Cult Heroes: Stuart Law


The Cult Heroes series continues with another player who was idolised by the county’s fans, and represented Australia. He joined the Club as an overseas player before having stints at Lancashire (2002-08) and Derbyshire (2009). Our latest piece profiles the Essex career of Stuart Law…

This series is supported by Allen Ford and we thank them for their continued support.

Essex Career Stats (1996-2001)
Debut: 26 April 1996 v Glamorgan (Benson & Hedges Cup)
Appearances: 213
Runs: 12,587
First Class Average: 58.88
Highest Score: 263 – 1999 v Somerset
Centuries: 41
Fifties: 51
Wickets: 61

Born in October 1968 in Herston, Queensland, Stuart Law was a prolific right-hander and a veritable run-machine in his time at Chelmsford having joined Essex in 1996.

In 92 first-class matches for the county, he scored 8,538 runs with an average of 58.88, and often carrying the batting. He played 121 List A matches and totalled 4,049 runs at 36.15.

The wonderfully consistent batsman finished his time at Essex with 30 first-class hundreds and 26 half-centuries to his name. He was also a fearless and excellent close to the wicket fielder, who could produce useful medium-pace/leg-spin bowling on occasions.

Recalling his time with Essex, he admitted that he has special memories of those years.

“I look back fondly at my time with the Club and I’ve still got some really close friends there, great friends at Essex,” he said.

“I remember the Essex faithful so well and I like to think that I repaid them in some small way for the support they gave me.

“I do hold all that time I had with the Club dearly and without that experience, I probably wouldn’t have become a better player. They gave me an opportunity and I remain ever grateful for that.

“I learned a lot about batting from guys like Graham Gooch Paul Prichard taught me a lot about the county cricket system and how tiring it is and how hard it can be. Gooch taught me how to play spin and I would be standing at second slip asking him question after question.

“As far as outstanding memories of matches, I remember the cup finals we played at Lord’s and the fans coming out in droves to support us. Throughout my time at Essex, I just wanted them to be entertained and for them to be able to walk away at the end of the day thinking that they had seen a good day’s cricket. I scored the runs I did, and I enjoyed myself both on and off the field, but I think that part of my release was to stay relaxed.

“If I wasn’t relaxed, I was never going to do any good.

“So yes, I look back fondly at my time with the Club. Every time I go back there, I’ve got a smile on my face and the memories come flooding back whenever I drive down the A414.”

It was suggested that the parting of the ways between Essex and Law at the end of the 2001 season came about in somewhat acrimonious circumstances but he commented: “People have talked about how my time at Essex ended but that was only a small part of it and it didn’t affect me as much as it affected others. Contrary to what people may say, I didn’t upset too many people.

“I went out and played cricket as hard as I possibly could and wore my heart on my sleeve. But then again, if I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have been true to myself.

“The one thing that did disappoint me was that was I didn’t play in a Championship winning team because winning Division One would have been the icing on the cake. Essex did get promotion from Division Two when we finished runners-up in 2000 but in my eyes, that only made us the 11th best team in the country, that was the reality.

“But there are a lot of really good memories. I look back really at the time we played Lancashire at Old Trafford in 2001. I got two hundreds in the Championship match, the same time as Muttiah Muralitharan took 10 wickets in the game for them, and then I followed it up with a century in the one-day match.”

It’s worthwhile just recalling those particular innings. In the County Championship fixture, he scored 116 out of 226 and then 123 out of 257 before posting another century (108 in a total of 217) in a National League match that followed a day later.

“Those innings are right up there in my special memories,” he acknowledged. “There are plenty of others, such as the innings against Somerset at Chelmsford when I got my highest first-class score of 263 for example. However, the favourite is the 80 not out I scored when we beat Warwickshire by 9 wickets in the 1997 NatWest Final.

“To do that in front of a full house at Lord’s was something special and to hear the Essex faithful in full voice was just great.”

“So, yes some great times with Essex that I’ll never forget.”

Following his time at the Club, Stuart spent seven successful seasons a Lancashire where he was also named captain for the 2008 campaign.

He has now established himself as top coach with international Head Coach roles at Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and West Indies. After leaving his post with the Windies in 2019, Law was appointed Head Coach of Middlesex last year.