Anthony McGrath: 2019 Season Review


Well, what a season that was!

After being made Head Coach two years ago, I wanted to follow in Chris Silverwood’s footsteps and deliver more success to the Club whilst writing new history, and we certainly achieved that this year. Being the first side ever to complete a T20 and County Championship double in the same season is some accomplishment, and something that everyone at Essex should be proud of.

That first game of the season against Hampshire in early April seems like a lifetime ago now. We lost, by an innings and 87 runs. Although it was a defeat, and it hurt, it was probably a good thing. It set the bar for us, we knew what we were up against and what we’d have to do for the remainder of the season if we wanted to be successful.

After that game, we got our heads down and got on a roll, and once the momentum was with us, we felt unstoppable. To go undefeated in the 13 games that followed, winning 9 of them, is a serious triumph and the boys should take great pride in their red-ball achievements this season.

One of the things I’m most proud of is that every player in that dressing room pulled their weight and stepped up at one point or another. As a Head Coach, knowing you have a squad full of players willing to give their all is all you can ask for, and I’m lucky enough to have that in abundance with this group of players.

Not many people gave us a chance when it came to the Vitality Blast, so it’s really satisfying to silence all of those doubters who wrote us off before a ball was bowled. We had a new T20 Captain this year in Simon Harmer, and I don’t think we could have asked for much more from him. He had a lot of important decisions to make and he wanted to do things his way, but once his methods were implemented in the team we saw immediate success.

The campaign was a bit stop-start due to the weather and we had four washed out games, but once we put a string of results together, we played some amazing cricket. Again, like in the Championship, every player played their part. All the batsmen scored runs during the competition whilst it felt like every one of our bowlers was doing damage with the ball.

Finals Day itself is something that will always live with me and the players and the staff at the Club. We knew going into the day at Edgbaston that Essex had never won it before, and we all really wanted to make that happen. The scenes in the ground when Harmy hit those winning runs on the final ball were unbelievable and to have a huge following supporting us meant an awful lot. More than anything, I’m so pleased that we were able to deliver the title for the fans.

I’ve always said that Essex has a uniqueness to it, the players, the staff and the fans have a togetherness which you can feel the moment you step into the ground. During the season that relationship was as clear as ever, with fans travelling all over the country to support the side. For the players out there competing, that support is what makes the difference and helps get them over the line and ultimately, win trophies.

I hope you can continue to support the team and myself in the same way when the season restarts in April. Everyone in the dressing room wants to win more silverware and create more memories for themselves and the fans that will last a lifetime.

I look forward to seeing you around The Cloudfm County Ground in 2020 and once again, thank you for your loyal support.