Essex beaten in Blast opener

Gloucestershire v Essex – Vitality Blast – Seat Unique Stadium, Bristol – Report

Essex 141 for nine (20.0 overs)

Gloucestershire 142 for five (17.0 overs)

Gloucestershire won the toss and elected to bowl

Gloucestershire won by five wickets

Essex’s Vitality Blast campaign got off to a frustrating start as Gloucestershire comfortably beat them at the Seat Unique Stadium, Bristol.

The visitors got off to the worst possible start. They found themselves two wickets down without a run on the scoreboard after just three balls – Dean Elgar and Michael Pepper were teh batters back in the hutch – David Payne profiting on both occasions with the ball.

When Payne struck again, this time removing Adam Rossington in the middle of the third over, Essex were left floundering precariously on 11 for three. The writing was already on the wall.

Jordan Cox carried some of his red ball form into the Blast, hitting 48 off 28 balls, while Paul Walter offered able support with 43 from 31. However, the big-hitting duo was two of only four Essex batters to reach double figures. Payne finished with impressive bowling figures of (4-1-24-4), while Matt Taylor had similar success, taking four for 22.

Gloucestershire chased down their target with eighteen balls to spare.Wicketkeeper/batter, James Bracey top-scored with 49 during a 32-minute stint in the middle. Earlier, Cameron Bancroft had contributed 32, while Ben Charlesworth was unbeaten on 22* at the conclusion. Luc Benkenstein with two for 24 for the defeated visitors.

Speaking to Andy Stockhausen from the ECB Reporters Network, Essex coach Anthony McGrath said: “This can happen, particularly at the start of a campaign. We’ve played nothing but red ball cricket, have just come off the back of three hard days in the field at Kent and, because of the wet weather, had hardly any time to prepare for this competition.

“Jordan Cox and Paul Walter put us back in the game after 11-3, but we lost too many wickets up top and then too many at regular intervals thereafter. We would have liked to have defended 160 on that pitch, but we just didn’t score enough runs and lost because of that.

“We’ll put it down to experience and move on to Somerset, where we’ll try to get our campaign underway properly. It’s a disappointing outcome, but at least we did some good stuff with the ball and fielded well. It’s not nice to lose, but we’ve been here before and we know how to bounce back.”

Essex returns to Vitality Blast action on Friday, May 31, when they face Somerset at The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton (6:30pm)

Gloucestershire: MAH Hammond, CT Bancroft, JR Bracey (WK), GL van Buuren, JMR Taylor (Capt), BG Charlesworth, BJ Webster, OJ Price, M de Lange, DA Payne, MD Taylor

Essex: AM Rossington (WK), D Elgar, MS Pepper, JM Cox, PI Walter, MJJ Critchley, DR Sams, SR Harmer (Capt), LM Benkenstein, BMJ Allison, AP Beard

Umpires: PK Baldwin and JD Shantry

Scorers: AJ Bull and P Parkinson

Match Referee: P Whitticase

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk