Benkenstein spins Second XI to Warwickshire win


Luc Benkenstein claimed stunning career-best match figures of 12/168 as Essex Second XI earned a thrilling 28-run victory over Warwickshire at Portland Road in Birmingham.

Benkenstein returned figures of 5/79 in the first innings, including at one point taking three wickets in five balls, before going even better in the second dig with a haul of 7/89.

His sparkling match figures were the second-best by any Essex Second XI bowler against Warwickshire, as well as the fifth-best return ever seen in the Second XI Championship altogether.

After captain Nick Browne elected to bat having called correctly on the opening day, the Eagles totalled 229 all out in their first innings, with Jamal Richards’ 48-ball 55 the top score.

In response, the Bears were then dismissed for 235, with Benkenstein’s haul leading the way and Noah Thain also picking up 4/92, as a middle order collapse reduced the hosts from 109-1 to 146-6.

Such a small deficit between the teams at the halfway point suggested an exciting conclusion was in store, and the visitors went on to post 298 in their second innings, setting Warwickshire 293 to win.

Benkenstein shone with the bat in that innings too, hitting a fluent 87 off 96 balls that included 17 fours, while Ben Allison struck an unbeaten 76 to underpin a recovery from 197-7.

Those lower-order runs proved crucial, as the hosts were ultimately dismissed again in tense fashion for 264, as despite Nikhil Gorantla’s 102, Benkenstein’s bowling proved the difference.

At 220-5, the Bears were well set, only for the leg-spinner to rip through their lower order and reduce them to 259-9, with his final wicket being the crucial one of Gorantla.

Alex Gosling then wrapped up victory by claiming the final wicket of Matthew Burton, caught behind by Simon Fernandes, to hand the second-string Eagles an important win.

The visitors returned from Birmingham with 19 points, and next face the South Asian Cricket Academy in a three-day friendly from Tuesday, 23 April.

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