Match Report: Northants v Essex


Northamptonshire v Essex

LV= Insurance County Championship
County Ground, Northampton
Tuesday 26 – 29 September 2023, 10:30am start


Team News:

Northants: Hassan Azad, Emilio Gay, Luke Proctor (c), Karun Nair, Rob Keogh, Saif Zaib, Lewis McManus (wk), Justin Broad, Tom Taylor, Ben Sanderson, Jack White.

Essex: Nick Browne, Alastair Cook, Tom Westley (c), Dan Lawrence, Matt Critchley, Paul Walter, Adam Rossington (wk), Simon Harmer, Umesh Yadav, Sam Cook, Jamie Porter.

Match Details:

Umpires: Mark Newell & Russell Warren
Match Referee: Dean Cosker
Toss: Essex won the toss and elected to bowl
Result: Northamptonshire won by innings & 39 runs.

Scorecard: View Here

Day Three Highlights:

Day Three Match Report:

Northamptonshire seamer Jack White rounded off the LV= Insurance County Championship campaign with a five-wicket haul to ensure his relegated side bowed out of Division One in style by crushing runners-up Essex.

White, who received Northamptonshire supporters’ player of the season award during the lunch interval, achieved his century of first-class wickets as the visitors were hustled out for 211 in their first innings at Wantage Road.

That snuffed out Essex’s hopes of denying Surrey another title – and, having been put in again, they promptly collapsed to 119 all out, with Paul Walter’s pugnacious 73 from 53 balls their only significant contribution.

White claimed the final wicket to finish with five for 57 – his 50th Championship scalp of the season.

Essex resumed on 125 for four, but their already slim hopes of amassing the runs required to prolong the title race were dented further as Tom Taylor’s first ball of the morning sent two of Walter’s stumps flying.

White and Ben Sanderson both found some unpredictable bounce from the David Capel End, but it was a half-volley by the latter that secured his landmark 100th wicket when former Northamptonshire team-mate Adam Rossington drilled to mid-on.

Essex skipper Tom Westley applied himself diligently, but he then got stuck on 49 and was eventually undone by a beauty from opposite number Luke Procter that pitched, left him and took a faint edge through to Lewis McManus.

Procter pinned Simon Harmer leg before to finish with figures of three for 47, but Umesh Yadav opted to throw the bat and rattled up 24 from 18 deliveries, playing some delightfully wristy shots as well as lifting White for a leg-side six.

Sam Cook joined in, steering Taylor for successive fours to lift the Essex total above 200 but Yadav holed out to deep midwicket before last man Jamie Porter was castled by Taylor to confirm the Championship pennant would remain in Surrey’s possession.

Having not managed to supplement his three wickets from the previous evening, Sanderson made amends for that in the first over of the follow-on, with Nick Browne misjudging a ball that jagged back and careered into his off stump.

Lunch offered Essex some respite – but the carnage continued after the interval and within seven overs of their second innings, the visitors had collapsed to 13 for five, with Sanderson and White claiming another two wickets apiece.

Those included Cook, caught behind nibbling outside off stump at Sanderson, while Justin Broad’s tumbling cover catch accounted for Westley and Emilio Gay pouched two at second slip.
Walter launched a bold counterattack with a series of front-foot drives, while Rossington kept him company for 35 minutes despite playing just a single scoring stroke as the pair shepherded Essex to 50.

Taylor broke the partnership with an unplayable delivery that kept low and seamed back to uproot Rossington’s off stump, but Walter kept going and advanced to his half-century with a cover boundary off White.

Rob Keogh’s first over of off-spin cost 19 runs, with Walter twice dispatching him over the stand before White eventually got his man, tempting the left-hander to pull a short ball and top-edge to Saif Zaib in the deep.

That paved the way for White to apply the finishing touch and he bowled Harmer before clipping Yadav’s off bail to wrap up Northamptonshire’s second win of the season – their first by an innings in more than two years.

Day Two Highlights:

Day Two Match Report:

Veteran Northamptonshire bowler Ben Sanderson dented Essex’s lingering hopes of clinching the LV= Insurance County Championship title with a masterclass of seam bowling at Wantage Road.

Essex started their first innings needing at least 400 if rivals Surrey were bowled out for less than 250 in their game at Southampton, but Sanderson made short work of their top order, removing Alastair Cook, Nick Browne and Dan Lawrence in a nine over spell, while conceding just 14 runs.

They rallied to 125 for four by close of play, still trailing by 244 runs to just about keep their challenge alive following Surrey’s collapse at the Ageas Bowl. Surrey though require only a draw to clinch another Championship. Essex, meantime, are pinning their hopes on Hampshire beating Surrey, and then finding a way to somehow earn four batting points tomorrow and beat Northamptonshire.

Sanderson (3-15) made the most of overcast conditions under lights, bowling a metronomic line and length and extracting prodigious seam movement which drew Essex’s batters into repeatedly playing and missing outside off-stump. Along the way he reached 350 first-class wickets in Northamptonshire colours when he dismissed Cook.

Earlier centurion Rob Keogh moved from his overnight 154 past his previous highest score of 161 at Wantage Road, before he was adjudged lbw to Umesh Yadav for 172 off just 167 balls (25 fours, four sixes).

Justin Broad, who played the supporting role throughout a 98-run partnership with Keogh in 20 overs, went onto post his maiden first-class half-century when he smashed Jamie Porter (4-105) down the ground for four. He largely eschewed risk, hitting along the ground and sweeping the spinners adeptly, finishing unbeaten on 56 (95 balls, 7 fours).

Wickets continued to fall at the other end. Tom Taylor (14), playing his final match for Northamptonshire before moving to newly-promoted Worcestershire, came out with real intent. He smashed Matt Critchley down the ground for six, but when he attempted to repeat the shot, he could only pick out Porter at mid-on.

The new ball did the trick for Porter who got one to seam back and knock Sanderson’s middle stump out of the ground before enticing the edge from White, Alastair Cook taking a tumbling catch at slip.

In reply, Browne (13) started briskly but drove loosely to a fuller ball from Sanderson and was caught behind by keeper Lewis McManus. Cook (6) played a beautiful extra cover drive off Sanderson but was undone when the Northamptonshire stalwart got one to nip back and send his off-stump cartwheeling.

Lawrence (12), playing his final match for Essex before he joins Surrey, fell soon after lunch when he played away from his body to another ball from Sanderson which seamed away, McManus again taking the catch.

Critchley (17) saw off Sanderson, eventually getting hold of one from Taylor, guiding it safely down to third to bring up Essex’s 50 in the 16th over and driving White through midwicket for another boundary. But when Northamptonshire skipper Luke Procter pitched one up, Critchley played across the line trying to work the ball to leg, only to have his off-stump knocked back.

Jack White was finding plenty of movement off the seam too and drew Paul Walter into edging behind with just 1 to his name, only for Karun Nair to drop the ball at first slip. Walter though started to find the boundary, driving fluently through extra cover.

Tom Westley, who had put on 33 with Critchley, played sweetly off his legs early on, but became becalmed, scoring just 1 out of an unbeaten partnership of 27 with Walter before bad light and rain stopped play with Essex on 95 for four, still trailing by 274 runs.

After the resumption, Walter started to stroke the ball sweetly down the ground, but Essex’s scoring remained below three an over, putting them a long way behind the rate needed to secure the three batting bonus points they need.

Day One Highlights:

Day One Match Report:

Rob Keogh gave Northamptonshire supporters a rare moment to celebrate with a stunning century against Essex at Wantage Road, scoring 154 off just 145 balls. With the county already relegated and playing for pride after a nightmare season, Keogh put on a show with boundaries all around the ground as Northamptonshire claimed their first batting bonus point at home this summer and closed on 279 for six on day one of this LV= Insurance County Championship match.

Keogh batted with a sense of freedom, taking the positive, attacking route, but timing the ball to perfection and not offering any chances. Strong on the drive and cut and punching firmly off the backfoot, when Essex resorted to bowling short, he dismissively hooked and pulled the ball away to the ropes, hitting 23 fours and four sixes.

He ticked off milestones along the way too, passing 6,000 career first-class runs and becoming Northamptonshire’s highest run scorer in the Championship this season. The innings neatly bookends his season following 116 in the Steelbacks’ opening fixture against Kent in April.

Keogh came to the wicket after Jamie Porter (2-82) had struck twice, finding plenty of movement outside off-stump and immediately took the positive route against the Essex seamer, sharing a stand of 107 with Saif Zaib (28) in exactly 25 overs.

Earlier Essex won the toss and decided to field and Sam Cook and Porter took a wicket apiece to reduce Northamptonshire to 23 for two after five overs. First Emilio Gay was adjudged to have edged Cook behind to the keeper. Then in the next over Porter squared up Steelbacks skipper Luke Procter, the ball flying off the inside edge to Matt Critchley at third slip who took a good low catch.

Azad was joined by Indian batter Karun Nair and the pair batted for 12 overs, putting on 40. Azad moved onto 32, picking up five streaky boundaries behind square on both sides of the wicket. He eventually middled one through backward point before Simon Harmer’s second delivery earned the breakthrough, an arm ball which trapped Azad lbw.

Nair (21), fresh from scoring 150 at the Oval last week, played a couple of handsome shots including a beautifully timed on drive off Porter, but departed when he got an inside edge onto his stumps against the same bowler with Northamptonshire 95 for four.

Keogh then took command against Porter, driving through midwicket and extra cover, pulling over midwicket and guiding him off the backfoot to bring up Northamptonshire’s 100 in the 27th over.

After reaching his half-century off 62 balls before tea, Keogh continued to score freely after the interval, garnering 14 off one over from Harmer. He slog swept the spinner for four, hit the next ball over long-on for six and then played a backfoot punch for another boundary.

He moved towards three figures by pulling Porter for six and four and then swung Matt Critchley through mid-on to bring up his 16th first-class century off 105 balls. Consecutive boundaries followed off Umesh Yadav including a push down the ground for four before he pulled the Indian paceman behind square for six and smashed him back over his head for four.

Zaib largely played the supporting role to Keogh but deployed the sweep shot against the spinners to good effect before he was caught behind off Critchley. It was the twelfth time in 19 innings this season that Zaib has been dismissed between 25 and 49 In his next over Critchley (2-22) trapped McManus lbw with Northamptonshire 214 for six.

Keogh though was joined by Justin Broad who kept him company in a partnership of 65 off 76 balls, scoring just 17 as Keogh went on the rampage at the other end.