I can hardly be surprised that a match where both sides scored over 500 in their first innings ended in a draw, and in the end it was a million miles from being anything but. However at various points through the day it seemed like we might be able to force the issue. It was not to be.
Just as we were scuppered in Cardiff by Meaker's cruelly timed injury, here too his injury appears to have counted heavily against us. It was a manful effort from Gareth Batty in particular who toiled away for 33 overs on a pitch for the batsman, and returned 3-75. He now has 17 wickets at 32 and 250 runs at 50 for the season. That Yasir Arafat and Chris Tremlett returned a third of the number of wickets (and twice as many no balls) our part timers did says much about how we were missing an enforcer. And to anyone who says no balls are just part and parcel of fast bowlers trying to bowl fast and we shouldn't dwell on them too much - Chris Wright would've been back in the hutch and Essex nine down with the target at just 280 if Tremlett hadn't over-stepped the mark.
In truth though it is unfair to blame any one player in particular for a failure to win this match. Pitches like the one at Whitgift do us no favours at all. I'm sure the 30 overs of pace bowling on a rock hard pitch young Stuart Meaker's body had to go through on days one and two contributed to his injury. We know face the prospect of the next couple of games without any of Dernbach, Tremlett and Meaker himself. This is a real concern.
We are hard to beat these days, no question. They could have crumbled in the face of 548 runs, but a sparkling hundred from the skipper and contributions from down the order ensured we did not. A message though to the groundsman at Guildford, the next outground we go to, please put some life in the wicket.