Match Report: Essex v Lancashire


Essex v Lancashire

Vitality County Championship
The Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford
Friday 19 – Monday 22 April 2024, 11am start


Team News:

Essex: Dean Elgar, Feroze Khushi Tom Westley*, Jordan Cox, Matthew Critchley, Michael Pepper+, Noah Thain, Simon Harmer, Shane Snater, Sam Cook, Jamie Porter.

Lancashire: Keaton Jennings*, Luke Wells, Josh Bohannon, George Balderson, Tom Bruce, George Bell, Matty Hurst+, Tom Bailey, Jack Blatherwick, Will Williams, Nathan Lyon.

Match Details:

Umpires: Alex Wharf & James Middlebrook
Match Referee: James Whitaker
Toss: Essex won the toss and opted to field
Result: Essex won by an innings and 124 runs

Scorecard: View Here

Day Three Highlights

Day Three Reaction: Jamie Porter

Day Three Report

Jamie Porter and Shane Snater blasted through a brittle Lancashire batting line-up to give Essex victory by an innings inside three days at Chelmsford.

The Essex pace bowlers exploited a pitch playing low by taking three wickets apiece as Lancashire capitulated in just 41 overs for the second time in the match.

Porter set the ball rolling with the first of nine Lancashire wickets to fall in the session to finish with 3-24 before Snater took his match figures to 7-59 with 3-17 in the second innings.

Essex’s second win of the season, worth 22 points, took them further clear at the top of the Vitality County Championship with only three games played.

Lancashire had started day three on 10-1 requiring another 221 runs to make Essex bat again. They lost five wickets in the first hour and never recovered with the game wrapped up in extra time before the scheduled lunch interval.

Essex were forced to field 19-year-old Ronnie McKenna as substitute behind the stumps when Michael Pepper called off with a finger injury suffered the night before. The Basildon-born Second XI wicket-keeper, the third to do the job for Essex in three Championship matches this season, had four leg byes sail past him down the legside in the first over from Cook.

However, 11 balls into his First Team appearance, he was celebrating a first significant contribution as nightwatchman Will Williams edged Porter into his gloves having hung around for 36 balls.

That precipitated a catastrophic collapse with four wickets falling in 16 balls. Josh Bohannon lasted 25 balls before he walked across a ball from Cook and was lbw, while Luke Wells was beaten all ends up by Snater to be bowled for a 54-ball 21.

In the same Snater over George Balderson saw the umpire’s finger go up as he played down the wrong line before Tom Bruce had his off stump sent cartwheeling by Porter.

There was a 10-over hiatus while Matty Hurst and George Bell put on 30 runs before the wicketkeeper scooped Snater into square leg’s hands.

Off-spinner Simon Harmer had not bowled much on this seamer’s paradise, but in his fourth over of the innings he had Tom Bailey walking down the wicket and patting the ball back for a simple caught and bowled.

Next over Jack Blatherwick followed Bailey’s lead and gave Harmer more catching practice by chipping the ball back to the bowler.

Bell had hung around for 40 balls and appeared to be heading for a third fifty in four innings at Chelmsford when he nicked Cook to Dean Elgar at first slip to wrap up the match.

Day Two Reaction: Sam Cook

Day Two Highlights

Day Two Report

Tom Westley kick-started his season with an innings that helped underpin Essex’s commanding position against Lancashire in the Vitality County Championship at Chelmsford.

The Essex captain chalked up 1,130 runs last season but had contributed just 56 in four innings this time around. However, his fluent 81 from 138 balls signalled a personal return to form and helped Essex construct a 231 first-innings lead against ailing Lancashire. By close of play Lancashire had lost captain Keaton Jennings while crawling to 10-1 in 10 evening overs as they battled to avoid an innings defeat.

In a throwback to earlier times, there was a Cook scoring runs near the top of the Essex order, though this was the unlikely figures of Sam rather than Sir Alastair. The nightwatchman hung around for nearly two and a half hours and 126 balls for a highest first-class score that marooned him one run short of a maiden fifty.

Essex had overhauled Lancashire’s first-innings total inside 36 overs for the loss of the overnight wicket of Feroze Khushi, who had laid the foundations with a half-century at a strike-rate of 160. Elgar and Cook were more circumspect, though their impact was just as demoralising for the flagging fielding side as they put on 120 in 36 overs.

Cook pulled George Balderson for one consummate boundary while Elgar also pulled Balderson to the ropes and followed next ball with an angled glide to third man for another of his 10 fours.

Lancashire did not help themselves when just after he had brought up the century partnership in 187 balls, Cook was dropped at third slip by George Bell on 44. He went to lunch on 49 and was back in the pavilion promptly afterwards, caught first ball at slip misdriving outside off-stump against Balderson.

Elgar passed 17,000 first-class career runs during his three-and-three-quarter-hour stay, but was eventually out caught behind when wafting at Will Williams on 79, his third 50-plus score in five innings for his new county.

There was no let-up with Elgar’s departure. Westley and Jordan Cox settled into a steady rhythm, Westley characteristically strong off his legs and Cox helping on its way to the boundary a Lyon ball that drifted down legside.

Their partnership was worth 57 when Cox dragged Jack Blatherwick tamely to short midwicket. Matt Critchley, centurion against Kent last week, came and went quickly, Lyon finding one to turn sharply and catch the angled bat on its way into slip’s hands.

The introduction of Luke Wells’s spin just before tea resulted in a flurry of scoring, his only over in the spell conceding 17 runs. Westley whipped a delivery through the covers to reach his fifty and then Michael Pepper twice lofted over long-on for a combined total of 10 runs.

Pepper treated Bailey and the new ball with similar distain, hooking a six to fine leg and then driving through midwicket along the ground. But he played down the wrong line to Williams in the next over and was caught in the slips for 30 from 31 balls.

Noah Thain played attractively on his Championship debut for 24 from 50 balls before being undone by one that kept low from Balderson and disturbed his middle and off stumps. Four overs later, Westley was also the victim of another low delivery from Lyon that beat his mistimed swish and hit his protruding front pad.

The innings was wrapped up in the space of eight balls when Wells trapped both Shane Snater and Simon Harmer.
Lancashire’s reply faltered when Jennings, a century-maker against Hampshire last week, went for his second single-figure score in the match, lbw misjudging a delivery from Jamie Porter. Nightwatchman Williams might have gone first ball but Harmer put down a routine chance at second slip.

Day One Highlights

Day One Reaction: Shane Snater


Day One Report

Shane Snater continued an impressive start to the season to drive a massive hole in some fragile Lancashire batting on a rain-shortened day at Chelmsford.

The Zimbabwe-born Dutch international blasted out the top three in the Lancashire order at a personal cost of one run before returning to add a fourth for figures of 4-42.

Snater battled an injury-ravaged campaign last year, having taken a combined 67 wickets in the two previous seasons but now has 10 already in three Vitality County Championship matches this April.

He was ably supported by fellow seamer Sam Cook, who managed to marry both hostility and parsimony to finish with 3-18 from 14 overs, as Lancashire limped to 146 all out.

In 12 overs under the floodlights, Feroze Khushi refused to hang about with nine fours in a whirlwind 53 from 33 balls as Essex knocked off 68 of the deficit for the loss of his wicket, caught in the slips off George Balderson.

A mid-morning downpour encouraged Essex captain Tom Westley to ask Lancashire to bat on a green-tinged wicket and local knowledge proved decisive inside the 45 minutes possible before lunch once Snater had been introduced.

The seamer removed Keaton Jennings to a magnificent flying catch in the gulley by Matt Critchley in his first over, and trapped the freewheeling Luke Wells plumb lbw in the next.

Wells had plundered 13 runs – including a straight-driven four and a six flicked off his legs – in a Jamie Porter over that led to the bowler’s departure from the attack after conceding 22 runs from three overs.

The brief morning session completed, the players had barely reached the pavilion for lunch when the latest April shower lengthened the interval by more than an hour and three-quarters.

When they did return in mid-afternoon, Josh Bohannon faced just nine more scoreless balls before he edged Snater and Dean Elgar took a stunning one-handed catch low down at first slip.

Cook bowled unchanged for nearly two of the truncated sessions and gained reward in his ninth over when Balderson failed to withdraw his bat in time and was caught behind.

George Bell hit two of his four career half-centuries at Chelmsford last season, and added a high of 99 against Hampshire last week, but Snater’s first ball after tea had him bang to rights in front of his stumps for just four.

The Lancashire slide continued apace when Matty Hurst hung his bat out to Cook and was a second victim for wicketkeeper Michael Pepper.

Tom Bruce got a leading edge to chip Porter to mid-on before 19-year-old Noah Thain claimed a wicket on debut with his third ball in first-class cricket when Tom Bailey steered to second slip.

However, the ninth-wicket partnership between Jack Blatherwick and Will Williams proved to be the biggest of the innings, helping to repair the damage of 92-8 with some lusty hitting.

With a six apiece, the pair put on fifty in 36 balls before Blatherwick went for another heave to Simon Harmer’s second ball of the game and holed out on the long-leg boundary.

Cook wrapped up the innings when he had Nathan Lyon held at point to leave Williams not out on 32.

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.

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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