Cricket: Fordham's patience provides the polish
Saturday 07 August 1993
JUST before 2.45, when we had seen 155 overs of seam bowling and two of spin - the mandatory appearance by Rob Bailey just before lunch on the first day - Essex decided that crisis point had been reached.
Northamptonshire were 117 behind with three wickets gone and Alan Fordham and Allan Lamb were building up a storm. The advertising board, in front of the scorebox, was in danger of being riddled by cannon-fire. What to do? Send for Charlie.
Six runs later Lamb, having scored 50 off 60 balls, cutting into that board from one end and on-driving into it from the other, stepped out to lift John Childs over the ring and there was mid-on, hands cupped, waiting. Mal Loye restored the advance for another 22 overs before he was stumped off 'Charlie' Childs and six runs later young Russell Warren was trapped; after so much muscle, Charlie's subtleties were Vivaldi after Motorhead.
That is perhaps too harsh a comment on some accurate and thoughtful work by Derek Pringle and John Stephenson on what is still a greenish pitch with some variation in lift at the pavilion end. Pringle had some moral victories over the day's central figure, Fordham, who contributed a polished century, his third of the season, to ensure that the Cobblers would take a lead.
Fordham might have been stumped and, at 123, he offered first slip a sharp chance off Steve Andrew but he rode his luck like the consummate professional he has become, playing the long innings like the sailor adapting to wind and water, patient for the tide to turn. He cut Don Topley over the slips for six, perhaps not entirely intentionally a la Johnny Tyldesley, but it was a stroke born of audacity and therefore to be applauded.
The England committee ought to be called before a justice of the High Court to explain why he has never even had an A tour; what Fordham should do is find a grandfather born in Rhodesia and blaze his name for Zimbabwe. Meanwhile, this was his 17th century for Northamptonshire since his debut in 1986.
A buccaneering knock from Kevin Curran helped take the score past 300 before Pringle came belatedly into his own just before and after the new ball, by which time Childs had been sent back to philosophise in the long grass. Curtly Ambrose then took a relish to the cherry and ended Essex's hopes of restarting with a small deficit.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal vs Monaco match report: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain goal provides little consolation as Berbatov and Monaco stun Gunners
Fabio Cannavaro given jail sentence: World Cup winning captain gets 10-months for swimming in pool
Charlton sex tape: is the #sextratime Vine real or just another publicity stunt?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Theo Walcott 'involved in spat' with fans after Champions League defeat
Financial Fair Play under threat: Brussels court case could potentially lead to rules being scrapped
- 1 Liam Gallagher brands Kanye West 'utter s**t' during BRIT Awards performance
- 2 Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
- 3 People who sleep more than eight hours are more likely to have a stroke, research shows
- 5 New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...
£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...