Squad get time in the middle for the final pre-season practice


Essex took advantage of the fine weather to hone their skills ahead of the start of the First Class season with an inter-club match at The Cloudfm County Ground on Wednesday and Thursday. This provided an opportunity to get some time out in middle before the ground opens to spectators on Sunday for the visit of Durham MCCU over three days.

The squad were split into two sides with a number of youngsters from the Academy, such as Jack Plom and Ben Allison, having the opportunity to impress alongside members of the First Team squad.

Alastair Cook scored an unbeaten 65, whilst Tom Westley scored 22 before he became one of two wickets for paceman Matt Dixon. Ashar Zaidi was stumped by Adam Wheater off the bowling of new recruit and off-spinner Simon Harmer but one of the most impressive knocks came towards the end of the innings. That was provided by Academy player Will Buttleman who struck 5 boundaries from the 19 deliveries he faced on his way to 25 not out as his side totalled 214. Apart from Dixon, there were also two wickets apiece for Aaron Beard and pace bowler Jack Plom, another Academy player. However, the pick of the attack was South African Harmer who returned 3 for 44 from 13 overs.

In response, their counterparts all enjoyed time in the middle as they ran up 303 for 8 by the close of the match. Varun Chopra led the list of scorers with 65 not out, Ryan ten Doeschate collected 37, Dan Lawrence 34, Callum Taylor retired with 33 runs to his name and Wheater was 28 not out in a score of 303 for 8. Ravi Bopara with 2-80 from 18 overs was chief wicket-taker.

Sunday’s match against Durham MCCU will begin at 11am with free entry for all spectators. Members Parking is available at Meteor Way for all three days of this fixture at £1 per car.

Photos – Nick Wood (www.unshaken-photography.co.uk)