County Championship So Far: Part 2


Read part 1 | Read part 3


Essex kicked off the second month of the season with a mouth-watering clash at home to now-title rivals, and defending champions, Surrey in Chelmsford.

Tom Westley and Matt Critchley continued their fine form from April by being the two top-scorers in the Eagles’ first innings, hitting 62 and 60, respectively, before Jamie Porter did the same with the ball in taking 4/51.


That handed Anthony McGrath’s men a comfortable first-innings lead of 74, from which they set Surrey 277 to win following their second dig.

However, despite at one point reducing the Brown Caps to 103-6, the hosts were ultimately unable to force victory as the battling efforts of Jamie Smith repelled the Essex attack and forced them to settle for a draw.

Surrey result

In the second encounter of a tricky-looking month, the Eagles headed to the West Midlands for a clash with 2021 Championship winners Warwickshire at Edgbaston.

This time, they came away on the wrong end of the result for the first, and to date only, time so far this season, as they were unable to recover from conceding a first-innings deficit of 116 despite Doug Bracewell’s 4/51.


Simon Harmer fought hard with an unbeaten 50 in the second innings to at least leave Warks needing 100 to win, and although they were at one point reduced to 86-5, the Bears edged over the line on the third afternoon.

Warwickshire result

Staying in the Midlands, though this time of the East variety, Essex’s final outing ahead of the beginning of their Vitality Blast campaign was a trip to newly-promoted Nottinghamshire.

They enjoyed a productive first innings as Westley again hit another half-century, eventually making 66, though even he was outshone by Alastair Cook’s 72.

Nottinghamshire CCC vs Essex CCC - 20-05-23 - 01292

Despite that, the hosts would reply with a bigger score of their own as Matthew Montgomery posted 177, but the Eagles fought back in emphatic fashion, with Cook and Westley again both hitting half-centuries.

Notts were then left with a total of 219 to chase for victory, nominal given the time left, and although hopes were briefly raised when Sam Cook dismissed both openers, the game ultimately ended in a predictable draw.

Nottinghamshire result

Westley again concluded the month as Essex’s leading run-scorer, ahead of Cook and Harmer, though two red-inkers for the latter did give him a healthy-looking average of 42.5.

With the ball, Bracewell finished atop the standings for May, just ahead of Cook and with Porter, the man who previously wore the crown inherited by the New Zealander, in third.

Read part 1 | Read part 3