Shortlist confirmed for June’s Player of the Month


It was another thoroughly impressive month for Essex in June, as the Eagles kick-started the Vitality Blast with some sterling performances that now have the side in contention for another quarter-final.

As head-spinningly intensive as the schedule was, numerous members of the squad stepped up to produce match-winning performances that underpinned the success.

Now, you once again have the chance to choose the one who stood out more than any other, by voting one of these four contenders as June’s Player of the Month at the bottom of the page.

The Contenders

Michael Pepper

Pepper became the 11th man to hit a T20 century for Essex when he bulldozed a 44-ball 101 against Middlesex to start June off in the strongest possible fashion.

Many would have been satisfied with that, but Pepper in fact went on to hit a further 225 shortest-format runs in total across the rest of the month.

That included two half-centuries in three games, against Sussex Sharks and Kent Spitfires, the latter of which saw him slam 76 off just 42 to hand the Eagles a Battle of the Bridge victory in Canterbury.

Not content with that, he finished off June with a red-ball feat by matching the record for dismissals by an Essex wicketkeeper in one first-class match by claiming nine victims against Durham.

Luc Benkenstein

Having broken into the Essex team to start the Blast, England Under-19 international Benkenstein shone with bat and ball throughout the competition’s matches in June.

He played a match-defining knock of 35 from 21 balls to see the Eagles over the line against Glamorgan in the first Friday night encounter at The Cloud County Ground in 2024.

Entering the fray with the hosts 106-7, the 19-year-old played an innings of maturity beyond his years to hold up the Welsh side’s charge, and eventually managed to haul Essex to victory.

Benkenstein has gone on to bowl his bamboozling leg-spin repeatedly throughout the rest of the month, and was rewarded with another call-up to captain his country’s Under-19s two weeks ago.

Dean Elgar

Seasoned opener Elgar has continued to shine brightly in his first season as an Essex player, borne out by his continuing run of appearing on every Player of the Month vote to date.

His latest nomination comes after a June in which he totalled 195 T20 runs, including two half-centuries, from the top of the order.

He struck 54 off 39 against Sussex Sharks for his first fifty, before following it up with an unbeaten 60 off 44 in a canter to victory against Hampshire Hawks.

Elgar rounded out June by again underlining his credentials in first-class cricket, battling his way to 120 against Durham at the end of the month to drag Essex to a draw.

Paul Walter

A man firmly in form throughout June, Walter has shown the benefits of his winter stint with Brisbane Heat in Australia’s Big Bash League, leading the way in wickets for Essex in this year’s Blast.

The tall all-rounder has claimed 13 scalps in the competition so far, with 11 of them coming in June, and has claimed three in an innings on two separate occasions.

He remains a force with the bat too, though, and in the Vitality County Championship clash against Durham at the end of June, he hit the second first-class century of his career.

In the face of some potent Durham bowling, Walter struck a fluent 134 from 181 balls to underpin the hosts’ efforts to gain a second batting bonus point.

Vote for your Player of the Month for June

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

Fresh from a Finals Day appearance last summer, Essex are now back in Vitality Blast action for 2024.

With the Eagles sitting in fourth, and firmly in contention for another knockout match as the group stage reaches its climax, demand for tickets remains exceptionally high.

As Essex continue to aim towards going one better in 2024, there is no time to waste to snap up your seats.

Thursday 11 July, 7:00pm: Essex v Kent Spitfires – buy here
Sunday 14 July, 2:30pm: Essex v Surrey – buy here