Essex beat the Netherlands by 117 runs.
To Castle Park! …on Sunday afternoon for the Colchester Festival of Cricket. Having played out a four-day draw against Glamorgan in the County Championship, Essex County Cricket Club welcomed the Netherlands to Castle Park on Sunday for the livelier CB40 afternoon match.
Our Dutch friends brought plenty of colour, some adventurous batting and the odd dodgy barnet under the watchful eye of Jumbo peering down from the Sunny Colch landscape. Put simply: Castle Park looked absolutely beautiful. The old manual scoreboard set the scene for a sedate day out in Sunny Colch. The runs were soon ticking over…
But not before Mark Pettini was bowled for a duck, just as a… flock of geese flew over the Castle Park wicket.
Quack quack OOPS, etc.
A big innings was needed from Ravi Bopara. The scorecard reads: c Barresi, b Bukhari for 1.
The Castle Park pitch had plenty of runs in it, although not for the two batsmen high up the Essex order. The humid conditions were also ideal for both spin and seam bowling, setting up a Sunny Colch afternoon of high drama.
Tom Westley anchored the Essex innings with an impressive 59; Owais Shah picked up where his fellow England colleague Bopara failed with a knock of 44. Ten Doeschate kept the old boy using a broom handle [TRUE!] to operate the old scoreboard busy with a brisk 52. The standout innings for Essex came from James Foster with a superb 79.
The largest cheer of the afternoon came for the Sunny Colch returning hero, Graham Napier. Strolling out to bat at his hometown club during his benefit year, the Essex player didn’t disappoint with a steady knock of 35.
And so with a 315 run chase set for the Dutchies, it was time to… stroll around the boundary during the interval.
Essex CCC understands the true value of the cricket festivals that take the club out into the community. Away from the Chelmsford HQ base, there is a much more relaxed atmosphere around the ground.
Sunny Colch cricket lovers were encouraged to take bat and ball on to the outfield for a late afternoon knock about under the backdrop of Jumbo. Essex players came out for a stretch and joined in with the banter and conversations.
315 is a mighty high ask for any away side, especially so for one that has had to travel over land and sea just to get to Sunny Colch. It was never a realistic run chase for our friends from the Netherlands, although the opening order gave it a mighty good effort with some aggressive early batting.
The afternoon concert at the Castle Park bandstand calmed the ambience down slightly, and then just as the Sunny Colch sun was starting to disappear somewhere over Highwoods, the last notes of the Netherlands innings were played out.
The away side fell short by 117 runs; the cricket lovers of Sunny Colch celebrated a home win and confirmation that there is still an appetite for the county game in Colchester.
James Foster and the ever-entertaining Harbhajan Singh were joint Man of the Match.
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