July 3, 2001

Richardson running into better form in England

It was almost as if New Zealand had taken over the picturesque Thames Valley village of Datchet on Sunday.

Mark Richardson, Datchet's overseas summer signing, had struggled for runs after an early season century.

But his outstanding progress as an international player was demonstrated in last week's first innings 64 not out as he carried his bat for the MCC against mighty Australians at Arundel.

International opposition also brought out the best in Richardson in Sunday's game against London New Zealand. He hit 50 with five fours and a five and told Cricinfo, "The format's not really my style, so I thought I'd last 20 overs then give it a go."

Give it a go he did, but unfortunately for him Hamish Marshall, the other Black Cap playing, caught the opener on the long-off boundary.

Richardson is at Datchet until the end of the season, having not been selected for the one day team for Sri Lanka. He is coaching the Colts, and "trying to do my best" in the Saturday Thames Valley competition, as well as keeping fit for the New Zealand season.

"It's a good excuse to get over here," he revealed. "The cricket's good and I'm training hard."

Last year a Chris Cairns XI played a Lance Cairns team for a benefit match in Datchet. In 1999 Courtney Walsh began his run up in a neighbouring garden for his benefit game.

Hamish Marshall made 24 in this game, watched by brother James and a horde of OE Kiwis, enjoying sunshine, barbecues and Crowded House.

London New Zealand sneaked home by two wickets, making 221/8 in reply to Datchet's 220/6.