Cox and Critchley conjure an unlikely win for Essex

Brian Jeeves

Essex v Warwickshire – Vitality County Championship Division One – Cloud County Ground – Report

Warwickshire 397 and 94

Essex 162 and 331 for six 

Warwickshire won the toss and elected to bat

Essex won by four wickets

A fifth-wicket stand of 176 between Jordan Cox and Matthew Critchley went some way towards Essex recording an unlikely Vitality County Championship Division One victory over Warwickshire at Chelmsford in a match rich with entertainment and drama.

Jordan Cox scored 112 off 192 balls during a remarkable 257-minute stint at the crease (Kieran Galvin ActionFotoSport)

Cox scored 112 off 192 balls during a remarkable 257-minute stint at the crease, while Critchley was stranded on 99 at the conclusion as Simon Harmer hit the winning boundary as the home side chased down a sizable target of 330.

Matt Critchley (Kieran Galvin ActionFotoSport)

Earlier, Ed Barnard and Michael Burgess had given the visitors the initiative, each scoring centuries as Warwickshire recovered from 104 for six to post 397.

Barnard’s 165 came off 285 balls during a 407-minute stint at the crease. Meanwhile, Burgess contributed 108 from 170 – Their 209-run seventh-wicket stand carried Warwickshire towards a commanding position, despite the efforts of Shane Snater (25-8-58-3) and Harmer (30-5-93-3).

The visitors’ bowling attack took control, with Che Simmons leading the way with three for 12, while Rob Yates had 3/27 as Essex were skittled for 162. Cox top-scored for Essex with 47 – his side, at this stage, 235 runs in arrears.

But Warwickshire didn’t force the follow-on. Essex seized their opportunity with both hands, bowling Warwickshire out inside thirty-eight overs for 94, with Critchley returning four for 24, while Harmer took his match figures to 6/121.

Simon Harmer had match figures of six for 121 (Kieran Galvin ActionFotoSport)

The victory kept Essex within touching distance of leaders Surrey. Speaking to Martin Smith from the ECB Reporters network, Critchley said: “It would have been nice to have capped my innings off with a century but the bigger picture is that the team win, that’s a lot more important. It would have been nice to have got a hundred of course.

“When I was 99 not out, the chat between me and Harmy was just let’s get the game done. I tried to hit the next ball for four but it didn’t happen and then he faced the start of the next over. I think when he hit the winning runs, he was actually trying to get me the strike but it went for four and he had a little laugh. But we won and that was the important thing.”

Critchley continued: “We knew that we needed one big partnership and Coxy has played well in nearly every single game since he came here. He’s a special talent and it was nice to put on that partnership with him and would have been nice to have finished the game off with him. But to win by 4 wickets chasing 330 in the fourth innings was amazing and to put on nearly 200 with him was outstanding.

“We got the wrong side of a close one in our last game at Somerset so to win here, particularly after our first innings performance, is very pleasing. I have never been in a dressing room with as much belief as there is in ours. Everyone believes in each other.

“After the way we bowled in their second innings, that was one of the best atmospheres I have played in. Every time we got a wicket and got on a roll, everyone was buzzing. McGrath our head coach is always positive no matter what the state of the game is, he always says how can we win the game from whatever position we are in.

“Even when we appeared to be miles behind, he was just talking about the best way we can win this game. That positive message creates the belief so it was a very pleasing win.”

Essex return to Vitality County Championship action on Friday,, May 24-27, when they face Kent at The Spitfire Ground (11am).

Essex: D Elgar, FIN Khushi, NLJ Browne, T Westley (Capt), JM Cox, MJJ Critchley, MS Pepper (WK), SR Harmer, S Snater, SJ Cook, JA Porter

Warwickshire: RM Yates, AL Davies (Capt), WMH Rhodes, SR Hain, EG Barnard, DR Mousley, JG Bethell, MGK Burgess (WK), MD Rae, CB Simmons, OJ Hannon-Dalby

Umpires: JD Middlebrook and BJ Debenham

Scorers: P Parkinson and MD Smith

Match Referee: JJ Swift


Brian Jeeves