Middlesex v Essex: Match Preview


Middlesex v Essex
LV= Insurance County Championship
Lord’s Cricket Ground, London
Tuesday 06 – Friday 09 April
11am Start

Essex begin the 2023 LV= Insurance County Championship campaign with a trip to the capital to face newly promoted Middlesex. After finishing fourth last season, Essex will be keen to start the season well with a victory over the 2022 Division Two runners-up.

The fixture, starting on Thursday 06, will be the first time the two sides have met in a red-ball contest since September 2020 when competing in the Bob Willis Trophy, which Essex went on to win.


Anthony McGrath has named a 13-player squad that will travel to Lord’s on Thursday morning with a number of the 2022 key performers in line to start the opening game of the County Championship season, including leading wicket-taker Simon Harmer and top run-scorer Alastair Cook, who is set to feature in his 20th season in first-class cricket.



Middlesex squad:

Toby Roland-Jones (c)
Ethan Bamber
Stephen Eskinazi
Tom Helm
Ryan Higgins
Max Holden
Luke Hollman
Pieter Malan
Tim Murtagh
Sam Robson
John Simpson (wk)
Mark Stoneman
Robbie White

The Opposition:

Continuity was Middlesex’s main objective in the wake of promotion with Stephen Eskinazi, Tom Helm and spin duo Luke Hollman and Thilan Walallawita all agreeing new deals.

The County are yet to announce a replacement for overseas signing Keshav Maharaj, with the left-arm spinner’s stint at Lord’s cancelled after his freak Achilles injury while playing for South Africa.

With stalwart seamer Tim Murtagh taking up a player-coach role, there should be increased opportunities for younger bowlers like Ethan Bamber to step up and spearhead the attack alongside Toby Roland-Jones. Blake Cullen, who missed most of last season through injury, and Max Harris also look like candidates for greater red-ball exposure this summer.

With three of their first four fixtures at Lord’s, Middlesex must aim to hit the ground running on their return to the top level. Former Test openers Sam Robson and Mark Stoneman provide a solid platform for an experienced batting line-up, while the bowlers will need to find new ways of taking 20 wickets without the guarantee of Murtagh trundling in from the Lord’s Nursery End.

Last Time We Met:

Essex made it through to the Bob Willis Trophy Final after a 9-wicket triumph over Middlesex at The Cloud County Ground with a day and two sessions to spare.

On Day One Sam Cook and Paul Walter shared the honours as 15 wickets fell with Cook enjoying his best figures of the season, returning 4 for 27 off his 15 overs as the visitors were bowled out for just 138 after winning the toss.

A strong performance on Day Two saw Essex close in on the victory with just four wickets required on the third day to secure a place in the Final at Lord’s against Somerset. Essex’s position of strength was owed much to the outstanding efforts of Adam Wheater who followed up his five catches behind the stumps with a superb 83 not out.

They only needed 14.5 overs to collect the remaining Middlesex wickets after resuming on 123 for 6, then knocking off the required 53 runs for victory to secure victory over the London based side.

How To Watch:

A free live stream of the game will be provided 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, courtesy of our hosts, Middlesex.