MCC Memories: 2018 Champion County Match


Tuesday 24 March was supposed to be Day One of the Champion County match between the MCC and Essex out in Sri Lanka. However, due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, the 2020 cricket season has been delayed until at least May 28, with the traditional season curtain-raiser being cancelled in the process.

To mark what should have been the start of our 2020 campaign, we take a look back at what happened last time we participated in the Champion County match in 2018.

In the idyllic setting of the Barbados Oval, Essex faced the MCC after being crowed County Champions for the first time in 25 years. However, Anthony McGrath’s side, who went the entire 2017 season unbeaten in red-ball cricket, were on the receiving end of a comprehensive defeat.

The match was completed in under three days and it was Somerset all-rounder Dom Bess who was the chief architect of the Essex downfall, claiming 8 wickets in total alongside a maiden first-class century.

Opener Nick Browne impressed with a composed 48, but he was to be the sides highest scorer in the first innings with Lawrence, Nijjar, Westley, Lawrence and Foster all getting out after strong starts. After the collapse, Essex were all out for just 187, with Richard Gleeson picking up 5 wickets for 50 runs in the process.

The MCC batting line-up was in fine form and centuries from Sam Hain and Bess saw them pile on the runs. Hain’s unbeaten 140 came from 280 balls and included 17 boundaries, whilst Bess’ 107 came from 108 balls and contained 18 fours. Dan Lawrence picked up 2 wickets for Essex, but with Simon Harmer and Jamie Porter missing from the line-up, the bowlers struggled.

The MCC declared on 404-8, with a lead of 221, but Essex were unable to make them bat again and were out for 187 for the second time in the match. Tom Westley scored 62 whilst Nijjar and Foster made 30 and 29. The collapse saw Bess pick up 6 wickets for 51 runs and Essex defeated by an innings and 34 runs.