Match Preview: Essex v Lancashire


Essex v Lancashire

Vitality County Championship
The Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford
Friday 19 – Monday 22 April | 11:00am start

Having been denied a second successive win by the rain on the final day against Kent earlier this week, Essex are back in action from tomorrow as Lancashire visit The Cloud County Ground.

Matt Critchley was the star of the show last time out, as he became the first Essex player since Graham Napier in 2016 to both hit a century and take a five-wicket haul in the same First-Class match.

Critchley, who struck an unbeaten 151 in Essex’s first-innings total of 530-7 declared, was joined in the centurions’ club by Dean Elgar and Jordan Cox, who both hit their first tons in Essex colours.

Elgar made 120 in the first innings, while Cox slammed a whirlwind 89-ball 116 in the second dig to set up a victory push on the final day.

However, intermittent showers forced a significant reduction in the available overs, and the Eagles fell just short of being able to bowl out their rivals again.

Despite that, Anthony McGrath’s men remain top of Division One, and will hope to go one better in the second of their back-to-back home matches over the next four days.


Head Coach McGrath has named a 13-man squad, with one change to the group that faced Kent last week.

Paul Walter has sustained an injury to his left toe, and the medical team are still assessing the extent of the damage; therefore, he will miss this game.

The Inside Line: Michael Pepper

Having deputised for the injured Adam Rossington during last week’s clash with Kent, Michael Pepper will again take the wicketkeeping gloves against the Red Rose.

Ahead of the fixture, he discussed standing in for Rossington, the performances of the team so far, and the challenge that this week’s visitors will pose.

Watch the full interview above.

The Opposition

Lancashire rather flattered to deceive in last season’s County Championship; despite having been touted by many as title contenders, their habit of drawing too many games saw them fall well short.

The Red Rose were well off the pace by the time they won their first game, against Hampshire in June, having drawn all of their opening five matches.

They would go on to secure further wins against Surrey and Northamptonshire, but although they only lost once all season – to Essex, coincidentally – they drew a total of ten matches to finish in mid-table.

However, in aiming to turn draws into wins, the Old Trafford outfit caused a minor earthquake on the county cricket scene over the winter by announcing the signing of Australian spinner Nathan Lyon.

Along with Lyon in the bowling corps, Lancashire possess a high-quality batting line-up, featuring last season’s Division One leading run-scorer Josh Bohannon, and captain Keaton Jennings.

They have drawn both of their matches so far, but that is hardly out of step with the majority of the rest of the division, and they come to Chelmsford in seventh place with 21 points, 14 behind Essex.

Lancashire squad: Keaton Jennings (c), Tom Aspinwall, Tom Bailey, George Balderson, George Bell, Jack Blatherwick, Josh Bohannon, Tom Bruce, Tom Hartley, Matthew Hurst, George Lavelle, Nathan Lyon, Luke Wells, Will Williams.

Last Time We Met

A thrilling four-day joust unfolded by the seaside the last time Essex met Lancashire, with the game being played in the outground surroundings of Blackpool Cricket Club.

Having won the toss and opted to take first use of the surface, the Eagles posted 282 with Tom Westley striking 135 and Paul Walter adding 76.

McGrath’s side then exerted strong control on the contest as they shot their hosts out for 145, with Sam Cook claiming 4/42 and Walter impressing with the ball too in taking 3/20.

Despite facing a sizeable first-innings deficit of 137, the hosts fought back to reduce Essex to 27-3 in their second innings, raising the home crowd’s hopes.

However, a stunning counter-attacking 135 from Dan Lawrence off just 125 deliveries, coupled with a barbarous 35-ball 61 from Doug Bracewell, helped the visitors to 292-8 declared.

That set the Red Rose 430 to win, and although Rob Jones’ masterful 111 saw them incredibly close, they were eventually bowled out for 383 with just ten balls to spare, handing Essex a nail-biting win.

Division One Table

How To Watch

If you are not able to make it to The Cloud County Ground in person, the game will be streamed live on the EssexCricketTV YouTube channel and available to watch via the Essex Cricket Matchzone.

A report and reaction will be published on the Club website after each day’s play via the Club website, while live updates and daily highlights will be provided on the Club’s social media channels.


Members of both counties are free to sit in any available and vacant seat, though the Doug Insole Pavilion benches and blocks 1-14 and 27-31 are reserved specifically for their use.

Meanwhile, general admission advance tickets are priced at £16 for adults, while young adults aged between 18 and 25 can buy at any time for £12 and under-18 tickets cost just £6.

A family ticket, covering two adults and two children, costs just £35, while a four-day ticket covering the entire match can be purchased over the phone for £44.

Please note that these two types of ticket are only available in advance of the fixture, and that individual adult tickets will rise in price to £20 if bought on the day.

Tickets can be purchased by calling 01245 254010 or by visiting the link below:

The Eagles Have Landed: The 2024 Vitality Blast at The Cloud County Ground

Fresh from a Finals Day appearance last summer, Essex return to shortest-format action in Chelmsford from Sunday 02 June.

Demand remains exceptionally high, and there is now just one Friday night fixture with availability remaining, the visit of Glamorgan to The Cloud County Ground on 07 June.

With the Eagles aiming to go one better in 2024, there is no time to waste to snap up your seats.

Sunday 02 June, 4:00pm: Essex v Middlesex – buy here
Friday 07 June, 7:00pm: Essex v Glamorgan – buy here (LAST FEW TICKETS)
Friday 14 June, 7:00pm: Essex v Sussex Sharks – SOLD OUT
Thursday 20 June, 7:00pm: Essex v Hampshire Hawks – buy here
Friday 05 July, 7:00pm: Essex v Somerset – SOLD OUT
Thursday 11 July, 7:00pm: Essex v Kent Spitfires – buy here
Sunday 14 July, 2:30pm: Essex v Surrey – buy here