Essex v Somerset
Specsavers County Championship
Sunday 23 June – Wednesday 26 June
The Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford

Essex Team: Nick Browne, Alastair Cook, Tom Westley, Dan Lawrence, Ravi Bopara, Ryan ten Doeschate (c), Adam Wheater (wk), Simon Harmer, Peter Siddle, Jamie Porter, Aaron Beard.

Somerset Team: Tom Abell (c), Azhar Ali, James Hildreth, Tom Banton, George Bartlett, Steve Davies (wk), Lewis Gregory, Jamie Overton, Tim Groenewald, Jack Leach, Jack Brooks.

Toss: Essex, who elected to bat.

Umpires: Graham Lloyd & Nicholas Cook.

Result: Essex win by 151 runs.

Day Three: Match Highlights

Day Three Reaction: Ryan ten Doeschate

Day Three: Close of Play Report

Essex moved to within 13 points of Championship leaders Somerset when they thrashed the West Country side by 151 runs at Chelmsford with more than four sessions to spare.

After the visitors had been left a target of 269, they were bowled out for 117 in 32.2 overs with Jamie Porter doing the major damage.

The Essex paceman followed up his five-wicket haul in the first innings with 4 for 22 in the second, as Somerset’s brittle batting was again exposed. This gave Porter a match haul of 9 for 73 as the visitors were left reflecting on their first defeat of the summer.

Porter struck in each of his first two overs to put his side on the victory path. He held a return catch to get rid of Tom Abell with his second delivery and then had Azhar Ali caught in the slips by Tom Westley.

James Hildreth and Tom Banton provided nine overs of resistance to add 39 but once they were separated, the innings quickly subsided. Banton clipped a delivery from Simon Harmer to Nick Browne stationed at short mid-wicket and then Hildreth’s intended upper cut against Peter Siddle to the final ball before lunch gave wicket-keeper Adam Wheater a straight-forward catch.

Lewis Gregory struck out valiantly. He was the only one of the last eight batsmen to reach double figures, smashing three successive sixes against off-spinner Simon Harmer.

Gregory struck 40 from 34 balls with the help of four sixes and two fours before Aaron Beard arrived to polish off Somerset’s resistance in dramatic style.

After bowling Gregory, the young fast bowler removed Tim Groenewald and Jack Brooks in the space of 13 balls costing a mere five runs. This gave the 21-year-old Beard impressive match figures of 7 for 45 while underlining his rich promise in only his second outing of the season.

Earlier in the day Essex lost their remaining four wickets for 19 runs after resuming on 164 for 6. Two of them were taken by Groenewald as he finished with 5 for 51 whilst Gregory claimed the other two victims including that of Wheater who departed for 30. Gregory ended the innings with 3 for 37.

But the Essex bowling unit, such a feature of the side this summer, were to prevail once again, steering the county to their fourth Championship triumph of the summer as they retained their 100% home record.

It was one that earned them a total of 20 points, while Somerset had to settle for just three. Now Essex have an extra day to prepare for their next Championship battle, a trip to Trent Bridge where they take on bottom-of-the-table Nottinghamshire in a match starting on Sunday.

The Chelmsford based side will make that journey full of confidence as they attempt to maintain their winning streak in pursuit of repeating their title triumph of two years ago.

Day Three: Lunch Report

Somerset were left requiring 269 runs to win after they bowled Essex out for 183, but by lunch the visitors had slumped to 64 for 4 with Jamie Porter grabbing the first two wickets to add to his five wicket haul earlier in the game.

The seam bowler removed Somerset skipper Tom Abell for a duck with his second delivery of the innings when Abell offered a simple return catch. With the second ball of his second over, Porter then had Azhar Ali caught at third slip for a single by Tom Westley.

James Hildreth and Tom Banton then carried the total to 46 before the introduction of Simon Harmer into the attack paid immediate dividends for the home side.

With the final ball of his first over, the off-spinner had Banton caught at short mid-wicket by Nick Browne for 24 and the home side were given further reason for celebration on the stroke of lunch.

With the final delivery of the morning session, Hildreth attempted to upper cut a ball from Peter Siddle and edged straight into the gloves of Adam Wheater for 32 as the home county took a further step towards recording their fourth win in as many Championship matches at Chelmsford this summer.

Earlier, Somerset had captured the remaining four overnight Essex wickets in just 9.3 overs at a cost of 19 runs with Lewis Gregory and Tim Groenewald sharing the wickets.

Groenewald removed Harmer for a duck and Porter for a single to finish with figures of 5 for 51 whilst Gregory accounted for Wheater who scored 30, and Siddle for one to finish with figures of 3 for 73.

Day Two: Match Highlights

Day Two Reaction: Jamie Porter

Day Two: Close of Play Report

After leaders Somerset had been demolished by Jamie Porter and Aaron Beard in their first innings, Essex established a firm grip in the Championship battle at The Cloudfm County Ground.

The visitors were bowled out for 131 to give the home side a lead of 85 and they added a further 164 for the loss of six wickets before the close.

Beard did the early damage whipping out Tim Groenewald, James Hildreth, Tom Banton and Steven Davies in a devastating 13-ball burst costing just 8 runs.

He finished with career-best Championship figures of 4 for 23 from overs to pave the way for Porter to collect his first five-wickets haul of the season. They came at a cost of 51 in 19.5 overs as he and Beard imparted hostility and ability to swing the ball sufficiently to pose problems for all the batsmen.

Somerset had started the day on 32 for 1 and raised the 50 without further loss. But once Porter trapped Tom Abell for 36 with the total on 54, their innings disintegrated.

Before lunch was taken 30 minutes early because of rain, Somerset were left licking their wounds as Beard’s dramatic deeds left them 90 for 6. There was to be no substantial recovery against an Essex side that backed up their bowlers with some great work in the field.

Nick Browne and wicket-keeper Adam Wheater underlined their agility to get rid of Hildreth and Banton respectively, with magnificent diving efforts that had a sizeable crowd roaring their appreciation.

As a result, the visitors innings lasted a mere 48.3 overs and left them with a huge task to get back in the game.

But their hopes of making quick inroads into the Essex innings were thwarted by Alastair Cook and Browne.

The latter soon took three boundaries in an over from Brooks but having reached 29 out of 43, became a victim of Groenewald.

Tom Westley, having scored a dozen runs, quickly followed when a top-edge finished in the hands of Jack Leach to provide Jamie Overton with success while Dan Lawrence was caught behind off Lewis Gregory for 21.

The score became 125 for 4 when Cook, three runs short of completing his second half-century of the match, edged Groenewald to second slip.

As Essex continued to stumble, Ryan ten Doeschate became Groenewald’s third victim of the innings when he was caught behind for 2 to leave the total now 134 for 5.

Ravi Bopara, after making 18, clipped a simple catch to mid-wicket to give Overton a further success with the score on 163 before bad light ended play one run later with nine overs remaining.

So, an absorbing day’s play ended with Essex holding an overall lead of 249 runs with Wheater (22) and Simon Harmer (0) set to resume in the morning.

Day Two: Tea Report

Jamie Porter returned his best figures of the season so far as Essex bowled Somerset out for 131 before reaching the tea interval on 57 for 1 to earn an overall lead of 142 runs in the Specsavers County Championship clash at Chelmsford.

Porter ended with 5 for 51 from 19.5 overs taking three of the visitors four wickets to fall after lunch whilst only 41 runs were added to the score.

Rain had delayed the start of the afternoon session by 40 minutes, but Porter made up for lost time to complete his second five-wicket haul of the summer.

Lewis Gregory became the first of his trio of post-lunch victims when he edged to Simon Harmer at second slip for 14 to start a rapid decline as four wickets fell for 13 runs in seven overs.

Peter Siddle pinned George Bartlett in front of his stumps for 25 and then Porter wrapped up the innings with two wickets in successive overs. Jamie Overton on 10, pulled to deep square-leg where Nick Browne took the catch before the seam bowler uprooted the middle stump of Jack Brooks who had scored a single.

Siddle ended with 1 for 39 and Aaron Beard 4 for 23 with all of his wickets being taken before lunch.

When Essex started their second innings with a lead of 85 runs, Browne was in aggressive form, collecting five boundaries in his first 24 runs including three fours in an over off the bowling of Jack Brooks.

Browne had matched his first innings score of 29 when with the total on 43, he gave a low catch to gully off an inside edge when facing Tim Groenewald.

Alastair Cook was joined by Tom Westley and the pair carried the total to 57 at tea with Cook on 16 not out and Westley on 8 unbeaten.

Day Two: Lunch Report

Aaron Beard produced a devastating spell of bowling taking 4 for 8 in 13 balls as Somerset were reduced to 90-6 before rain brought a premature end to the morning’s proceeding on Day Ttwo of the County Championship clash at The Cloudfm County Ground.

The 21-year-old pace bowler claimed his first wicket with his third ball of the day, when he had nightwatchman Tim Groenewald caught by Tom Westley at third slip for 6. He went one better in his next over when he sent James Hildreth and Tom Banton back to the Pavilion to leave Somerset 68-5.

Beard then grabbed a fourth wicket (his best return in the Championship so far) when Steven Davies chipped to Ryan ten Doeschate at mid-off as the visitors were reduced to 74-6 and still trailing their opponents by 142 runs.

Jamie Porter also made his mark accounting for Tom Abell. It was just reward for the bowler’s excellent spell when he passed and beat the bat a number of times. The Somerset skipper had carried his overnight score from 22 to 36 when he played back to a ball that was angled back in and was trapped leg before wicket.

The visitors had resumed the day on 32-1 and 22 runs were added before Porter made the breakthrough. Porter (14-3-29-2) made way for Beard whilst Simon Harmer took over at his favoured River End.

The off-spinner was soon causing problems and Banton survived a dropped chance to ten Doeschate at short leg before he had scored but Beard proved the destroyer.

After getting rid of Groenewald, who had faced a total of 52 balls, Beard had Nick Browne to thank for the removal of Hildreth for 8 when the fielder ran some distance from mid-wicket to complete a fine catch.

Adam Wheater completed a good diving catch to his right when Banton was caught off an indeterminate prod for 2 and then Davies went for 6.

Rain then brought a conclusion to an absorbing morning’s play at 12:30pm and twenty minutes later, it was decided to take an early lunch. At the break, Beard had figures of 5-1-23-4.

Day One: Match Highlights

Day One Reaction: Anthony McGrath

Day One: Close of Play Report

Essex were indebted to Alastair Cook as they posted 216 against Somerset on the opening day of the Specsavers County Championship match at The Cloudfm County Ground.

The former England captain struck a patient 80 from 186 deliveries, although he did survive one life on the way when Jack Brooks failed to hang on to a return catch when Cook had scored 64.

Essex, who won the toss, had reached lunch on 110 for 1 with Nick Browne the man dismissed. He had taken three successive boundaries in Jack Brooks opening over and he moved confidently to 29 before his defences were breached by Jamie Overton soon after a half-century stand had been posted.

Tom Westley also looked in good nick until Overton struck again to have him caught by wicket-keeper Steven Davies for 36 to leave the home side 126 for 2.

However, that dismissal was to signal a dramatic disintegration of the Essex innings with nine wickets tumbling in 42 overs while 90 runs were added.

Among them was Cook whose innings included a dozen boundaries. He fell victim to Tim Groenewald as he edged a ball onto his pad and it looped up to enable Overton to move around from second slip to gully where he completed an easy catch.

That paved the way for spinner Jack Leach to claim the last three wickets as he returned 3 for 30 from 16.3 overs.

Overton picked up 3 for 43 from 15 overs while Groenewald and Lewis Gregory returned 2 for 48 and 2 for 45 respectively.

The Essex middle-order failed to spark for the hosts. Dan Lawrence and Ravi Bopara, whose half-centuries set up victory against Hampshire last week, could only manage a dozen between them while Ryan ten Doeschate had reached double figures when he was trapped leg before wicket.

Left with 16 overs to negotiate, Somerset reached the close on 22 for 1.

Their only setback came at the end of the 11th over when Azhar Ali was caught behind by Adam Wheater with the total on 25. Jamie Porter was the successful bowler while Peter Siddle will reflect that luck was not smiling kindly on him.

The new ball pair beat the bat several times without reward and also had confident lbw appeals turned down.

Tom Abell will resume tomorrow on 22 while night-watchman Groenewald will be keeping him company although he has yet to get off the mark.

Day One: Tea Report

Essex lost three wickets after lunch whilst adding 82 runs to reach the tea interval on 192-6 thanks to 80 from Alastair Cook.

Jamie Overton was in fine form for the visitors, accounting for Tom Westley and Ryan ten Doeschate to add to the wicket of Nick Browne who had fallen in the first session.

And Overton was also involved in the dismissal of Cook just before tea when he moved from second slip to hold a catch in the gully position when a delivery from Tim Groenewald looped up off the face of the bat. That brought an end to the opener’s 186-ball innings that included 12 boundaries.

Cook and Westley had posted 76 in 24 overs when the latter became the first victim of the afternoon shortly after the former England skipper had completed a 99-ball half-century.

Westley had reached 36 from 70 balls when his intended pull against Overton saw him top-edge the ball to wicket-keeper Steven Davies.

Dan Lawrence walked in front of his stumps and was lbw to Lewis Gregory for 5 leaving the home side 138 for 3. Ravi Bopara survived a difficult chance to third slip when facing his first ball but then fell to Gregory for 7 when he lobbed a catch to mid-on after a delivery appeared to stop on him.

Essex were 166-5 when Ryan ten Doeschate was late on a delivery from Overton that swung in and fell lbw for the seventh time in all competitions this season.

Meanwhile, Cook was still there acting as the glue holding the innings together, but he was finally undone with the home side just three runs short of a batting point.

Day One: Lunch Report

Alastair Cook and Tom Westley composed an unbeaten partnership worth 60 runs as Essex reached Lunch on 110-1 in their County Championship clash with Somerset at The Cloudfm County Ground.

Cook arrived at the interval with 44 runs to his credit whilst Westley was 32 not out.

Essex won the toss and made an excellent start with a half-century partnership in 77 balls as Nick Browne and Cook helped themselves to a series of boundaries.

Browne took a particular shine to the bowling of Jack Brooks striking three successive fours in the bowler’s first over, with a couple of splendidly timed cover drives either side of a straight drive.

There was then a lull in the run spree with 27 balls being sent down by Brooks and his new ball partner Lewis Gregory without conceding a run before Cook took a single to get the scoreboard moving again.

Browne was bowled when he shouldered arms to Jamie Overton and lost his off stump.

Westley joined Cook and together, they dominated the bowling with a series of well-timed drives and cuts. Cook was in vintage form unfurling a quality number of strokes and received superb support form Westley whose innings boasted well-crafted shots on either side of the wicket.

Their fifty stand was raised when Cook unleashed a splendid drive against Brooks as the milestone was reached after 97 balls.