Match Preview: Somerset v Essex


Somerset v Essex

Vitality County Championship
The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton
Friday 03 – Monday 06 May 2024 | 11:00am start

Having continued an unbeaten start to the season with a draw against Durham at the Seat Unique Riverside, Essex are again on the road this weekend with a trip to the Cooper Associates County Ground in Taunton to take on Somerset.

Nick Browne’s 184 was the standout in Chester-le-Street, along with 107 for Feroze Khushi, as the Eagles racked up a new team-record score against Durham of 488.

With Michael Pepper and Adam Rossington out with injuries, Yorkshire’s Harry Duke was loaned in, and he immediately endeared himself to his new teammates with a stunning low one-handed grab off Jamie Porter to remove Scott Borthwick.

With Tom Westley also unavailable due to personal reasons, the side was captained for the first time by Sam Cook, and with the Eagles in need of a nightwatchman late on Day One, the 26-year-old opened both the bowling and the batting.

Meanwhile, Browne underpinned the visitors’ innings by soaking up 321 deliveries, forming partnerships of 166 with Khushi and 100 with Jordan Cox, as the draw was agreed shortly before 5:00pm on the final day.

With one almighty journey in the space of a fortnight under their belts, Anthony McGrath’s side go on another this week in search of a third win of the season when they are welcomed to the West Country by fourth-placed Somerset.


Head Coach McGrath has named a 13-strong group for the trip to Taunton.

Captain Tom Westley, who became a father for the second time this week with the birth of his daughter Florence, returns in place of Robin Das.

The Opposition

Somerset have made a solid, if unspectacular, start to the campaign, with four draws from their opening four matches against Kent, Surrey, Nottinghamshire, and Worcestershire.

They dominated in Canterbury in the season opener and were denied only by the weather, while they fought back admirably at the Kia Oval to hold the Brown Caps to a stalemate.

A flat deck in their first home game against the Green and Golds set up an inevitable draw, while the rain again intervened during the relatively short trip to Kidderminster in their most recent fixture.

Jason Kerr’s men have taken 21 bonus points from those four games, split into 11 for batting and 10 for bowling, to sit fourth in the table, three points ahead of Durham and two behind Warwickshire, with the Eagles a further 16 ahead.

Tom Lammonby is the Taunton outfit’s leading run-scorer, and is indeed fifth in the entire division’s charts, with 373 from the first four matches, with Australian import Matt Renshaw having notched 245.

Meanwhile, Kasey Aldridge and new captain Lewis Gregory lead the way with the ball, having each claimed 11 wickets at 21.09 and 32.72 respectively, and 6’6″ Craig Overton remains a major presence in both disciplines.

Somerset squad: Lewis Gregory, Sean Dickson, Matt Renshaw, Tom Lammonby, Andy Umeed, Tom Banton, James Rew, Craig Overton, Josh Davey, Migael Pretorius, Kasey Aldridge, Jake Ball and Shoaib Bashir.

Last Time We Met

Essex recorded a comfortable 196-run win the last time they met Somerset, in high summer at The Cloud County Ground, thanks to centuries from Alastair Cook and Matt Critchley, and Simon Harmer’s eight match wickets.

Play began following an impeccably-observed minute’s silence to pay tribute to the victims of the Nottingham attacks, Barnaby Webber, who represented Bishops Hull CC in Somerset, and Grace O’Malley-Kumar, who played in Essex age-group sides between 2015 and 2019.

Batting first, Essex piled up 462-9 as Cook amassed 128, in what would turn out to be his final century for Essex, Matt Critchley struck 121, and Feroze Khushi also chipped in with an unbeaten 56 from 69 deliveries.

In response, the visitors could only muster 167 as Harmer ripped through the lower order in returning 5/64 from 25 overs, including at one point being on a hat-trick, giving the Eagles an enormous first-innings lead of 295.

Deciding against enforcing the follow-on, Tom Westley sent his troops out to bat again, and they extended that lead to a near-insurmountable 465 by declaring on 170-7, with Critchley making another half-century.

The visitors gamely attempted to chase down their mammoth target, but their ultimate total of 269 was far short of what they needed as Harmer and Jamie Porter claimed three wickets apiece, with a 22-point Essex victory sealed on the final morning.

Division One Table

How To Watch

If you are not able to make the trip to the West Country in person, the game will be streamed live on our hosts’ 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, while live updates and daily highlights will also be provided on the Club’s social media channels.


For anyone planning to join the Eagles in Taunton over the next four days, tickets can be purchased directly from Somerset’s website in advance of each day.

These are priced at £18 for adults, £9 for students, £8 for those aged 16-18, and £6 for juniors aged under 16, with seating unreserved at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

Somerset also offer a ‘Member for the Day’ ticket, which grants access to members’ areas, priced at £20, while family tickets for two adults and two children can be purchased for £36 each.

Members’ areas are the James Hildreth Stand, the Lord Ian Botham Stand, the lower area of the Colin Atkinson Pavilion, and the elevated area of the Marcus Trescothick Pavilion.

All tickets are available to buy direct from the hosts’ website by clicking the link below. Please be mindful of selecting the correct day on which you would like to attend by using the calendar icon in the top right corner of the seat selection box.

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 are now only 15% of tickets remaining across all seven home fixtures, with two already sold out.

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