Match Report: Essex v Somerset


Essex v Somerset

LV= Insurance County Championship
The Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford


Team News:

Essex: Nick Browne, Alastair Cook, Tom Westley (c), Paul Walter, Matt Critchley, Feroze Khushi, Simon Harmer, Will Buttleman (wk), Ben Allison, Sam Cook, Jamie Porter.

Essex: Tom Lammonby, Sean Dickson, Tom Abell (c), George Bartlett, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, James Rew (wk), Kasey Aldridge, Craig Overton, Matt Henry, Josh Davey, Shoaib Bashir.

Match Details:

Umpires: Nigel Llong & David Millns
Match Referee: Wayne Noon
Toss: Essex won and elected to bat
Result: Essex won by 196 runs

Scorecard: View Here

Day Four Reaction: Tom Westley

Day Four Highlights:

Day Four Match Report:

Sam Cook, Simon Harmer and Jamie Porter confirmed Essex’s 196-run victory over Somerset – their first LV=Insurance County Championship win at the Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford for 11 months.

Fast bowler Cook grabbed two in two with the new ball before Simon Harmer took two more wickets to claim match figures of eight for 178 and Porter rounded off the tail.

Somerset had batted stoically in the hope of batting out 151 overs, or reach 466 to win, but they were eventually bowled out for 269 with two sessions to spare.

Essex only won two Championship matches at home last season, have recently gone unbeaten at Chelmsford between September 2018 and September 2022.

The day’s play was preceded by a minute’s silence for the victims of the Nottingham attacks, while players from both teams and the umpires wore black armbands and the flags were at half-mast.

The two students who died both had links to Essex and Somerset cricket. Barnaby Webber, 19, played for Bishops Hull Cricket Club in Taunton. Grace O’Malley Kumar, 19, played and captained Essex Women from under 11 to under 15.

Somerset had shown great fight and grit on the third evening to give Somerset hope of saving a draw, having been bowled out for 167 with a first-innings lead of 295.

But Tom Kohler-Cadmore’s dismissal to the final ball of the day swung the mentality metre strongly in Essex’s favour.

Tom Abell and James Rew did bat out the first 137 balls of the morning, putting on 56 with great skill.

The second new ball was coming though and that would prove to be the fatal twist for the visitors.

Sam Cook needed just two deliveries to extract a thin edge behind to see off Abell for 83 before a wobble-seamed delivery nipped off the seam and into Kasey Aldridge’s off stump next ball.

Craig Overton navigated a hat-trick ball that teased the outside edge but Rew soon fell to Simon Harmer – who had shared the fresh nut.

Left-handed Rew drove at the off-spinner with the edge brilliantly taken at first slip by a full-stretched Alastair Cook.

Matt Critchley took an equally great catch at leg slip when Craig Overton turned Harmer around the corner.

Essex’s second victory of the campaign was confirmed with Matt Henry tickling behind and Josh Davey was sensationally caught behind by Will Buttleman, both off Porter.

Essex take 22 points, to Somerset’s two, to keep their nose in the Championship race.

Day Three Match Highlights

Day Three Reaction: Matt Critchley

Day Three Match Report

Matt Critchley scored his seventh 50+ score of the season before taking two wickets as Essex pushed for a crushing victory over Somerset in the LV= Insurance County Championship.

All-rounder Critchley notched up 52, to go with his first innings century, as Essex set Somerset an unlikely 466 runs to win in just under five sessions.

Somersets’ batters, headed by Tom Lammonby and Tom Abell’s half-centuries, took advantage of a heavy-rolled pitch, to show fine grit, and bolster their chances of saving a draw.

Critchley struck with his first ball to pin Lammonby for a two-hour 59 and also dismissed George Bartlett, leaving Essex needing six wickets on the final day to win at the Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford for the first time this season – Somerset still need 294 runs.

Essex’s ‘brain trust’ had decided not to enforce the follow-on – with the decision hinging on giving the bowlers a longer break, the offset being less time to bowl Somerset out.

They had taken their 295 first innings lead to 310, but lost Nick Browne in seven overs on the second evening.

The third morning was a meandering session where Essex seemed in no rush to declare, albeit against some well-directed bowling. 113 runs were scored in the session with four wickets falling.

New Zealand fast bowler Matt Henry pinned Division One’s leading run scorer (Tom Westley) leg before in the sixth over of the day.

Paul Walter showed a few moments of intent in his 25 before a drive was well caught at gully, before Feroze Khushi fended a ball which stopped in the pitch to first slip.

Critchley had shown impetus, as he had during his 121 in the first innings, to push the lead to 450 – the loose plan to bring about a declaration.

The former Derbyshire player carted Aldridge over midwicket for six before clobbering debutant spinner Shoaib Bashir back over his head.

His half-century came in 64 balls and was his sixth of the season. No one in the country has passed fifty more than Critchley’s six in the Championship – although he has only converted to three figures once.

After Simon Harmer had picked out long on in a post-lunch frenzy, Critchley departed for 52 after lobbing a reverse pull shot softly to short fine leg.

Will Buttleman and Ben Allison both stuck sixes as the lead soured past 450, before Tom Westley pulled out with 55 overs left in the day, and 151 in the match.

Tom Lammonby and Sean Dickson – who had carried his bat in the first innings – looked in little danger before the latter surprisingly hoicked Jamie Porter to midwicket.

Essex tend to pin their hopes on Harmer in these situations, especially after his first-innings five-for. He was introduced in the seventh over.

The South African bowled 14 fruitless overs before Critchley was thrown the ball to make something happen. He did immediately as a drag down stayed low and hit Lammonby – who had struck his third fifty of the season – on the pads.

After two overs from the River End, the leg spinner switched to the Hayes Close
End and two balls later influenced an edge from Bartlett which was well caught at first slip.

Abell’s fifty came in 124 balls but Tom Kohler-Cadmore was lbw to Harmer to the last ball of the day having put on 55 with his captain.

Day Two Match Highlights

Day Two Reaction: Simon Harmer

Day Two Match Report:

Simon Harmer claimed his first five-wicket haul of the season as Essex put themselves into an imperious position in the LV= Insurance County Championship clash with Somerset.

Harmer had taken 18 wickets in his first six Championship appearances of the season but tore through the Somerset lower order after Jamie Porter had dealt with the top order and seen the visitors slump to 10-3.

Sean Dickson carried his bat for Somerset, the first since Tom Lammonby against Worcestershire in 2020, as he scored an unbeaten 82 – comfortably his best since arriving from Durham.

Somerset were bowled out for 167 and trailed after the first innings by 295 runs, but Essex didn’t enforce the follow-on and ended the day on 15 for onewith the lead extending to 310.

Tom Westley had earned opening bowlers Sam Cook and Jamie Porter 20 minutes to bowl at Somerset before the lunch break by declaring on 462.

Only 2.5 overs were possible before rain came but Porter had knocked over Toms Lammonby and Abell in the first over.

Lammonby had looped the third ball of this innings to point before Abell was brilliantly caught at second slip.

Things didn’t improve after lunch with George Bartlett lbw to Porter with the first ball on resumption, having previously survived some close call while stepping across his stumps.

Harmer arrived at his customary River End in the 13th over and challenged Tom Kohler-Cadmore to take him on down the ground after an enterprising 32 off 39 balls in his fourth over. It was to his detriment as Ben Allison swallowed a simple catch at long on.

In form James Rew edged Allison behind before Harmer went through the lower order.

Kasey Aldridge was caught and bowled, Craig Overton was caught at short leg and Josh Davey and Matt Henry fell in successive deliveries.

It was Harmer’s 31st five-wicket haul for Essex and second against Somerset. Cook would round off the innings after a 40 minute last-wicket stand, which Shoaib Bashir edged to Alastair Cook, with Essex leading by 295.

Throughout the wicket-taking Dickson had held firm, and had shown little appetite for the collapses at the other end.

Having arrived from Durham in the winter, having desired to move back down south with his family, he had peaked at 19 in eight innings with three ducks.

Westley decided to rest his bowlers rather than go immediately again, and in seven evening overs lost Browne leg-before to Overton.

Earlier, Essex returned on day two searching for a fourth batting point, they would eventually miss out by three runs despite needing 40 runs in 14 overs.

Accurate bowling, with slightly more assistance off the pitch, and wickets were the main reasons for the failure.

Nightwatchman Ben Allison was bowled by Craig Overton with the third delivery of the morning before Matt Critchley was run out for 121 when attempting to complete a fourth run.

Harmer was caught behind, Will Buttleman swung to point and Sam Cook handed Bashir his maiden first-class wicket but Khushi opened up to take Essex to 462 for nine before declaring.

Khushi had initially struggled to time the ball as he reached 12 off his first 51 balls, before turning to T20 mode with 44 runs off his last 17 deliveries to end up unbeaten on 56.

Day One Reaction: Matt Critchley

Day One Match Highlights


Day One Match Report:

Alastair Cook struck his 74th first-class century as Essex took advantage of perfect batting conditions in their LV= Insurance County Championship clash with Somerset.

He made no mistake converting to three figures off 210 balls before reaching 128, as Essex racked up 360-4 on the opening day – with Matt Critchley providing entertainment in a sublime 119 during and after a 153-run stand with Cook.

On a grueling day for Somerset’s bowlers, England quick Craig Overton was forced off the field in his 15th over after appearing to injure his left foot while bowling, although he did return and bowled a further three overs.

Tom Westley couldn’t have been happier to win a toss with hot temperatures and a dry flat wicket on offer; batting was the only option, especially with the sweatless Cook ready to bed in.

Matt Henry and Overton found some early play and misses in a testing start to the day, which saw Nick Browne put down at second slip on four.

But things settled down and Browne and Cook put on their highest opening stand of the season – 66 – before the former tamely chipped to mid-off.

Somerset handed off-spinner Shoaib Bashir a first-class debut, having recently made his T20 bow and received a two-year contract.

The 19-year-old played age-group cricket for Surrey, Middlesex, and Berkshire before impressing Somerset while on trial last summer.

He started out of Championship career with a maiden to Cook, which included two deliveries that produced significant turn – sadly it wasn’t a prophecy of things to come, although Cook would only score 20 runs off him all day.

Bashir would bowl 29 tidy overs from the River End, and despite going wicketless made scoring hard in his 0 for 89.

Westley is Division One’s leading run-scorer and took his season tally past 600 runs as he scored 37 in a 77-run partnership with Cook.

He departed to a snorter from Overton which caught the outside edge of Westley’s leaving bat to edge behind. Paul Walter put on 52 with Cook before he was bowled by Kasey Aldridge.

Throughout the day Cook was his classic self. Short on his pads, flicked off them. Short outside off, bat opened up and angled to a gap. Overpitched, push through the covers. Anything that worried him, defended or left alone.

Fifty came and went in a workman-like 97 balls and just a drop at square leg when on 56 suggested he was fallible.

He got stuck on 94 for 26 balls, and around an hour, either side of tea but reached three figures in 201 balls with a very fine clip to the boundary.

While Cook was regimented and steadfast, Critchley largely refused to budge from his aggressive style; if the ball was there to hit, he smashed it. The all-rounder’s fifth half-century of the season coming in 45 balls as he scored 78 of the first 100 runs of his fourth-wicket partnership with Cook.

Critchley had begun the season with four half-centuries but hadn’t exceeded 20 in his last five innings. On this occasion he converted his second ton – in 116 balls – for Essex since arriving at the beginning of the 2022 season.

Cook fell lbw to Josh Davey with five overs left in the day to give the visitors some rare cheer at The Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford.