Parry bright amid the gloom
Essex 226 and 203 for 3 (Cook 60, Mickleburgh 53*) lead Lancashire 177 (Cross 45, Phillips 3-20) by 252 runs
Spinners traditionally have to learn patience as a key part of their armoury before they can become effective at the top level, in which case Stephen Parry has all the attributes to finally establish himself in Lancashire's Championship line-up.
Four years after his last Championship appearance against Durham at Old Trafford, the 27-year-old has been given a rare opportunity again and although Essex have dominated the match, he is grateful for the chance to impress. He bowled 13 wicketless overs during a morning session in which Essex extended their lead to 252 runs, before rain washed out the remainder of the day and gave him time to reflect on his brighter future.
For the last few years he has been behind the experienced Gary Keedy, who has now departed for Surrey, while Simon Kerrigan's performances have been such that he is now a regular member of the England Lions team, who are currently playing New Zealand in Leicester. Parry, who became increasingly disgruntled, was restricted to appearances for the one-day team.
"It did get frustrating especially when your performances mounted up in the second team," said Parry, who finished the day with figures of 0 for 37 from 16 overs, finding turn and bounce from the Pavilion End.
"In Peter Moores' defence it has been difficult because Simon has come in and done really well and Gary Keedy has been a great performer over the years. It is difficult and it's a bit like the wicketkeeper role, where there is only one spot. It did affect me for a little bit and to be fair to the club they have recognised that and realised that I'm younger than Gary and maybe I've got more to give in the future."
Parry's frustration was such that he has discussed moving on or going out on loan to further his career. "We've had a lot of chats about me going out on loan and I was obviously close to moving on at some points because I'm 27 now," he said.
"I do look at a lot of spinners around the country and see them playing every week and believe I'm as good, or better than some of these guys that are doing well. That's where it does get frustrating but I don't think we'd be as good if we didn't have that internal competition between the spinners. If you only have one spinner on the staff there is no competition but when it's tough you're always trying to fight for a place.
"I'm not going to play every game at the moment, but there is more light at the end of the tunnel and that's great for your home county that you love playing for. I only grew up four miles down the road in Denton and I didn't really want to go anywhere else. It's a tough position to be in when you're heart is here but your head is telling you to go somewhere else, but I'm starting to see some rewards now."
Although Alastair Cook edged behind in the fourth over for 60, Essex added an unbroken 71 for the fourth wicket, Jaik Mickleburgh recording a half-century on his first appearance this season. Despite a handy lead and wickets in hand, a poor forecast for Friday may prevent chances of a positive result.