and takes notice.

This occurred today when Leicestershire were near the end of their first innings – 170-ish for 9.  James Taylor was “joined at the wicket” by no. 11 Harry Gurney.  His (JT)’s  intention must have been to try to avoid the follow on – a very distant ambition – and achieve another century.  There followed a wonderful display of off and cover drives, mixed in with some fierce hooks off very short pitched bowling (though anything short-pitched tends to ping over JT’s  head – he must be about 5 foot 3).

Eventually though he mistimed slightly and was caught on the boundary for 88.  Potentially an England player though, I think.  Hope he doesn’t go the same way as Stuart Broad – i.e. into the England squad, but away from Leicestershire.

Eventually Leicestershire had to follow on, lost a few wickets – but hands were shaken as there was no prospect of a result (apparently – I’d have thought Essex were still in with a chance.)

Noticeable incidents on the way back from the ground –

1.  Opposite the bus stop, a discarded crutch  lying in the middle of the  busy main road.  The cause – a terrible accident?  a miracle? 

2. Walking past the offices of a building society a 30-ish Indian woman, pregnant, dressed in a business suit – apparently, perhaps, the manager of the branch – asks me for “20 or 30p to buy a cup of tea”.  Possibly a scam, possibly the “credit crunch” really taking hold.

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