MATCH PREVIEW | Worcestershire v Essex


Anthony McGrath is urging his players to put the memory of the Yorkshire defeat behind them as they prepare for their next County Championship match which begins against Worcestershire at Blackfinch New Road on Friday.

Essex lost their long unbeaten record in the Championship stretching back to September 2016 when the White Rose County recorded a stunning 91 run victory, despite being bowled out for 50 in their first innings.

“We’ve said all we need to about that match with Yorkshire, we have to draw a line under it and move on,” said the Essex Head Coach.

“We’ve had a couple of days to lick our wounds and we’ve worked hard in practice this week and now we are looking forward to our next challenge which comes with the match against Worcestershire.”

Essex have retained the same 13-man squad that were named for the Yorkshire match and that includes Peter Siddle whose brief stint with the county ends after this match, when he is replaced by New Zealand Test bowler Neil Wagner.

“We have to look at the Yorkshire game as one defeat in isolation,” McGrath continued. “We have come a long way as a Club and as a team and to go 19 matches before losing a game is something to be proud of.

“So, as far as I am concerned, there’s no panic and we dust ourselves down and go again.

“This is a tough division as we know. Looking at the results so far in Championship, it’s looking as if anyone is capable of beating each other, I felt that after last year, you wouldn’t see a team going unbeaten again for a whole season because it’s just the nature of the division.

“Even last year, we were in situations where we could have lost games but we managed to turn it around and get over the line. But I think all through this season, we’ll see teams turning each other over. It makes it exciting for the media and the public but not so much for us coaches and players.

“So now we are looking to start another unbeaten run. We’ve got one more 4-dayer to go before we start the One-Day Cup matches so it would be nice to round off this sequence of Championship matches with a positive result which would see us going into the 50-over format with plenty of confidence.”

England opener Alastair Cook is named in the party for the match at Worcester although it will be his last game for the county for a while ahead of England’s forthcoming Test series with Pakistan.

“It would be nice for ‘Cookie’ to get some runs at Worcester before he goes off to play for England,” McGrath stated. “It’s been great to have him around and we know he loves playing for Essex whenever he can and hopefully we’ll see him later in the summer.”

Worcestershire, who returned to the First Division this season, have found life tough in the top-flight and start the match at the foot of the table with 21 points having lost three of their first four matches.

Meanwhile Essex are in sixth place with 37 points from four matches, 30 points adrift of early pace-setters Nottinghamshire, who like Worcestershire, were promoted from Division Two at the end of last season.

Essex squad:

Ryan ten Doeschate (27) Captain
James Foster (7) Wicket-keeper
Aaron Beard (14)
Ravi Bopara (25)
Nick Browne (10)
Varun Chopra (6)
Alastair Cook (26)
Sam Cook (16)
Simon Harmer (11)
Dan Lawrence (28)
Jamie Porter (44)
Peter Siddle (64)
Tom Westley (21)