MCC Memories: 1985 Champion County Match


After looking at the 1984 MCC Champion County Match yesterday, today we turn out attention to the 1985 fixture, as Essex were once again County Champions.

Fixture: MCC v Essex
Date: Wednesday 24 April – Friday 26 April 1985
Venue: Lord’s
Result: Match Drawn

Match Report:

After winning the toss and deciding to bat first on a bright sunny morning, Essex skipper Keith Fletcher’s judgment appeared questionable as the ball moved around unnervingly both through the air and off the wicket.

On the first day, only 260 runs were scored in six hours play, and although Brian Hardie and Ken McEwan prospered, once they were out it was only Derek Pringle who played with any degree of confidence.

The all-rounder was removed just three runs short of a deserved half-century, but failed to receive meaningful support from his colleagues in the second half of the order, as Essex succumbed to the pace of Norman Cowans who exploited the helpful conditions to produce figures of 6 for 68 as Essex were all out for 162.

Pringle then proved the standout bowler in the Champions attack and used the conditions to worthwhile effect, as Martin Moxon and David Gower took the MCC side to 98-1 from 33 overs at the close of the opening day.

A biting wind and grey skies greeted the players on Day Two, making playing conditions far from pleasant. Gower had failed to add to his overnight score of 26 when he was caught behind off Pringle, but Mark Nicholas joined Moxon to post a stand worth 163 runs.

Facing an Essex attack without either John Lever or Neil Foster, Yorkshireman Moxon made a careful century spanning 278 minutes, directly in contrast to the free-playing Nicholas who struck one maximum and 20 other boundaries on his way to 121.

The Hampshire player eventually became another Pringle victim when he was caught by Graham Gooch whilst Moxon became the third of four catches for wicket-keeper David East.

MCC declared on 377-9 towards the end of the second day, but bad light prevented Essex from starting their second innings until the following morning.

Realistically with only a draw to play for and with Keith Fletcher now absent with a virus infection, Gooch and Paul Prichard made a positive start until both were removed either side of lunch. Brian Hardie went without troubling the scorers, but McEwan dominated the afternoon’s proceedings until he was dismissed just before tea.

At 178-5 and with one session remaining, MCC had a faint hope of victory, but those aspirations were dashed by a solid batting display from Keith Pont and East, who both played sensibly to save the game with an unbeaten partnership of 80.

Essex: 162 – D. Pringle 47, K. McEwan 41, B. Hardie 31 & 258-5 – K. McEwan 63, K. Pont 62*, P. Prichard 42, G. Gooch 41.

MCC: 377-9 declared – M. Nicholas 121, M. Moxon 104, C. Wells 37, R. Bailey 33.