MCC Memories: 1992 Champion County Match


One of the rewards for being crowned County Champions is to open the season with a prestigious fixture against a representative side, nowadays MCC.

However, when Essex were crowned Champions in 1991, they found themselves playing against England A instead.

Fixture: England A v Essex
Date: Monday 13 April – Thursday 16 April 1992
Venue: Lord’s
Result: Match Drawn

Match Report:

The England A side was restricted to players that had been chosen for the A team tour of the West Indies, but as a trial for the full international side.

The fixture potentially could have caused a dilemma for Keith Fletcher, who was Manager of the England A team and guru to the Essex side. However, the match proceeded in a calm manner averting any possible accusations of bias for the former Essex Captain.

For the second consecutive year, the earliest starting day for first-class cricket brought in bitterly cold winds with a dire forecast. England A won by the toss and capitalised on the short 50-yard boundary on the Tavern side at Lord’s.

Darren Bicknell struck 18 fours and one six and matched the performance of Michael Atherton the previous year when he scored a century on April 13th, the earliest ever in England.

England A skipper Martyn Moxon, obviously preferring the warmth of the dressing room to the elements outside, delayed the declaration until lunch on the second day. With Gooch unavailable through sickness, Mike Garnham was promoted to open the batting with Paul Prichard, but the wicket-keeper was dismissed without score on a rain-affected day.

The third day was totally washed out and bad light and further rain prevented any further play until 2:15pm on the final day, allowing a number of Essex batsmen to enjoy valuable time in the middle.

Waugh, who had learned of his selection for the Australian team to tour Sri Lanka ironically to the exclusion of his brother Steve, enlivened proceedings with a wonderful cameo, hitting 61 in 69 balls during a 76-run partnership with Gooch.

Other Essex batsmen to flourish in the match were Gooch, who recovered from his earlier illness to avert the hat-trick after Hussain’s dismissal, and all-rounder Derek Pringle.

The pair went on to share a partnership of 113 and after Gooch was removed for 75, Pringle
completed his first century for almost four years, which came from 173 balls and included 14 boundaries. He was rewarded for his efforts by being named the Man of the Match.

A lively 50-minute innings from Neil Foster underlined his claims to be considered as a genuine all-rounder before Gooch declared to bring the game to a conclusion ten minutes before the scheduled close of play.

England A: 456-7 declared – D. Bicknell 115, M Moxon 72, P. Johnson 53.

Essex: 317-8 declared – D. Pringle 102*, G. Gooch 75, M Waugh 61.