Fenner's: Cambridge University drew with Warwickshire
Concerns over the wicket-keeping position over-shadowed Warwickshire's preparations for the start of their Championship campaign at Hove tomorrow.
The team had to press a second-team spinner into service behind the stumps yesterday and face the prospect of blooding an untried youngster in a tough opening match against Sussex.
Denmark keeper Fred-die Klokker will travel with the squad to Hove today and, should Frost fail a fitness test, could make his first-class debut. The Bears are loath to risk aggravating Tim Ambrose's injury but he, too, will undergo a fitness test today and could travel to Hove as well.
"Both our keepers are unfit," Mark Greatbatch, the coach, told The Post. "Hopefully in the next 12 to 24 hours there will be an improvement as we'd rather play one of our pros. At the moment I really couldn't tell you which of the three could play."
It was the unlikely figure of Nick James who donned the wicketkeeping gloves yesterday morning. The young left-arm spin-ner was scheduled to train with the squad anyway and was seen as a preferred candidate rather than risking injury to another member of the Championship squad.
A pretty good job did James did, too. He was straight into the action, accepting a chance off the first ball of the day, and taking a second catch four deliveries later. Geraint Jones could certainly have fared no better.
James kept wicket at school but had not had any experience at all in the last year as the left-arm spin that was good enough to take him to the Under-19 World Cup took precedence.
He will not, however, be considered for the role tomorrow.
The keeping issue aside, Warwickshire go into the Championship season in fine fettle. Alex Loudon's century at Lord's could prove to be a watershed in a career that has threatened much for some time while the bowlers improved noticeably for their work-out in Cambridge.
Heath Streak, though suffering a heavy cold, was unplayable for a fair portion of the morning, James Anyon looks to have grown in stature and pace and Neil Carter bowled well without reward. Indeed, not only did Carter suffer the pain of two straightforward dropped catches in the slips - Dougie Brown the guilty man on each occasion - but he also beat the bat numerous times.
It was Anyon that struck twice in the opening over. His first delivery bounced and left Zoheb Sharif before Kunal Jogia followed one he would have been better leaving.
Tom Savill organised the home side's resistance with 56 off 67 balls. With the ball swinging prodigiously, bat beat ball regularly but some calculated aggression ensured that all Warwickshire's bowlers benefited from an extended bowl.
The 22-year-old Savill looks a decent all-rounder. This is his fifth year in the Cambridge side - presumably he keeps failing his exams - and he was released after two summers with Middlesex. But he could yet break into the professional game.
He showed character, too. A fearsome blow on the side of the head from a Carter bouncer forced him to retire hurt on 16 but he returned later to drive Anyon for a straight six and complete the second half-century of his career.
Warwickshire eschewed the opportunity to enforce the follow-on in order to gain more batting practice. Michael Powell was bowled by a beauty that swung back in but Jim Troughton looked in fine touch.
Ian Westwood was again d ropped early in his innings. In the first innings he survived a chance before he had scored, this time he was on four when he edged a good one he had to play from impressive left-armer Brendan Smith.
He leaves the match having scored more than 150 runs for one dismissal but is unlikely to find c ounty opposition so forgiving.