MATCH PREVIEW | Kent Spitfires v Essex Eagles


Essex Eagles conclude the qualifying matches in the Royal London One-Day Cup when they make the trip to Canterbury to take on Kent Spitfires in the latest Battle of the Bridge encounter between the two adversaries.

The Eagles have named a 14-man squad that includes Neil Wagner although fellow pace bowler Matt Quinn is rested as part of his recovery plan from injury.

The visitors need only one point to secure a semi-final home tie although they are guaranteed at least a place in the quarter-final regardless of the outcome of Wednesday’s match. Victory or a point from a tied match or no-result would be sufficient to take the Eagles just one game away from a place in a Lord’s Final for the first time since 2008.

Essex have recorded six wins from their seven matches in the competition so far, the latest being a 72-run success over Somerset at Taunton on Sunday. That result allowed the Eagles to leapfrog the West Country side and take over top-spot in the Group after a performance that left Head coach Chris Silverwood justifiably lauding his players for their efforts.

“We knew it was always going to be a tough game down there and it proved to be all the way through,” he reflected. “You could see why Somerset have had such a good season in 50 overs cricket and we had two good teams going at each other which made for a super game.

“But once again, we had people put their hands up to see us through. Cooky, not for the first time, was very good at the top of the order for us; it was great to see Tom Westley back in the runs with a very nice hundred and I thought that Ravi played particularly well. He came in and nurtured the middle order and got us through to a big score so that was excellent. Ashar played a little cameo and overall, it was a very satisfying performance.

“Johann Myburgh was given a let-off when Somerset replied and went on to get a decent score but that’s what happens in sport, when you get a chance, you make people pay. He played some fantastic shots and made life very difficult for us for a while but what I liked was the fact that at no point, did we sit back.

“We kept pushing forward, got his wicket and then started to build the pressure on our opposition. Our bowling attack then did the business and all credit to our captain. Tendo made some brave decisions at various times during their innings and worked his bowlers well.

“Now we take on Kent in our final group match. At the start of the competition, our first aim was to reach the knockout stages and we’ve done that in some style winning six out of seven matches. All credit to the boys for that but now we want to try and ensure a home semi-final. Our approach will be the exactly the same as it has been so far. We’ll get stuck in, follow the same pattern and hopefully get the same results as we have done.”

Somerset now occupy second place and are the only side that can deny Essex a home tie at The Cloudfm County Ground. However, they would have to beat Middlesex in their remaining group match with Middlesex at Lord’s on Wednesday whilst relying on Kent to overturn the Eagles.

Essex Eagles squad:
Varun Chopra (6) (Ilford)
James Foster (7) (Wanstead)
Simon Harmer (11)
Neil Wagner (13)
Tom Westley (21) (Mildenhall)
Paul Walter (22) (Billericay)
Ravi Bopara (25) (Hainault & Clayhall)
Alastair Cook (26) (Maldon)
Ryan ten Doeschate (27) (Harwich) Captain
Dan Lawrence (28) (Chingford)
Adam Wheater (31) (Woodford Wells)
Jamie Porter (44) (Chingford)
Callum Taylor (67) (Swardeston)
Ashar Zaidi (99) (Ilford)

Kent Spitfires squad: 17 Sam Northeast (c), 23 Daniel Bell-Drummond, 58 Sean Dickson, 16 Zak Crawley, 24 Adam Ball, 10 Alex Blake, 12 Adam Rouse (wk), 25 Calum Haggett, 11 Imran Qayyum, 22 Charlie Hartley, 14 Matt Hunn, 5 Ivan Thomas.

This fixture is the first time the two Club have faced each other this season and the Battle of the Bridge rivals will be travelling to Chelmsford in August (Thursday 17) for the NatWest T20 Blast competition. Tickets for this match, plus the other 6 home games in the competition are on sale now and selling fast!

Find out more information and details on how to purchase – here.