Match Report: Hampshire v Essex



Hampshire v Essex

Bob Willis Trophy (South Group)
Arundel Castle Cricket Ground, Saturday 22 – Tuesday 25 August


Team News:

Essex: Paul Walter, Alastair Cook, Tom Westley (c), Dan Lawrence, Feroze Khushi, Ryan ten Doeschate, Adam Wheater (wk), Simon Harmer, Aaron Beard, Sam Cook, Jamie Porter

Hampshire: Sam Northeast (c), Joe Weatherley, Ian Holland, Tom Alsop, Harry Came, Felix Organ, Lewis McManus (wk), James Fuller, Ryan Stevenson, Mason Crane, Brad Wheal

Match Details:

Umpires: Ian Gould & Billy Taylor
Match Referee: Stephen Davis
Toss: Hampshire, who elected to field first

Day Four Close of Play Report:

Essex were left exasperated after poor weather restricted their Bob Willis Trophy clash with Hampshire at Arundel to just 78 overs.

Play was entirely washed out on the first and final days whilst only 47 overs were possible on the second day and 31 the day after.

In that time, Essex had batted soundly to lay the platform for a potential maximum haul of 5 batting points having reached 249-3 at Lunch on Day Three but there was to be no further action in the match thereafter.

Although overnight and morning rain fell on the already sodden outfield, there were lingering hopes that Essex might be able to resume an innings that had been interrupted with Alastair Cook unbeaten on 129 and Dan Lawrence on 37 not out.

Umpires Ian Gould and Billy Taylor looked at conditions at 2pm but soon decided that a restart was impossible.

Hampshire had won the toss but the decision to put their opponents into bat on a slow flat pitch looked questionable as openers Cook and Paul Walter posted the County’s highest opening partnership of the season with 83 before they were parted.

Walter, who had impressed in his two matches in the competition when batting in the middle-order was promoted up the order to replace Nick Browne and looked accomplished and comfortable in the role
hitting 43 before being dismissed.

Tom Westley contributed 18 in a stand of 61 with Cook and had just begun to look in menacing form when he edged leg-spinner Mason Crane behind the wicket.

Jamie Porter frustrated the Hampshire bowlers for more than an hour for 8 in his role as nightwatchman and when he departed, Dan Lawrence joined Cook. The 23-year-old looked in imperious form timing the ball superbly from the moment he arrived at the crease to join the imposing figure of Cook in an unbroken partnership worth 78 before the weather spoiled a burgeoning partnership.

Cook offered another exhibition of the quality strokeplay with a number of unfettered drives and playing the ball superbly off his legs that saw him to his 23rd first-class century for Essex and 66th in all first-class cricket and by the enforced conclusion of a truncated match, he had reached 24,000 first-class career runs.

Essex were left with 9 points and although they head the South Group with 70 points, other group leaders Somerset and Derbyshire have 76 and 71 points respectively.

All three teams having just one match to play, and with only two of the three group winners qualifying for the Final, it all adds up to a tense situation for Essex when they meet Middlesex in the final group match at The Cloudfm County Ground starting on 6th September.

Day Three Highlights:

Alastair Cook’s Day Three reaction:

Day Three Close of Play Report:

Alastair Cook struck a sublime unbeaten 129 before torrential rain during the Lunch interval ended play for the day with Essex 249-3 in their Bob Willis match with Hampshire at Arundel.

Thus far, only 78 overs have been possible in the three days of this encounter although the Essex opener has prospered in that time.

He reached his 23rd century for the County, and his first since May last year, having faced 180 balls that included 11 boundaries.

He played in trademark fashion with vigilance punctuated by a series of superbly timed strokes including a number of off-drives that raced to the boundary.

The unflappable left-hander has now recorded an incredible 66 first-class centuries and his insatiable appetite for runs was well evidenced here as he gathered runs seemingly at will. During the course of his innings, he took his overall tally of first-class runs beyond 24,000 and he now has the highest aggregate of runs in the world by anyone currently playing first-class cricket.

Frustratingly for Essex, when the rain swept across the Arundel Castle venue, they were on course for a major haul of batting points after only accruing 4 from their previous three matches although, of course, all three matches had ended in Essex victories.

The visitors had resumed on 146-2 when play started on time this morning and in bright sunlight, Cook and Jamie Porter accrued a further 25 runs before Ryan Stevenson had the nightwatchman pinned in the crease for 8 as he attempted to turn the ball into the leg side.

That dismissal brought Dan Lawrence to the crease and he immediately showed a confident approach. He and Cook took Essex to their first batting point before Lawrence collected boundaries off leg spinner Mason Crane including the first maximum of the match.

Their entertaining half-century partnership arrived after 46 minutes and 74 balls and the pair continued to keep the fielders on their toes.

Lawrence was 37 not out and Essex within one run of a second batting point when firstly Lunch arrived before their further progress was halted by a downturn in the weather.

Although the weather markedly improved with the ground bathed in sunshine by the scheduled Tea interval, the damage had been done.
Two further inspections followed before play was officially called off for the day at 5:30pm

Day Two Highlights:

Tom Westley’s Day Two reaction:

Day Two Close of Play Report:

Alastair Cook struck a sublime half-century as Essex reached the close of the second day on 146-2 in their Bob Willis Trophy meeting at Arundel with Hampshire.

Cook combined admirable defensive technique with a fluent array of drives and will resume tomorrow on 75 not out accompanied by nightwatchman Jamie Porter who has still to get off the mark.

Cook was involved in two half-century stands, the first with new partner Paul Walter of 83 and then 61 with Tom Westley who was dismissed for 18 just before the close.

After the total washout of the opening day, play commenced on time and Essex, who were put into bat made an excellent start. Both openers played responsibly on a wicket that proved to be slow and flat and the half-century partnership arrived after 97 deliveries with Walter having contributed half of those runs and his partner 16.

By now, they had composed the highest first-wicket partnership this season for the side as they moved along in a serene and effective manner.

The total had advanced to 83 when heavy rain drove the players off for an early Lunch after 23 overs had been bowled.

Walter, who has been a model of consistency this season since he was introduced into the side in the middle order, was just 7 runs short of a maiden half-century against County opposition at this stage.

Further showers though prevented his immediate progress and any play in the afternoon before a resumption was made at 5pm with 24 overs to be bowled.

In the best weather of the match so far, the openers returned but with the third delivery after the resumption, their stand came to an end when Walter edged a delivery from Ian Holland that moved away from the left-hander who was caught at first slip without addition to his score.

It took Westley 8 balls to get off the mark collecting 3 runs off Brad Wheal before the Essex Captain produced a subline cover drive in the next over that raced to the boundary despite the damp outfield.

Cook also found the ropes soon after when facing Wheal and the opener then brought up the 100 in the 31st over with another boundary against the same bowler.

His half-century arrived with a couple of runs backward of square after leg-break bowler Mason Crane had been introduced into the attack.

Cook, who has 22 hundreds and now 46 half-centuries in first-class matches for Essex celebrated the latest milestone picking up two boundaries in the same James Fuller over.

Westley was beginning to play positively but with his score on 18, the total on 144 and with 2 overs remaining he pushed forward against the leg-spin of Crane and edged a catch to the wicket-keeper.

Anthony McGrath’s Day One reaction:

Day One Close of Play Report:

Not a ball was bowled at Arundel where Hampshire and Essex are meeting in the Bob Willis Trophy.

To the frustration of all concerned, the series of inspections carried out by umpires proved to no avail in the attempt to get the match underway.
The umpires decided on an 11:30am inspection following morning rain but that inspection was halted by a heavy shower that worsened conditions.

An early Lunch was taken before two inspections in the afternoon, both of which proved fruitless before an early Tea was called.

The next inspection at 4pm brought the ‘no play today’ decision.

The problems concern the wet outfield and the damp run-ups for the bowlers.

Neither team has named a starting line-up and the toss has not yet been made.