MCC v Warwicks, Champion County Match, Abu Dhabi, 3rd day March 26, 2013

Denly leads MCC fightback

ESPNcricinfo staff

MCC 130 (Wright 5-35, Hannon-Dalby 3-30) and 308 for 4 (Denly 119*, Northeast 89, Trego 57*) trail Warwickshire 561 for 6 dec by 123 runs

Joe Denly struck an unbeaten century to bring an element of competition to the Champion County match against Warwickshire in Abu Dhabi. After being made to follow on, Sam Northeast and Peter Trego also added half-centuries as MCC closed 123 runs behind with six second-innings wickets standing.

Having resumed in a parlous state on 73 for 7, MCC were dismissed for 130. Denly returned after retiring with illness earlier in the innings and top-scored with 47, putting on 52 with James Middlesbrook, before Oliver Hannon-Dalby took the last two wickets to fall in consecutive deliveries. Denly was quickly back out in the middle, as Jimmy Adams departed for 4, but a 156-run partnership for the second wicket with Northeast helped ease MCC away from total embarrassment.

"It's been a good day," Denly said. "I was disappointed to get out in the first innings the way I did, but I was very happy to spend some time out there second time around and get some runs. I didn't really notice any change in the conditions during the day. Under the lights it skidded on a bit quicker, but this actually helped it to come on the bat quite nicely. In terms of the ball moving sideways or swinging, it was pretty consistent all day."

Chris Wright, who claimed 5 for 35 in the first innings, removed Northeast on the brink of tea and Dale Benkenstein fell to the first ball after the resumption but Denly batted gamely on and was involved in an unbroken stand of 79 with Trego during the evening session. The MCC batsmen were not unduly troubled second time around, although they still have some work to do to avoid defeat after conceding a first-innings deficit of 431.

"If we can get another couple of big partnerships tomorrow to keep them out in the field for a bit longer, hopefully we can come away with a positive result," Denly said.

Warwickshire were forced to bring on Peter McKay as a substitute wicketkeeper after Tim Ambrose sustained a strain early in MCC's second innings, while left-arm spinner Paul Best also left the field with a back injury after bowling just eight overs and taking the wicket of Adams.

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  • Mark on March 27, 2013, 16:22 GMT

    It is hard to know the real attendence because only a fraction of the spectators pay at the gate. At county games, a large fraction of the attendance is members and there is no control of how many have entered. There are figures published at the end of season for total Championship attendance, but I think that it is only paying patrons. Yorkshire, I know, regularly get in a few thousand and can have 5000+ for a big game at a weekend. The MCC v Champion county game really has a tiny attendance - literally a couple of dozen - but then it is not pitched at the local cricketing public anyway.

    What I can say is from my experience attending CC1 and CC2 games recently I was surprised just how large the attendances were. At Chester-le-Street the ground really was quite full. At The Oval too, the members area and the stands that were open were pretty crowded and there must have been at least 1000-1500 spectators for the last day of a mid-table CC2 game. Lords was not so busy.

  • Sanjay on March 27, 2013, 11:24 GMT

    @Bigglesworth Tony: It's a pity they don't keep records for attendances as they do in football, and the comms team rarely point out how many in the crowd. Yday, I listened to a few minutes of the radio commentary and I could hear some clapping as the players walked back at the end of the day's play. Mind you, it might have been the team mates. I wonder how many of the locals would be interested in this game.

  • Sanjay on March 27, 2013, 0:13 GMT

    Finish 'em off early 2morrow, Jim......then again, it's freezing cold in Blighty. Best you stay out in there as long as possible.

  • Dummy4 on March 26, 2013, 23:33 GMT

    How many thousands of spectators have been attracted to this match?

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