Match Preview: Steelbacks v Essex Eagles


Northamptonshire Steelbacks v Essex Eagles

Royal London Cup
The County Ground, Northampton
Sunday 07 August
11am start

The Eagles will be looking to arrest a slow start to their Royal London Cup campaign with a victory over Northamptonshire Steelbacks at Wantage Road on Sunday.

After a washout at Sedbergh, the Eagles were beaten at home by Derbyshire. But despite the disappointing result, Essex fans were treated to promising first glimpses of new Overseas recruit Grant Roelofsen and young all-rounder Jamal Richards.

Tom Westley’s youthful team will be hoping that they can put in a more complete performance on Sunday.


The Eagles have named an unchanged 13-player squad for this game.

northants squad

The Opposition:

Northamptonshire struggled in the 2021 Royal London Cup, however, have been in good spirits this season after strong performances in the County Championship and a Vitality Blast campaign which showed signs of promise.

They will also be boosted by the fact they can field a near full-strength side in this year’s competition, with Josh Cobb being the only player unavailable due to the Hundred.

Northants leading run-scorers from last season, Ricardo Vasconcelos (218 runs at 31.14) and Emilio Gay (189 runs at 37.80) are once again expected to take their place at the top of the order.

Of their 6 players to feature in every Royal London Cup game last year, leading wicket-taker Ben Sanderson and batter Ben Curran were missing from the team in their opening round loss to Yorkshire.

Last time out:

Of the 22 players to take to the field last time these two sides met in 2014, only two are likely to play tomorrow.

It was largely down to one of those, Tom Westley, that Essex recorded a dramatic four-wicket victory at The County Ground in Northampton.

Batting first, Northants were given the perfect start by Richard Levi (84) and Rob Keogh (50) who brought up the 100 within 15 overs before a mini-collapse saw them lose three wickets for 16 runs.

That only set the stage for David Willey who smashed 113 from 93 balls to guide Northants to an imposing 311 all-out.

Their total would have been higher had Essex not taken regular wickets in the last 15 overs. Tom Westley was the pick of the bowlers with career-best List A bowling figures of 4/60.

Westley carried that form into his batting and, opening with Mark Pettini, raced to 62 from 50 balls. At the other end, Pettini hit 88 and a 61 from Ravi Bopara at number three left Essex on top.

Despite a flurry of late wickets, Greg Smith and Tim Phillips saw Essex over the line with three balls remaining.

How To Watch:

A free live stream of the game will be available courtesy of our hosts. It can be accessed via The Essex Cricket Matchzone, which includes player stats, scorecards and clips throughout the game.

The broadcast can be accessed via the Essex Cricket Matchzone here.