Match Report: Northants v Essex


Northamptonshire v Essex

LV= Insurance County Championship
The County Ground, Northampton, Monday 26 – Thursday 29 September


Team News:

Essex: Nick Browne, Alastair Cook, Tom Westley (c), Dan Lawrence, Feroze Khushi, Matt Critchley, Micahel Pepper (wk), Shane Snater, Simon Harmer, Ben Allison, Sam Cook.

Northamptonshire: Will Young (c), Emilio Gay, Ricardo Vasconcelos (wk), Luke Proctor, Rob Keogh, Saif Zaib, James Sales, Tom Taylor, Gareth Berg, Ben Sanderson, Jack White.

Match Details:

Umpires: Peter Hartley & Steve O’Shaughnessy
Match Referee: Alec Swann
Toss: Northamptonshire, who elected to field
Result: Essex won by 47 runs

Scorecard: View Here

Day Four Highlights:

Day Four Report:

Simon Harmer claimed 6/49 to spin Essex to a 47-run victory over Northamptonshire at Wantage Road and finish as the leading wicket-taker in this year’s LV= Insurance County Championship Division One.

Harmer extracted prodigious turn to run through Northamptonshire’s middle and lower order after Sam Cook set up the win with three wickets in two overs to shatter Northamptonshire’s hopes of chasing 211.

A breezy 30 from Ricardo Vasconcelos boosted the hopes of the home fans before six wickets fell for 29 runs. Despite a belligerent 39 from Gareth Berg, Northamptonshire’s highest individual score in the match, the hosts were bowled out for 163, meaning they finish in sixth place in the Championship – their highest in 27 years.

Harmer finished with 59 wickets for the season, one ahead of Kyle Abbott of Hampshire while Cook passed 50 wickets for the season at an average of just 16.1.

The result meant Jack White’s heroic career-best bowling figures were in vain. White took 6/38 to skittle Essex for 110 as the visitors lost their last five wickets for 47 runs in the morning session and set up a tantalising run chase.

Essex had resumed on 63-5 in the morning, in perfect overcast bowling conditions with White taking full advantage and obtaining plenty of movement outside off-stump.

He struck early when Michael Pepper edged a low catch to Emilio Gay at second slip and Gay was in action again when Harmer (16), who had played a few lusty blows, edged White into the cordon.

White claimed his second career 5-wicket haul when he trapped Shane Snater lbw and then recorded achieved his best ever figures when the ball flew once more to Gay who took a tumbling catch to dismiss Matt Critchley (20). White’s figures eclipsed his previous best of five for 14 achieved against Lancashire in July. Tom Taylor then wrapped things up when he nipped in to claim the wicket of Cook.

In the run chase, Snater and Cook bowled a probing spell with the new ball before lunch, making an early breakthrough when Emilio Gay prodded at one outside off-stump from Snater and edged behind.

Vasconcelos got off the mark with a streaky four down to third but found the boundary off consecutive balls from Snater in the over before lunch including a glorious drive through the covers.

Northamptonshire began the afternoon session with a flurry of boundaries with Vasconcelos crunching the ball through extra cover and finding the ropes three times in one expensive over from Cook. Skipper

Will Young too was soon into his work and greeted Harmer by hitting him over his head for another boundary. Harmer had his revenge later in the over though when he got one to turn sharply out of the rough. Young shaped to pad it up only for the ball to spin past his legs and smash into leg stump.

That wicket sparked a Northants collapse. Vasconcelos attempted to pull Cook but the ball did not bounce as much as he expected and hit the top of his off-stump. Rob Keogh left Cook’s next delivery which nipped back and trapped him lbw. Northamptonshire had lost three wickets in four balls.

Wickets continued to fall with Cook striking again in his next over when Luke Procter edged behind to leave Northamptonshire’s run chase hopes in tatters.

James Sales was the next to go when the rampant Harmer trapped him lbw. Saif Zaib struck three boundaries before he was next to go, leaving a ball from Harmer which spun back and hit the stumps with the Steelbacks reeling on 93-7.

Gareth Berg took the offensive approach, striking Harmer through the covers for two boundaries and hitting a six all off one over and continued to take the attack to the spinner as he was joined in a partnership of 49 with Taylor who also looked to be positive during his 26. Taylor eventually departed after coming down the wicket to Harmer and giving Nick Browne an easy catch at short-leg.

Berg then fell in a similar fashion with Browne taking an excellent diving catch before White was the last batter to go, trapped lbw by Harmer to finish with six victims in the innings.

While Essex were already guaranteed 4th place in Division One of the LV= Insurance County Championship, this meant they finished with seven wins and with a 44-point clearance from 5th place Kent.

Day Three Highlights:

Day Three Reaction: Ben Allison

Day Three Report:

Ben Sanderson and Jack White removed Essex’s top order to bowl their side back into contention at the end of the third day of this LV= County Championship clash at Wantage Road.

Sanderson struck twice early in Essex’s second innings to account for Sir Alastair Cook and Tom Westley in consecutive maiden overs. White also picked up a wicket in successive overs to reduce the Eagles to 52 for five and snatch back the momentum after the hosts had conceded a first innings deficit of exactly 100.

Earlier Essex seamer Ben Allison returned career-best bowling figures of five wickets for 32 as Northamptonshire were bundled out for 163. Allison’s maiden five-wicket haul followed his heroics with the bat yesterday when he registered his highest score of 69 not out. With Shane Snater also taking two scalps, Northamptonshire lost their last five wickets for 16 runs.

When bad light prompted an early finish Essex were 63 for five, a lead of 163, which sets up an intriguing final day tomorrow.

In the morning session, Will Young (37) and Luke Procter made a solid start extending their overnight partnership to 39, before Allison found some extra bounce to take Young’s glove with keeper Michael Pepper taking the catch.

Rob Keogh started brightly, playing a conventional sweep and reverse sweep off Simon Harmer for consecutive boundaries before the South African spinner spun one back to hit the stumps.

Procter cut Allison crisply for a boundary and had advanced to 28 when he played down the on-side to the same bowler and was well caught low down at leg slip by Matt Critchley.

Saif Zaib (18) played some attacking shots either side of lunch including a backfoot punch off Allison for four and a blow over extra cover off Harmer. But after driving Snater through cover to the ropes, he edged Snater’s next delivery to Harmer at second slip.

It precipitated a lower order collapse as Northamptonshire fell from 147 for five to 163 all out. Two balls after Zaib’s wicket, Tom Taylor edged a well-directed short ball from Snater through to Pepper.

Allison was back in the action with some sharp work in the field to run out Gareth Berg before angling one back into castle Ben Sanderson.

James Sales struck four boundaries in his 28 to ensure Northamptonshire passed 150. He had an early reprieve when Harmer put him down at second slip, taking a blow to his spinning fingers in the process and requiring attention from the Essex physio. However, the young all-rounder eventually became Allison’s fifth victim when he edged to Cook at slip.

With the bat, Cook (10) offered two chances to the slips on 0 and 2 but both were missed by Emilio Gay and Young. He was out shortly afterwards when he drilled Sanderson straight to Taylor at cover. It meant he missed out by 34 runs on 1,000 for the season. In his next over Sanderson trapped Tom Westey lbw to leave Essex 23 for two

Nick Browne (18) looked solid throughout a lengthy stay at the crease, but after facing 63 balls Taylor got one to jag back and knock over his middle stump.

Dan Lawrence walked to the crease on a king pair and played and missed to his first ball from Sanderson. He looked skittish early on but started to settle, taking consecutive boundaries off Berg. His downfall came thanks to an ugly looking cut shot off White which flew to Emilio Gay who took a stunning diving catch at second slip.

White struck again in his next over when he got one to jag back and knock over Feroze Khushi’s stumps, but Matt Critchley, who played some pleasant shots including a drive straight down the ground off Taylor, was unbeaten on 14 at stumps.

On a day of presentations, Luke Procter was named player of the year by the Northamptonshire Supporters’ Club and presented with his award at lunch. He has so far scored 959 runs at an average of 56.41 this season with one innings left to bat in this match.

Day Two Highlights:


Day Two Report:

Ben Allison made his mark with bat and ball on a badly rain-affected second day between Northamptonshire and Essex at Wantage Road.

Only 29 overs were possible, but Essex seamer Allison made the most of them, turning his overnight 37 not out into a career-best 69 not out before the visitors were finally bowled out for 263, Tom Taylor taking four for 59.

The tail-ender’s latest batting escapade means he now has the remarkable stat of making more 50s (three) than single figure scores in his short first-class career to date.

Allison and Sam Cook then struck early blows with the new ball as Northamptonshire struggled to 32-2 in bowler-friendly conditions before bad light called a halt.

Overnight and morning rain delayed the start until 2:30pm but just six balls were bowled before another heavy shower drove the players off once more.

When they returned, 26 more were bowled which proved enough to see the end of Tom Westley, who chopped on to give Taylor his fourth scalp of the innings. The Essex skipper’s ninth-wicket stand with Allison had realised 72.

Allison on 46 at the time of the second interruption soon passed 50 courtesy of his seventh four and his career-best soon followed as a last-wicket stand with Sam Cook raised 39 before the latter was castled by Jack White.

Cook didn’t take long to make a breakthrough ball in hand. His first delivery saw Emilio Gay edge just short of point, the ball running away for two runs. The left-hander’s reprieve was brief however as Cook’s next ball trapped him plumb in front.

New batter Ricardo Vasconcelos endured a torrid stay. Struck painful blows not once but twice by Cook, he was undone by the arrival in the attack of Allison who bowled him from with he tried to leave, but which ricochet into his stumps.

Will Young and Luke Procter prevented any further breakthroughs before the murky light closed in.

Day One Highlights:

Day One Report:

A captain’s knock of 55 from Tom Westley helped keep Essex in the contest after the Northamptonshire seamers ran through Essex’s middle-order on a rain-affected opening day of this LV= Insurance County Championship clash at Wantage Road.

Tom Westley shared a ninth wicket stand of 68 in 20 overs with Ben Allison (37) to see Essex recover to 220-8 at the end of an enthralling day.

Earlier Ben Sanderson struck twice in two balls to arrest a lightning Essex start to the day which saw Nick Browne and Alastair Cook plunder 68 runs off of the first 13 overs.

But when Cook fell for 31, it precipitated the first mini-collapse of the day as four wickets went down in 45 balls, two of them to Sanderson with Essex going into lunch on 107 for four.

Rain prevented any play in the afternoon session and when it resumed after tea, Westley and Feroze Khushi looked fluent as they rebuilt in a stand of 47. However, Khushi’s wicket triggered the second Essex collapse of the day, losing four wickets for nine runs in 32 balls. Tom Taylor picked up three wickets before Westley and Allison made sure honours were even at close of play.

In the morning, Northamptonshire’s decision to insert Essex after winning the toss looked like an error as Essex’s opening pair of Browne and Cook unfurled a string of boundaries.

Cook found the ropes three times in Jack White’s fifth over, playing some trademark backfoot punches and cuts. Browne then hit a trio of boundaries of his own off Tom Taylor’s first over, driving sweetly through the covers – at one point 35 runs had come from just three overs.

Both batters had moments of luck though when Emilio Gay shelled two chances at second slip denying Gareth Berg a pair of wickets.

Taylor accounted for Cook when he got one to nip back and hit the stumps. The former England captain now needs 44 in the second innings to reach 1,000 runs for the season.

Sanderson’s return to the attack soon reaped dividends when Browne chipped to midwicket and Dan Lawrence was bowled by a ball that nipped back through the gate. Gay could finally breathe a sigh of relief when he pouched a chance offered by Critchley who edged to the slips to give White his first wicket.

In the evening session, Khushi, who hit 118 against Northamptonshire in the Royal London Cup last month, looked to pick up where he had left off, driving pleasantly through extra cover and down the ground. His departure for 26, when he edged Taylor behind to keeper Ricardo Vasconcelos, sparked a further string of wickets.

Michael Pepper was next to go when he played an extravagant shot to Berg which flew at a comfortable height to Will Young at first slip. Next, Simon Harmer pushed at one from Taylor and was caught behind by Vasconcelos before White got one to nip back and castle Shane Snater to leave Essex reeling at 152 for eight.

Westley though was in a defiant mood, reaching his half-century off 122 balls and finding a willing partner in Allison. The Essex skipper struck six boundaries, slapping White through cover and whipping Sanderson and Berg through midwicket.

Allison had a reprieve on 17 when he hooked Berg and was dropped in the deep by Sanderson but he and Westley have given Essex renewed hope after it seemed they would be bowled out well short of 200.