Warwickshire turn to forgotten man of Essex
Sussex 278-7 v Warwickshire
Wednesday 28 August 2013
One way or another, hardly a week has gone by without Warwickshire's defence of their 2012 County Championship title finding some obstacle standing in its way, whether in the form of key players injured or lost to international duty, or the chance of a win stolen from them by the weather.
In the last month, in which potential wins over Yorkshire and Somerset have been snatched away, they have suffered all three, losing Chris Woakes and Boyd Rankin to England duty in addition to the long-term absentees Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott.
Then they welcomed Woakes back only for him to damage a thigh muscle and join an injury list that already included Chris Wright, Oliver Hannon-Dalby, Rikki Clarke, Jim Troughton and even Richard Jones, a seam bowler signed on loan from Worcestershire last week but already sidelined with a chest muscle strain. That necessitated another dip into the loan market on the eve of their latest increasingly forlorn attempt to stay mathematically in touch with this summer's title race – hence the presence of a man in a nameless shirt in the starting XI, whose identity was revealed by the scorecard as Maurice Chambers, the Essex bowler who earned an England Lions call-up after taking 38 first-class wickets at 23.92 in 2010 but who has not featured for Essex since April.
Chambers had become a fringe figure at Chelmsford, where the Essex coach Paul Grayson, had been at a loss to explain the 25-year-old's failure to achieve consistency in his performances, although on today's evidence perhaps all that was needed was a change of scenery. Generating a lively pace and maintaining good control, Chambers was unlucky to be wicketless after his opening spell but came back to break an opening Sussex partnership of 121 when he trapped Chris Nash leg before, sparking a collapse by the visitors in which he played his part with two further wickets.
Chambers will remain at Edgbaston for the rest of the season, a move with echoes of Wright's arrival here at the end of the 2010 campaign, when he came from Essex on loan, did well enough to earn a contract and blossomed as Warwickshire's key bowler in their title-winning campaign. Time will tell whether Chambers treads a similar path. Nottinghamshire are thought to be looking at him to strengthen their resources but Warwickshire would surely let him go only reluctantly if he rediscovers his form.
Sussex, lacking Luke Wright, lost seven wickets for 74 runs after opting to bat first and with a short boundary on the Rea Bank side. It appeared they had squandered half-centuries from Nash and Luke Wells until pace bowler Chris Jordan – named in England's squad for the first time for the one-dayers against Australia – led a recovery with his sixth half-century.
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