Match Report: Essex v Ireland


Essex v Ireland
Tourist Match
Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford
Friday 26 – Sunday 28 May 2023
Essex: Nick Browne (c), Josh Rymell, Robin Das, Curtis Campher, George Dockrell, Mark Adair, Will Buttleman (wk), Noah Thain, Jamal Richards, Matthew Foster, Eshun Kalley.

Ireland: James McCollum, PJ Moor, Andrew Balbirnie (c), Graham Hume, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker (wk), Andrew McBrine, Paul Stirling, Fionn Hand, Craig Young, Thomas Mayes.

Match Details:

Umpires: Roland Black & Rob White
Match Referee: Peter Such
Toss: Ireland won the toss and elected to bowl
Scorecard: View here
Result: Ireland won by 10 wickets

Day Three Report:

Ireland cruised to victory beating Essex by 10 wickets having been tasked with scoring 232 runs for victory from a minimum 50 overs in the three-day first-class friendly at the Cloud County Ground.

Opening pair James McCollum and PJ Moor made batting look easy as they took full advantage of valuable time in the middle in preparation for the Test match with England at Lord’s that commences on Thursday.

Their partnership set new record figures for the first wicket for Ireland in first-class cricket.

A whirlwind blast of runs either side of the lunch break on an flat track pre-empted the Essex declaration on 307 for 8 before the Irish openers proceeded to dominate the rest of proceedings.

They picked off runs with a number of well-timed drives, some aggressively struck and were rarely troubled by the Essex attack. By the time that the last hour commenced, 53 were required from 15 overs, time both openers to post individual centuries.

Moor completed his hundred from 113-balls that boasted 4 sixes and 11 fours and was 118 at the finish whilst McCollum, who had batted shown more restraint, struck Nick Browne’s leg-spin over the ropes to reach three figures from 134 balls that also embraced 11 boundaries.

Earlier, Mark Adair, one of four Irish players co-opted into the Essex line-up, was the chief aggressor wielding his bat to good effect to oversee a flurry of runs as he worked up an appetite by thumping his fellow countrymen bowlers for 43 in 16 deliveries immediately before the lunch break.

He was joined in the run-fest by Will Buttleman who also carved and drove freely as the pair completed their hundred partnership from 93 balls to give the hosts a lead of 133 at the interval.

The blitz of runs on a now docile pitch continued after the break with Adair flashing his bat to great effect adding another 25 runs from 13 deliveries. He was then dismissed for 85 that included 3 sixes and 11 fours, when caught by the wicket-keeper diving down the leg-side.

He and Buttleman had posted a stand of 124 in 18 overs that carried the score onto 237 for 6 but the departure of the free-hitting Adair failed to bring respite for the bruised Irish bowlers.

Noah Thain strode to the wicket and was soon clearing the ropes. Buttleman completed a 62-ball half-century and celebrated by immediately launching a delivery from Tom Mayes onto the pavilion roof.

Another maximum from Thain took the lead past 200 and the 50 partnership was posted from just 34 balls. Fifteen overs either side of lunch had the score increase by a raceaway 144 runs but with 300 on the board, the declaration looming, Buttleman and Thain fell within five deliveries.

Buttleman flashed at a wider delivery and was caught behind for 65 that included 3 sixes and 6 fours from the 70 deliveries he faced whilst Thain struck out purposefully for 36 from 27 balls before holing out to long-on searching is 4th six to add to three other boundaries. Both batters departed having posted their individual highest first-class scores.

Earlier, resuming on 59 for 2, Essex lost three wickets in the morning session whilst adding 150 runs.

Robin Das added only 5 runs to his overnight score before he was caught at mid-on for 32, whilst the Irish pair of Curtis Campher and George Dockrell both became victims to Mayes for 20 and 26 respectively leaving Adair to take centre-stage.

Graham Hume and Mayes were the most successful bowlers amongst the Ireland contingent returning figures of 3 for 50 and 3 for 55 respectively before settling down to watch their top-order take on the challenge for victory in this warm-up match ahead of the stand-alone Test later this week.

Day Two Report:

A century from experienced Ireland batter Paul Stirling and figures of 5 for 96 by Essex quickie Jamal Richards on first-class debut were the headline performances on the second day of the three-day friendly at The Cloud County Ground.

Ireland were eventually bowled out for 419 having earlier found themselves 65 for 5 and by the close, Essex were 59 for 2  in their second innings trailing by 17 runs.

Stirling struck 107 and figured in a sixth wicket partnership worth 175 with Lorcan Tucker, who fell tantalisingly three runs short of his century, but it was teenager  Richards who shone with the ball.

The 19 year-old Edmonton-born fast bowler, highly rated by the coaching staff at the county justified showed commendable application finding movement, particularly in the morning session and then when taking the second new ball in the evening session.

He passed the bat on a number of occasions that might have seen him earn further reward but the teenager, who followed in the footsteps of the legendary Graham Gooch OBE by attending  Norlington High School, can feel well satisfied with his landmark figures on first-class debut.

Having resumed on 38 for 2, Ireland lost Graham Hume to the sixth ball of the morning as Richards claimed his third wicket of the innings to enjoy figures of 3 for 19 at that stage.

Two further wickets went cheaply, including a stunning third slip catch by Rymell to account for the potentially dangerous Harry Tector but Stirling stepped forward to mastermind a recovery. He had missed the first day’s play fulfilling an obligation to play for Birmingham in a Vitality Blast match on Friday evening but announced his arrival at Chelmsford with a highly responsible innings.

He moved quickly to his fifty having faced 63 balls but then allowed Tucker to play the role of the aggressor and the Irish wicket-keeper fulfilled the role admirably. Working the ball around the field, he reached his half-century from 61 balls and by lunch, the duo had posted an unbroken century partnership spanning 109 balls.

The pair continued to punish the bowling taking advantage of the 60 yard boundary on one side of the ground (the opposite side was 90 yards) with Stirling content to play second fiddle to Tucker.

The latter had reached 96 when he needed lengthy treatment for an attack of cramp in the left forearm but with just one run added to his score, he cut to Josh Rymell at backward point.

New batter Andrew McBrine retained the upbeat tempo racing to a 48-ball half-century shortly before Stirling completed his 8th first-class hundred. They had just passed the Essex first innings score of 343 when 18 year-old Noah Thain broke the 105 runs liaison when McBrine, on 67, miscued an attempted ball and the ball rolled back onto the stumps to give the bowler a maiden first-class victim.

Richards rejoined the attack taking the second new ball and immediately had Stirling caught at mid-wicket by Thain to leave Ireland 370 for 8. But the final two wickets added 49 runs with Richards adding Tom Mayes to complete his 5-fer.

Left with 16 overs to face in the day, the hosts lost both openers in Hume’s fourth over. The new ball bowler found the edge to have Nick Browne fended outside off stump to be caught behind by Tucker for 21 and four balls later, Josh Rymell departed for 5 when he edged to second slip to leave Essex 29 for 2.

But Essex first day centurion Robin Das continued his impressive form during the remaining 7 overs collecting 4 boundaries in his unbeaten 27 accompanied by Curtis Campher who is 6 not out.

Day One Reaction: Robin Das:

Day One Report:

Robin Das made a stunning introduction to his first-class career when he struck 132 out of the Essex total of 343 all out before Ireland reached 38 for 2 at the close of play on the opening day of their three-day friendly at the Cloud County Ground.

Two of the four Irish guest players for the match, George Dockrell and Mark Adair, posted half-centuries whilst Thomas Mayes returned figures of 4 for 68 for the tourists in their warm-up fixture ahead of next week’s Test against England at Lord’s.

Then Jamal Richards collected to wickets on his first-class debut when Ireland commenced their reply during the final hour of the day.

However, the day belonged to 21 year-old Das, one of a quarter of players in the Essex side making their first-class debuts. The Leytonstone-born right-hander played superbly displaying impeccable timing and technique from the moment he arrived at the crease.

He was soon punching the ball through the field regularly peppering the boundary and looked impressively composed and clinical in shot-selection. Quick on his feet, he showed aggressive instinct to punish any errors of length with brutal authority.

Having posted his half-century from 57 balls, his hundred arrived when he had faced 101 balls and was achieved with the 17th boundary of his innings, a finely executed cut.

The exciting talented Das, who plays his club cricket for Wanstead, was the chief aggressor in a lively liaison with Dockrell as the duo added an entertaining 124 runs in 19 overs.

Dockrell showed a belligerent approach, particularly towards off-spinner Andrew McBrine and first-class debutant and paceman Mayes, racing to his fifty from 70 balls but having added another 24 from 15 balls, he was caught low down at second slip off the bowling of Graham Hume to end an innings that included 2 sixes and 10 fours.

With the Vitality Blast squad preparing for the launch of their T20 campaign that starts next Tuesday, the Essex line-up are being captained by Nick Browne and included four players making their first-class debuts, Das, Eshun Kalley, Richards and 18-year-old Noah Thain who signed his first rookie summer contract earlier this week.

With Ireland anxious to give maximum preparation time to their squad ahead of the stand-alone Test against England at Lord’s next week, four members of the Ireland Test squad were co-opted into the county side, namely Adair, Curtis Campher, Dockrell and Matthew Foster but the fixture retains it’s first-class status.

Invited to bat on a good surface, Browne opened with Josh Rymell who had scored 21 out of the 29 on the board when he went across his stumps to paceman Craig Young and was trapped in front.

Browne was restrained recording just seven scoring shots, including a boundary, in the first hour in the middle during which he had faced 40 balls but shortly after, with 11 runs to his credit, he nicked the medium-fast Mayes’ initial delivery of the match to the wicket-keeper.

Curtis Campher, another of the Irish squad representing Essex, joined Das in a pacy partnership worth 52 runs in 10 overs before he was trapped in the crease by Mayes to leave the hosts 100 for 3 at lunch.

Das and Dockrell made hay in the glorious sunny conditions during the post-lunch session with Das accumulating runs with ease on both sides of the crease including a number of sumptuous drives.

Having crowned his dream debut by reaching three figures, Das launched into overdrive before an extravagant heave against McBrine saw him castled bringing an end to a memorable innings spanning 167 minutes and 118 deliveries, of which he struck 1 six and 21 fours.

Adair joined Dockrell in a partnership of 58 for the fifth wicket taking the score onto 282 and when the latter departed, Adair took over forcing the pace to post a 48-ball 50 containing 3 sixes and 5 fours during which he saw Will Buttleman and Noah Thain go cheaply to Fionn Hand for 1 and 3 respectively.

Adair perished having scored a run-a-ball 62 when he mistimed a pull to deep mid-wicket to leave Essex 341 for 8 whilst the last two wickets added just 2 further runs leaving Jamal Richards 17 not out.

Faced with 16 overs towards the conclusion of the first day, the visitors had reached 26 when Richards raced in to find the edge of the bat having James McCollum caught by Browne for with a regulation first slip catch.

Then in his next over, the 19-year-old fast bowler struck again when Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie pushed at a delivery and was caught at second slip by Dockrell to leave Ireland facing a deficit of 305 when play resumes tomorrow.