Match Preview: Sussex v Essex


Sussex v Essex

Competition: Bob Willis Trophy
Venue: The 1st Central County Ground
Date: 15 August – 18 August
Start: 11am

Essex will be looking to make it three wins out of three in the Bob Willis Trophy when they face Sussex at The 1st Central County Ground in a four-day match starting on Saturday at 11am.

Essex currently sit first in the South Group thanks to their 100% record in the competition. The side have amassed 42 points so far from their 2 matches, 11 ahead of nearest challengers Kent whilst Sussex occupy fifth place, with 22 points from their two fixtures.

Earlier this week, Essex beat Surrey by 169 runs with Simon Harmer returning match figures of 14/131 following his magnificent 8/64 in the visitors’ second innings. Earlier in the match, Feroze Khushi scored 66, his maiden first-class half-century, whilst Adam Wheater hit 52 as he celebrated being awarded his County Cap (along with Sam Cook).

However, it was Harmer’s magic with the ball that sealed Surrey’s fate. The 31-year-old’s performance took his tally of wickets to 20 in just 2 matches and saw Essex claim their 10th successive red-ball victory at Chelmsford.

Harmer on Surrey:

Reflecting on his latest stunning performance, Harmer said: “I’m very happy with the way the ball is coming out at the moment but cricket is a funny game and so is spin bowling.

“You can’t take anything for granted but touch wood, may the form continue.”

He was also quick to acknowledge the performance of a fellow member of the Essex attack.

“I thought Ports (Jamie Porter) bowled superbly in the Surrey second innings on the last morning. He had the batsmen playing and missing so often and he was extremely unlucky not to pick up some wickets,” he stated.

“It was the best we’ve seen him bowl in a while, but he didn’t get the rewards. But that’s cricket, he might go down to Hove and not bowl as well and pick up six or seven.

“So it was my day against Surrey, I’ll take it with both hands and hopefully other boys will reap the rewards in the game to come.”

Meanwhile, Head Coach Anthony McGrath believes that Essex can improve on their two performances so far.

He admitted: “I thought we played against Surrey than we did against Kent but there are areas where we can get better.

“For example, we need to be a bit more clinical with the bat and push on towards the 400 mark.”

Squad News:

The only injury doubt surrounds Ryan ten Doeschate who was missing from the side that beat Surrey due to a quad strain. However, he is named in a 14-man squad although he will have a fitness test on the morning of the match.

Essex welcome back Dan Lawrence for his first match of the season. The talented batsman had been with the England squad for their two summer Test series, but recently left the international set-up due to a family bereavement.

Head coach Anthony McGrath said, “Although it’s not a good time for him at the moment, Dan feels that he wants to play some cricket and be back amongst some familiar friends. There have been long discussions between England, ourselves and Dan and it’s been agreed that he should play if he wants.”

21 Tom Westley (C)
14 Aaron Beard
10 Nick Browne
6 Varun Chopra
26 Alastair Cook
16 Sam Cook
11 Simon Harmer
23 Feroze Khushi
28 Dan Lawrence
44 Jamie Porter
94 Matt Quinn
27 Ryan ten Doeschate
22 Paul Walter
31 Adam Wheater (WK)

The Opposition:

After opening their Bob Willis Trophy season with a victory over Hampshire on their own turf, Sussex then travelled to Canterbury, where Kent inflicted defeat. Sussex posted 332, but then Kent scored 530 for the loss of one wicket before dismissing their opponents for 173 to complete victory with more than a day to spare.

Reflecting on his side’s heavy defeat before looking ahead to the clash with Essex, Sussex Head Coach Jason Gillespie said, “We were certainly very disappointed with our performance against Kent, we know we can play better than that for sure but credit to Kent I thought they played the game very well.

“This is going to be a very tough match against Essex who are the County champions. They are a very good side. We need to make sure that we have learned the lessons from that experience at Canterbury so that we can take those improvements into this match.”

Sussex Squad:

Ben Brown (c) (wk), Jack Carson, Tom Clark, Mitchell Claydon, Henry Crocombe, Harry Finch, George Garton, Tom Haines, Stuart Meaker, Delray Rawlins, Phil Salt, Will Sheffield, Aaron Thomason.

Injury/Absentees News:

Popular all-rounder Ravi Bopara left Essex at the end of last season to link with Sussex but is expected to only appear in white-ball cricket for the Sharks. Meanwhile, neither Ollie Robinson or Jofra Archer are available having been called into the England Test squad for the second Test with Pakistan although neither made the starting XI.

Last Match:

The last time that the two teams clashed in red-ball cricket at Hove was in a drawn match in 2016. The home side posted 360, Essex responded with 320, with Tom Westley striking 86 whilst Ryan ten Doeschate and Jesse Ryder both contributed 51. Sussex were then dismissed for 288 with Jamie Porter returning 5/82 (his first 5-fer in first-class cricket) and Graham Napier 5/92. Left 329 for victory, Essex were indebted to Alastair Cook who masterminded the draw batting throughout a second innings spanning 358 minutes to contribute an unbeaten 127 out of 266-7.

How To Watch:

Our Live Stream service will be available across all four days of this game from 11am, which also includes player stats, scorecard and clips throughout the day. Access via the Essex Cricket Matchzone which is available here – here.