Looking Back Against the White Rose


In different circumstances, the two teams would have been involved in the opening match of the 2020 County Championship season at Chelmsford but for now, we have to be content with looking back on some memorable encounters between the two counties, some recent and others way back in the passage of time although still worthy or recall.

2019 The Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford – Essex won by 8 wickets
Yorkshire 208 (Harmer 5-46) & 211 (Maharaj 85), Essex 328 (Westley 81, ten Doeschate 70*) & 94-2

Whilst a draw was the outcome of the clash in earlier in the season at Headingley, the return fixture at Chelmsford saw Yorkshire became the latest side to feel the effect of the Essex red-ball powerhouse. After winning the toss, they were soon reduced to 43 for 3 in 9 overs on a dry wicket. Jamie Porter and Peter Siddle opened the door allowing Simon Harmer to make his entrance before going on to claim his 6th five-wickets haul for the season.

His dismissal of Tom Kohler-Cadmore gave the spinner his 50th wicket in the Championship term as the White Rose county were dismissed for 208 although that was to prove the highest first innings total recorded by any Championship opposition at Chelmsford in the season.

Essex responded with 328, their highest score of the season in the competition at headquarters. For the second time in the campaign, Tom Westley took a half-century off the Tykes bowling, this time scoring 81 and there was a career Championship best 35 from Rishi Patel replacing sickness struck Ravi Bopara whilst Ryan ten Doeschate ended on 70 not out. The skipper found a late-order dependable partner in livewire Aaron Beard whose 41 helped add 75 for the ninth wicket and completed a third batting point before he became the first of two wickets in successive deliveries for Yorkshire’s short-term Overseas signing South Africa international spinner Keshav Maharaj that wrapped up the innings.

At the start of the third day, Yorkshire were still 82 runs behind having lost three second innings wickets as Siddle made early inroads and it was only the arrival of Maharaj on 81 for 6 that averted an embarrassing submission. Deciding that attack was the preferred option, his approach proved rewarding as he clouted 5 sixes and 7 fours in his 85 from 71 balls before Siddle got a ball to straighten to end the batsman’s fun. The Australian, a model of economy and incisiveness, returned 4 for 32 from 21 overs whilst Porter’s three wickets included his 300th first-class victim for the county.

Left with 92 for victory and with the floodlights on, Cook departed for 6 but Browne played positively with an unbeaten 33 that saw him twice clear the boundary against Maharaj. Westley scored 31 then Dan Lawrence joined Nick Browne to see Essex across the line by 8 wickets with a day and 20 overs to spare and another 22 points haul.

Afterwards Peter Siddle sounded a positive note about the county’s title ambitions. “There’s a real buzz about the boys, the changing room is up and about and it’s exciting to be a part of that,” he stated. “Sure, there are a few games to go and it looks like it’s going to be an exciting finish but there’s no reason why we can’t go on from here and lift another title.”

2018 at Chelmsford. Yorkshire 50 (Cook 5-28) & 329 (Brook 124, Bairstow 50), Essex 142 & 146. Yorkshire won by 91 runs.
A remarkable game staged at the start of May ended with victory for the visitors that had seemed so unlikely when their first innings ended after 91 minutes. They won the toss, opted to bat first but after 8 overs, the score was 22 for 5, one of the departed batsmen being Joe Root who edged a first-ball first slip catch to his former England colleague and predecessor as skipper, Alastair Cook.
Yorkshire were shot out for just 50 in 18.4 overs as Sam Cook (5-28) and Peter Siddle (4-7 on home debut) ran amok. Cook claimed 4 of his victims in 22 balls as the shell-shocked Yorkies were dismissed before lunch. It was their lowest score since 1973 when they capitulated to 43 all out. However, in the remaining 4 overs before lunch, Essex were to experience troubles of their own with the loss of Alastair Cook and Tom Westley for “ducks”.

Essex eventually gained a first innings advantage of 92 but their opponents then rallied with the bat. Galvanised by a maiden first-class century from Harry Brook and 50 by Jonny Bairstow, they carved an overall lead of 237 runs and, in a match of oscillating fortunes, that was to prove enough. Westley completed a “pair” and Ravi Bopara also failed to trouble the scorers in his second trip to the middle but the odds still favoured Essex, when they reached 114 for 4 in pursuit of 238 to win. But the combined threat offered by pacemen Ben Coad and Steve Patterson put the home side to the sword as four more wickets fell without addition to swing the initiative back to the White Rose county who completed victory by 91 runs.
Essex were left to reflect on a bizarre match that lasted just 7 incredible sessions and left them with their first defeat in the Championship at Chelmsford since September 2016 when Glamorgan prevailed.

Essex Head Coach, Anthony McGrath said afterwards: “It was a crazy game. You would expect to win after bowling a team out for 50 and then get triple their total. It was as if something was happening in every over. So, yes, we are all very disappointed. We’ve been on the wrong side of the result, but we’ll get over it and I’m sure we’ll come back stronger next time.

2017 at North Marine Road, Scarborough – Essex won by 8 wickets
Yorkshire 113 (Amir 5-18) & 150 (Leaning 70, Amir 5-54), Essex 231 (ten Doeschate 88) & 34 -2.

Essex arrived at the seaside town having only managed one victory in the previous 50 years at the delightful venue but within two days, they were to record another victory and one that moved them ever closer to a first Championship title for 25 years.

And it was a sensational performance from Mohammad Amir that paved the way for the victory as he underlined his ranking as one of the world’s outstanding fast bowlers. The left-arm 25-year-old Pakistani rocket took 10 wickets in the match and by the time he had finished his torment of the home batsmen, Essex needed just 33 runs to complete their sixth win of the season in the competition.

After an uncontested toss, a staggering opening day watched by a bemused crowd numbering 5,372 saw the Tykes lose 9 wickets for 111 before lunch as Amir and new ball partner Jamie Porter were virtually unplayable. Opening batsman Adam Lyth was the only Yorkshire batsman to offer any fight with 68 whilst the next highest contribution came from Adil Rashid with 12. However, Lyth’s attempts to carry his bat ended in the first over after lunch when he fell to Amir with just 2 runs added to the total. His dismissal ended a last-wicket stand with Ryan Sidebottom worth 39 runs, the highest of the innings, whilst Amir left the field with figures of 5 for 18 and the heartfelt congratulations of his team-mates.

Essex too experienced problems a-plenty losing eight of their first innings wickets before the close of the first day although by that time, they already enjoyed a 75 runs lead thanks to Ryan ten Doeschate’s batting exploits. He was eventually dismissed the following morning for 88 having carried his side to a 118 runs advantage. That included 22 from Amir in a 52 runs ninth-wicket partnership with his captain that temporarily caused a period of some concern for the visitors’ players and their supporters when Amir, attempting a second run, collided with Sidebottom and injured his neck. Play was held up for 7 minutes before the Pakistan Test player – who had been felled during the innocent clash – was able to slowly rise to his feet after due care and attention from physiotherapist Chris Clarke-Irons and continue his innings.

Amir was to prove his complete recovery by grabbing another five wickets in the Tykes second innings. He and Porter sent the home side crashing to 37 for six and with only Jack Leaning showing any backbone, they were eventually bowled out for 150 on the stroke of tea to the dismay and disbelief of the locals amongst the second day crowd totalling 5,355.

Amir’s match haul of 10 for 72 from 28.2 overs was a personal career-best. Left with just 33 runs for victory, Essex took 40 minutes to reach their goal losing two wickets in the process and the match was concluded in two days.

Head Coach Chris Silverwood said:
“Amir’s shown what a class act he is in this game and to have him coming in fresh for the second half of the season is fantastic.
“He’s fitted in brilliantly. He’s a great lad. He’s great around the dressing room with the lads. He’s very good at sharing knowledge with the younger bowlers as well.”

Captain Ryan ten Doeschate commented:
“To pick up points so emphatically inside two days and what it means for the title charge is fantastic for us. The scoreboard speaks for the performance. To have a team like Yorkshire in trouble over two innings on a slightly helpful pitch is fantastic.”

1932 at The County Ground, Leyton – Yorkshire won by an innings and 313 runs
Yorkshire 555-1 dec (Sutcliffe 313, Holmes 224*, Essex 78 (Verity 5-8 & 164 Nichols 59*, Verity 5-45, Bowes 5-47)

One of the attractions of the game of cricket is the game’s ability to throw up incongruous situations time after time. This match with the White Rose county was just such illustration and ended in the most humiliating defeat ever by Essex in the County Championship – a record that still stands although the Australians did invoke a heavier defeat in the tourist match of 1948.

From the moment that Essex stand-in captain Charles Bray lost the toss, a Yorkshire side packed with talented players totally dominated the match. Play had been in progress for seven hours and twenty-five minutes before Percy Holmes and Herbert Sutcliffe were parted having posted a world record score for the first wicket beating the previous figure of 554 set by another Yorkshire pair, Jack Brown and John Tunnicliffe 34 years earlier. Or had the record been beaten? More of that later. The 45-year-old Holmes was dropped by wicket-keeper Roy Sheffield off the bowling of Stan Nichols when he had scored 3 of the four runs on the board before runs began to flow with ease. How crucial that error was to prove. The Essex attack were given no further encouragement as the batsmen dictated proceedings so effectively that Bray used 8 bowlers in the final session of the day in an unsuccessful bid to unship the openers. By the close, the total was 423 with plenty to follow.

On day two, Sutcliffe progressed to reach his 1,000 runs for the summer whilst Holmes – for the twelfth time in his career – completed a double-century. Sutcliffe, having scored 305 out of the 547 on the scoreboard, then faced the gentle medium-pace of Laurie Eastman. The first ball of the over was short-pitched which the batsman swiped to the square leg boundary and two deliveries later, he reached the boundary again with a leg-side blow to set the new record. Facing the very next delivery, he was bowled when he played the ball onto his foot and it went from there to his wicket at which point, Yorkshire captain Brian Sellers declared.

The 555 score immediately became the subject of much discussion when the two scorers agreed that the total was in fact 554 and the scoreboard reverted to that figure. A lengthy delay followed whilst intense discussions and re-examination of the scorebooks took place before the two scorers, Charlie McGahey and Billy Ringrose, mutually “discovered” an unaccounted no-ball and the one run was added to the total restoring the new record to the Yorkshire openers.

Against the backcloth of mystery and intrigue, Essex were bowled out within two hours for a miserable 78 having no answer to the pace of Bill Bowes nor Hedley Verity’s superbly-flighted bowling. By the close of the second day, the home side were facing certain defeat having slumped to 92-5 wickets and although Stan Nichols battled stoically, Bowes and Verity continued to humble their opponents completing a stunning victory with two sessions of the match remaining.

On the day preceding the Yorkshire innings, Surrey had beaten Essex by 9 wickets at The Oval where Jack Hobbs and Robert Gregory scored 232 in an unbroken second wicket. The duration of that partnership followed by the Yorkshire first wicket run-fest meant that Essex had fielded for a total of nine hours fifty minutes during which time they conceded 787 runs before taking a wicket.

1935 at Huddersfield – Essex won by an innings and 204 runs
Yorkshire 31 (Read 6-11) & 99 (Nichols 7-37), Essex 334 (Nichols 146, Belle 63)

Star-studded Yorkshire, with eight present or future England players in their side, had not been beaten since August 1934 and lost only one match whilst retaining their title in 1935 winning 19 matches and drawing 10 of their 30 games. Their blemish came at Huddersfield against Essex where play lasted only until 1pm on the second day. The hosts were completely undone by the marvellous bowling of Stan Nichols and ‘Hopper’ Read who ran riot to dismiss the opposition for 31 runs in an hour with five batsmen failing to score. At one stage, the home side were 9 for 6 but Arthur Wood scored 13, the only batsman to reach double figures in an innings that spanned just 12 overs and 4 balls to leave Yorkshire reflecting on their lowest total for 26 years.

The initial response by Essex was also beset with problems and half the side were dismissed by the time 65 runs were showing on the scoreboard. Frank Rist though proved resolute before Nichols took centre-stage again, this time with the bat. He and Oxford Blue and amateur Brian Belle, who played infrequently, added 174 for the sixth wicket that effectively batted Yorkshire out of the game. The brilliant 146 scored by Nichols on a difficult wicket was an extraordinary effort and included two sixes and 16 fours and was to prove more than the two combined totals achieved by the home side.

Nichols then reverted to bowling mode to rip out the home side once again who were unable to cope with the exhilarating pace and accuracy of both he and Read. For the second time in the match, Nichols claimed the wicket of 18-year-old Len Hutton who bagged a “pair” and the bowler, who took his one-hundredth wicket of the season during the game, concluded the match with figures of 11-54 to add to his outstanding batting performance as the visitors left the field to a generous standing ovation from the home crowd. The result allowed Essex to turn the tables on their opponents following Yorkshire’s record-breaking first innings partnership three seasons earlier.

Herbert Sutcliffe, having been caught by wicket-keeper Roy Sheffield off the bowling of Nichols is reported to have said, “At least I was good enough to touch it.” Essex player Peter Smith recounted that he fielded the ball just once in the match and that was when he caught Hedley Verity to end the game.

In recognition of his outstanding match contribution, the Essex Committee voted to give Nichols a payment of £10. By the end of the season, the prolific all-rounder now 35 years of age, had completed the “double” scoring 1249 runs and claiming 157 wickets in all matches

Wisden described Nichols performance as “the sensation of the season,” whilst Charles Bray, who played for Essex between 1927 and 1937 and who captained intermittently, offered this praise of Nichols.

“He was a great-hearted player and an indefatigable worker,” he stated. “He was a magnificent bowler who had the misfortune to be at his best in an era of fast bowlers in this country. Consequently, he did not receive as many representative honours as he would have done had he come to the fore ten years later. With the new ball, he could be deadly. Fast bowlers have bowled faster but few have bowled for such long spells at a time. Often, I had to bowl him for well over an hour at a stretch when he looked the only bowler likely to take wickets and he would always continue without complaint. He had many personal triumphs but probably he was most proud of his brilliant hundred against Yorkshire in 1935 at Huddersfield and his 11 wickets for 54 in the same match.”

Other leading facts in matches between Essex and Yorkshire:
> The highest total recorded by Essex is 622-8 declared at Headingley in 2005
> The highest total recorded by Yorkshire is 555-1 declared at Leyton in 1932
> The lowest total recorded by Essex is 30 at Leyton in 1901
> The lowest total recorded by Yorkshire is 31 at Huddersfield in 1935
> The highest individual innings by an Essex batsman is 219* by Doug Insole at Colchester in 1949
> The highest individual innings by a Yorkshire batsman is 313 by Herbert Sutcliffe at Leyton in 1932
> Best bowling in an innings for Essex is 8-44 by Fred Bull at Bradford in 1896
> Best bowling in an innings for Yorkshire is 9-28 by Wilfred Rhodes at Leyton in 1899