Wicketkeeper White 'loving it' at Essex with Eagles facing vital one-day spell
PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 April 2019
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Robbie White should have been looking forward to a gentle game of club cricket this weekend, before packing his coffin for a week on the Isle of Wight with Middlesex seconds.
Instead, he will be attempting to help kick-start Essex's faltering Royal London One-Day Cup campaign at Somerset today (Friday).
White is on a two-month secondment with the Eagles and has impressed greatly while on-staff wicketkeepers Adam Wheater and Michael Pepper recover from operations on thumb and appendix.
Their 23-year-old replacement has not missed much behind the stumps in his three 50-over outings and one Specsavers County Championship appearance to date, during which time he has taken a dozen catches and three stumpings.
“I'm absolutely loving it,” he reports. “It all came out of the blue, so it's been a whirlwind few weeks. The chance to play regular first-team cricket was something I was desperate for at this point. So as soon as I heard there was an opportunity to play week-in, week-out, and learn on the job, I jumped at it.
“Even just training and getting involved with the squad is going to make me a better player. So if I can go back to Middlesex having gained from that experience, having learnt from some of the senior players in the dressing room, it can only help me in my career.”
After Taunton today, it's back at Chelmsford against Hampshire on Sunday (11am) rather than a match for home-town club Ealing and a ferry ride to the Isle of Wight to play Hampshire IIs at Newport from Monday onwards.
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Two defeats, after an opening win at Glamorgan, have left Essex struggling as they approach the halfway mark of the white-ball competition, and White added: “I know this one-day campaign is something they're really focused on. If I can help the guys so they are going into the last few games with a fighting chance of getting through to the knockout stages, that will be fantastic.”
White's arrival at Chelmsford has given him another chance to team up with Essex seamer Sam Cook and revive the scorebook entry of 'caught White bowled Cook' from days as team-mates at Loughborough University.
“I had two really good years on the MCCU scheme with Sam, so I know him and his game really well. I always enjoy keeping to him; I always feel I'm in the game when he's bowling. It's been nice to rekindle that combination.
“It's been amazing to see how well he's done since I left Loughborough. I've been in contact with him consistently for the last year or two since we've been out of uni. I was messaging him frantically over the days when this loan was on the cards.”
A new entry in the 'how out' column on the scorecard has been 'stumped White bowled Lawrence'. Two of White's stumpings have been on behalf of Dan Lawrence's part-time off-spin taken out of mothballs for an extended run in the 50-over format.
Lawrence freely describes his output as 'filth', and White added: “I'm not really enjoying keeping to him, to be honest! But he has bowled really well. He bowls at a good pace and despite his rather dodgy action he gets really good shape on the ball. He's bowled a lot at the death in the last few games, so he's taken on quite a difficult role and done it really well.”
White's two-month sojourn is up at the start of June after which the old Harrovian will return with added vigour to mount a credible challenge to John Simpson's reign as Middlesex gloveman.
“He's performed consistently for the last 10 years or so and earnt his spot,” said White. “But once I'm back I will be doing all I can to try and put in performances that will get noticed. You've got to be ready with your game, and comfortable that if you do get the chance you make the most of it.”