Rymell relishing the Royal London Cup return


Josh Rymell has good reason to relish the prospect of a second campaign in the Royal London Cup, which Essex kick off on Tuesday 2 August at Sedbergh School against Lancashire.

The 21-year-old rookie burst on to the scene 12 months ago with a spectacular sequence of scores that culminated in a match-winning century in the quarter-final against Yorkshire Vikings.

“To get that hundred was a massive, massive moment in my career to date,” says Rymell. “As the competition progressed I got more confidence. I learnt a lot from experience and I feel I’m a better player now because of it.”

Rymell only made it into the starting XI midway through the group stage, but his upward trajectory was such that his 331 runs from six innings took him within a run of opening partner Sir Alastair Cook in the Essex averages for the 50-over competition on 55.17.

With half the recognised first-team seconded to turn out for various franchises in The Hundred, and Simon Harmer away on Test duty with South Africa, the Royal London Cup provides an opportunity for up-and-coming players like Rymell to showcase their talents at senior level.

Rymell says: “The club have made it pretty easy for the young players like myself to come through so that when you are given your chance you are ready to take it. That’s something Essex are really good at.

“For me, it’s been great. It’s the best system when you’re having to push people for places. Healthy competition definitely makes the club stronger.”

Rymell benefited from the opportunity to move up from the middle-order to bat alongside Cook. The embryonic partnership with the former England captain laid the foundation for Essex’s successful tournament and included a century stand in the semi-final defeat by Glamorgan in Cardiff.

“I learnt lots of things from him if I’m honest,” says Rymell of Cook. “He takes a lot of pressure away from the young guys like me when we’re at the other end. Obviously, it depends on the scenario: if I’m struggling a bit he will definitely help me out. I try and help him out, too, but I don’t think he needs much help!

“It’s surreal: I’ve grown up watching this guy and now I’m out in the middle with him.”

Rymell also teamed up in last year’s competition with another of Essex’s young guns in Feroze Khushi. “The two of us have always batted really nicely together,” says the Ipswich-born player. “We’ve got five or six years’ experience batting together, having come through the academy, so we know each other’s game pretty well.”

Rymell has yet to grace the first team this summer but has shone in the second XI where he has a double-century and another three-figure score to his name as well as a red-ball average above fifty.

As for career ambitions, Rymell, who lost a year to an anterior cruciate ligament injury in 2019, says: “I’m more of a take-it-step-by-step sort of person. I tend to look in small brackets where I want to get to, so for me my next goal is to be a regular first-team player, hopefully in all three formats.

“Setbacks like the one I had only make you stronger. I think I definitely worked harder because of it. I’ve come through the other side and I haven’t really looked back. I just believed in the process and luckily it worked out all right.

“For me, the 50-over is my favourite format to bat in. I do enjoy the red-ball stuff, and the T20, but 50 overs is a nice balance between the two. You’ve got the benefits of playing with the white ball as well as having more time than in T20. Hopefully, I can kick on from where I got to last year and excel even more.”

Essex Eagles follow the competition opener against Lancashire with a day-night match against Derbyshire at Chelmsford on Friday with play beginning at 2pm.

Tickets for this season’s Royal London Cup are on sale now with a discount available when purchasing in advance – here.