Enforcing the follow-on: Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat


After New Zealand’s dramatic 1-run win over England in Wellington, we look back on Essex’s victories after being forced to follow on.

There have been some remarkable victories in the Club’s history, but few can match the drama of their comebacks after following on.

Following on occurs when a team bats second and scores 150 fewer runs than the opposing team in their first innings. The team that bats second is then asked to bat again immediately, and if they can’t make up the deficit, they lose the game.

However, Essex cricket has pulled off some extraordinary victories by overturning this deficit and winning games they seemed destined to lose. Let’s take a look at some of their most impressive victories after following on.

1. Essex v Warwickshire, Ilford (1984), Essex won by 35 runs.

The first time Essex recorded a win from the jaws of defeat was back in 1984 at Valentine’s Park, Ilford. In a County Championship match against Warwickshire, Essex were forced to follow on after being bowled out for just 114 runs in reply to Warwickshire’s first innings total of 334, which include eight single-digit scores.

However, in their second innings, Essex put up a remarkable performance with South African Ken McEwan (97) and Chris Gladwin (92) leading the fightback. They were eventually bowled out for 374, setting Warwickshire a target of 155 to win. In response, Essex’s bowlers turned on the heat and it was the visitors turn to sturggle with the bat as Essex dismissed them for just 119 to secure a famous victory. John Lever and Derek Pringle were the heroes with the ball taking 4/46 and 4/13, respectively.

2. Essex v Hampshire, Bournemouth, (1992), Essex won by 79 runs.

In another County Championship match in 1992, Essex found themselves in a precarious position after being asked to follow on by Hampshire. Essex only managed 149 in their first innings, which included 63 from Nasser Hussain, in reply to Hampshire’s 300. But in their second innings, half-centuries from Mike Garnham (63) and Derek Pringle (51) helped Essex post a total of 310. Hampshire were then bowled out for just 80, with Mark Ilott taking four wickets to secure a stunning victory for Essex by 79 runs.

This match was another has gone down in the CLub’s history as one fo the greatest as the team went on you lift the Championship trophy for a sixth time.

3. Essex v Nottinghamshire, Trent Bridge (1999), Essex won by 120 runs.

In a dramatic encounter in 1999, Nottinghamshire batted first and recorded 349 runs in the first innings. However, Essex only mustered 188 in response, leaving Nasser Hussain’s side to follow on. In their second innings, Essex fought back valiantly, with Paul Prichard scoring a century (110) and Hussain contributing with a Captain’s innings of 143. They were eventually bowled out for 432, setting Yorkshire a target of 272 to win. But in a stunning display of bowling, Essex’s Mark Ilott and Ronnie Irani took three wickets apiece to bowl Yorkshire out for just 151 and secure the win at Trent Bridge by 120 runs.

4. Essex v Hampshire, Ageas Bowl (2017), Essex won by 108 runs.

The last time Essex achieved this remarkable feat was in 2017. It signalled another monumental victory and highlighted once again the mental strength of the side that would end the campaign by lifting the first County Championship title in 25 years.

In the match against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl, Essex were forced to follow on after scoring just 76 runs in their first innings in reply to Hampshire’s 254.

Kyle Abbott was the Essex nemesis taking 6/20 and leaving the away side with a 178-run first innings deficit.

But in their second innings, a 141-run partnership between Dan Lawrence and Ravi Bopara helped Essex to claw their back into the game. Lawrence would go on to hit 101 and Essex total was again duly aided by a cameo from Neil Wagner who struck 44 off 63 balls to help the team reach 362.

Hampshire has a modest target of 185 for the win in Southampton but the bowling attack soon put pay to that by bowling Hampshire out for 76 and recording a win by 108 wins. Sam Cook took 5/18 with Neil Wagner and Jamie Porter both taking two wickets apiece.