So,after many months of waiting, it's here,the County Champions (that's us,if you didn't know by now) Vs a MCC
select eleven being played in Abu Dhabi.
Posh Margeret and myself took at taxi to the ground and after having more problems than Indiana Jones ever experienced,we got into the ground...up stairs down stairs a lift up and down again,we walked passed both dressing rooms, the umpires room and then a friendly local showed us to the outside...we found our goal!
The Zayad Cricket Stadium is in the middle of nowhere,apart from few building sites, a tent and some sand.
No charge,its free admittance to this game,the curtain raiser.
There are no scorecards, no PA,but if your lucky,you can get a team sheet,but this was only given to the tour party,sod the rest of you.
Anyway,MCC won the toss and decided to bat. The lads are looking very smart in the new Nike kit and has the wording "Middlesex vs MCC" with date and venue
Podmore from the Pavilion end,Helm from City end as no PA we gave the ends names.There is a county championship runners up feel,as Lyth and Lees open for MCC.
It's strange,you travel for 7 hours plus,to follow your club,to be told by an official tour chief we are NOT ALLOWED into their area,not even seen this guy at a single Middlesex game really but he knows it all,we sit swealtering all day,the only aircon place and we cannot get in!
Anyway,to the game again,and first wicket falls at 15-1 with lyth LBW Helm,Alshop is in,but goes wthout troubling the scores and 16-2.
Duckett now in. At this point,we discover a 'food shop' and its cheap,very cheap..Oh.Ravi Patel is bowling.
Duckett and Lees are now seeing the ball really well,although I did miss a dropped catch as Duckett is dropped by Eskinasi. Advancing,Duckett is 52 off 62 balls and Lees is 38 from 52 balls....109-2 it's now 125-3 as a Ravi wicket and Lees has gone,to be replaced by Clarke,2 overs to go for afternoon tea, if that's what its called.
2nd session. we have the spin twins of Malan and Ravi bowling,we find a food shop,at last...its tucked away in the corner surrounded by debris and puddles,but inside there are two fridges with cold drinks,no alcohol,with samosas,paratha,crisps etc. A wicket goes,140-4 Duckett is lbw Ravi for 69...back to the food,he cooks the food to order and it is rather nice and cheap,better than the tour!!
We chat away whilst watching the game...Is there an Abu Dhabi CC shop?,selling polo shirts,ties etc?..Doubt it comes the answer.
Robson now bowling,from the city end,looks like we are sharing the bowling about,he has a couple of overs before replaced by Mala.
At Dinner/Lunch/Supper its 230-5 and I go on the hunt for a club shop with complete success and return with two polo shirts,costing about £10 each,I'm telling the very helpful guy he will get a few more customers once word spreads!
Franko and Helm bowling into the 3rd session with run rate of 3.6 and we start about seeing the pink ball under lights,some seeing clearly,others finding it a problem.
Now,this ground is in the middle of nowhere and transport is difficult to arrange,we all decide to try and leave bit early as a 9pm finish might prove a problem,and it did,a taxi was ordered and not turning up.
Wickets start to fall,Gregory goes for 36,caught by Simmo b Ravi 36 and its 290-6
Plunkett is in next,as the new ball is taken by Harris,same time as the Mosques are calling for prayer,it's a haunting sound the goes on for some time.
Confident appeal for LBW on Clarke by Harris,it's given and he is gone for 89,the 5th LBW today.
At this point,we find a rare thing called a taxi and have to head back to Yas Marina as a good meal was wanted.
Hope this gives a view from the stands of how things are,with the cricket added as we go along!