Graham Napier bags seven wickets

Thurrock Gazette: Seven wickets for Napier Seven wickets for Napier

CRICKET: GRAHAM Napier claimed seven wickets to put Essex in the driving seat against Cambridge UCCC on day two of their friendly at Fenners ground.

Napier took 7-21 from a nine-over spell, three of which were maidens, as the students were skittled out for 90 in reply to Essex’s 300-9 declared first innings total.

But it was Tymal Mills who claimed the first wicket, bagging Adil Arif LBW for a duck.

Napier struck in his first over to have Nipuna Seneratne caught behind by captain James Foster for six to leave the students rocking on 8-2.

Napier then took out Tom Elliott’s off stump after he made six runs as Cambridge limped to 16-3 as the two teams went in for lunch.

Colchester-born Napier resumed his demolition job after the interval with two quick wickets.

He bowled Harry Ellison for a duck before claiming the scalp of opening batsman James Johnson, who hit five runs from his 41 balls before being caught by wicketkeeper Foster off a Napier delivery.

Cambridge limped to 53 runs before Napier snared Yates LBW for nine and then Ravi Bopara snagged Shazhad LBW for 16 as the University stood at 68-7.

But the wickets continued to fall and Monty Panesar had Pollock caught – by Ben Foakes – for seven runs and, although the impressive Adam Mansfield pushed his score up to 31, the students always looked vulnerable. And when Napier came back into the attack another wicket fell.

With only his second delivery he bowled Tom Sadler and then Napier wrapped up the innings.

He bowled Barton to bring his bowling figures to 7-21 and leaving Cambridge in tatters at 90 all out.

With a lead of 210, Essex opted to bat again and Alastair Cook and Jaik Mickleburgh began the job of amassing runs.

By tea they were nine without loss and after an hour with the bat the Essex openers had amassed 86 with Cook looking confident on 42 and Mickleburgh on 30.

It was only when Mickleburgh fished at a wider delivery and was caught at second slip that the partnership was halted. He had score 37 of an opening wicket stand of 97 (with Cook just run shy of his 50) but his replacement, Tom Westley, was not in for long and went for six runs. But with Cook reaching an 88-ball half century – including eight boundaries – Essex’s spirits were high. At the close of play Essex were 130 for 2 with Cook on 57 and Ravi Bopara on 11. Essex have an overall lead of 340.

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