Magoffin on fire at chilly Aigburth
Steve Magoffin may not have found temperatures at Aigburth to his liking, but the Australian seamer could hardly have wished for a better performance on his Sussex debut.
Recruited by the south coast side as an overseas player, initially for the first two months of the county season, Magoffin returned outstanding match figures of 9-55 as Michael Yardy’s side romped to a 10-wicket win over reigning LV= County Champions Lancashire.
Conditions in Liverpool, particularly on a chilly final day, were not exactly similar to what the 32-year-old had experienced in Australia over the winter as he helped Queensland to glory in the Sheffield Shield.
Yet Magoffin was still able to produce the stand-out bowling display, following up two opening-day wickets with 7-34 in Lancashire’s second innings.
“It’s always good to perform well when you come over to a new side and to be able to contribute to a win was a good feeling,” he said after proceedings had been brought to a close on the third afternoon.
“I’m here for a few months at the moment so I’m looking forward to just contributing to the team. What I tried to do in this game was bowl maidens and build pressure and form part of the bowling unit.”
“That’s pretty much what my skills are I suppose, I just try to land the ball on the same spot each time.”
Asked about the weather in the north west, a smiling Magoffin replied: “That’s pretty much as cold as it gets!
“It was about 40 degrees and humid the last game I played at the Gabba in the (Sheffield Shield) final, so that was something else out there. It took a while to get going, it was very cold.
“When you are bowling it’s quite good and you can probably bowl longer spells than normal, but it’s the hour or so in between spells when you’re in the field and things start to stiffen up and tighten up.
“And there’s the fingers as well; you’re hoping the ball doesn’t come to you too quick in case you break a couple of knuckles.”
Ashwell Prince, Lancashire’s overseas player, was more positive when it came to the lack of warmth, which also represented a sharp contrast to the heat he is accustomed to in his native South Africa
“We had a chuckle in the slips,” he revealed. “Paul Horton was saying how cold he was and I said that I would rather field 100 overs in this weather than in 50 degrees back home all the time.
“They would like more sun and I’m quite happy to be in this weather.”
Thankfully for Magoffin, temperatures should soon perk up, although it remains to be seen whether he will extend his stay with Sussex into the heart of the English summer.
“I’m signed until June,” he explained. “Obviously I have commitments in Australia next season at some point in time, so that’s something we’ll cross later in the year if needs be, as to whether I stay here a little bit longer or whether Queensland want me to come home and complete their pre-season.”
For the time being, he is simply happy to be back in England, having enjoyed short stints with Surrey and Worcestershire in 2007 and 2008 respectively.
“It was late-March that I got the call to say the qualification scenario for myself had changed, with my wife (who he met during his time with Worcestershire) being British,” he added.
“There was a way that Sussex were able to get me over to play on a spouse visa as an overseas player.
“That was great, because I haven’t played over here for four years and I’ve been wanting to come back and play, but obviously I’ve been restricted by having not being able to play international cricket.”