Essex in pole position as the title race goes to the final round

Essex v Surrey – Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford – Specsavers County Championship – Report

Surrey 174 and 181
Essex 395
Surrey won the toss and elected to bat
Essex won by an innings and 40 runs

ESSEX stand on the threshold of their eight County Championship title after thrashing Surrey inside three days at Chelmsford.

The home side went into the penultimate round trailing leaders Somerset and knowing nothing but a victory would ensure they remained in contention. But as the drama unfolded, Somerset faltered – largely due to Hampshire’s Kyle Abbott claiming world-record match figures of 17/86, helping his side to a 136-run success at the Ageas Bowl and leaving the door open for Essex to snaffle top-spot.

And Essex didn’t disappoint their followers. Initially, things looked bleak as bad light largely affect the opening day’s play. But Essex, particularly Sam Cook and Jamie Porter, made up for lost time, each claiming five wickets as Surrey were dismissed for 174.

Dan Lawrence provided the platform, hitting a majestic 174 off 245 balls and his skipper, Ryan ten Doeschate chipped in with a quickfire ton of his own as Essex seized the initiative, posting a sizable 395 as they looked to complete a clean sweep of Championship victories at fortress Chelmsford.

And so it proved. This time it was Simon Harmer who did the damage with the ball, taking 7/58 as the reigning champions batting order was blown away for a second time, handing Essex victory by an innings and 40 runs and ensuring they skipped above Somerset, who they play in at Taunton in their final fixture of the 2019 campaign.

Essex will head west with a twelve-point advantage and in the knowledge, they will be crowned champions simply by avoiding defeat.

In the meantime, Essex head to Edgbaston on Saturday, September 21 for the Vitality Blast finals day – The Eagles face Derbyshire in the semi-final, bidding to keep their hopes of a unique double alive.

Essex: Nick Browne, Alastair Cook, Tom Westley, Dan Lawrence, Ravi Bopara, Ryan ten Doeschate (Capt), Adam Wheater (WK), Simon Harmer, Aaron Beard, Sam Cook, Jamie Porter

Surrey: Mark Stoneman, Will Jacks, Scott Borthwick, Ollie Pope, Jamie Smith, Ben Foakes (Capt) (WK), Liam Plunkett, Rikki Clarke, Jordan Clark, Morne Morkel, Amar Virdi

Umpires: Martin Saggers and Ian Gould

Points: Essex 23 Surrey 3


Brian Jeeves