MATCH PREVIEW | Hampshire v Essex


Champions Essex head to the Ageas Bowl to take on Hampshire on Tuesday in their penultimate County Championship match of what has proved a wonderful season for the County in the competition.  The visitors will select from a 13-man squad for the match.

Victory at Edgbaston against Warwickshire secured the county crown for Essex to end a 25 year wait.

They have won 8 of the twelve matches played thus far, including 6 of their last seven games and they are the only unbeaten side in either of the two divisions.

Now they arrive in Southampton holding an uncatchable 56 point advantage over nearest pursuers Lancashire, whilst Hampshire hold fourth place with 135 points and having won three matches.

A justly proud Chris Silverwood, Essex Head Coach, lauded his squad’s triumph “To win the title having only been promoted last season is a tremendous achievement and it is something that has only been done once before,” he said.

“It would be lovely to go through the season unbeaten and although we have already won the league, there will be no let-up in our approach to the remaining two games.

“We have played some outstanding red ball cricket this summer and have won a number of matches in three days which goes to illustrate the dominant and commanding force we have been.

“We have been ruthless but that’s the approach and attitude we want to keep building on. What we have seen this season is the result of all the hard work these guys have put in. Obviously, success brings confidence and self-belief; you could see that growing all the time and the longer the championship season went on, the more matches they won and the more that belief and confidence grew.”

Following the retirement of David Masters and Graham Napier, who took over 100 wickets last year, there were a number of observers who felt that Essex would struggle to take sufficient wickets in the First Division to enable them to win matches but astute winter recruitment and the advance of bowlers already on the staff has allayed those fears.

Ever-emerging paceman Jamie Porter and South African Simon Harmer have taken 60 plus wickets apiece and their performances have been acknowledged by the Essex Head Coach.

“I always felt that ‘Ports’ would step up, he’d 50 wickets hauls in each of the last two seasons in the Second Division and he’s proved himself in the First Division now, he’s been really flying for us,” Silverwood enthused.

“We knew we wanted a top-class off spinner and Simon Harmer has filled that role superbly and everyone can see he is a world class bowler. But all the players that have represented us this year have moved forward and all credit goes to each of them.

“It’s been an incredible season of red ball cricket and no one can doubt that the team deserve the title of Champions.”

Essex Squad
Ryan ten Doeschate (27) (Captain)
James Foster (7) (WK)
Ravi Bopara (25)
Nick Browne (10)
Varun Chopra (6)
Sam Cook (16)
Simon Harmer (11)
Dan Lawrence (28)
Jamie Porter (44)
Neil Wagner (13)
Paul Walter (22)
Tom Westley (21)
Adam Wheater (31)