Essex v Northamptonshire – LV=County Championship Division Two – Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford – Report
Northamptonshire 81 and 45 (18.2 overs)
Essex 170 (43.2 overs)
Northamptonshire won the toss and elected to bat
Essex won by an innings and 44 runs
Essex saw off Northamptonshire in remarkable circumstances to claim the LV=Insurance County Championship Division Two title following a largely one-sided contest at Chelmsford.
No less than twenty-five wickets tumbled on an extraordinary first day before Essex return to finish the job within forty minutes of the second.
The writing was on the wall of what was to follow as Essex reduced the visitors to 60/7 at lunch – Sam Cook and Jamie Porter doing the bulk of the damage. They returned to finish the job after the extended interval. Cook taking 5/21 and Porter 4/31. Northamptonshire knocked over inside 35 overs for 81 – Emilio Gay top-scoring with 38.
During lunch, Essex celebrated the 19-year career of Ryan ten Doeschate with a presentation. The former skipper gave a rousing speech that was well-received by the sizable crowd.
Marking his retirement, Essex announced that the number 27 shirt will follow suit. The Port Elizabeth-born allrounder, who made 554 appearances across all formats for the Club, scoring 17,046 runs and taking 348 wickets, said: “From the bottom of my heart I’d like to thank everyone who has been involved with Essex during my time at the Club. It’s been the greatest professional experience to grow in this environment, to watch the organisation and the individuals within it evolve and become something that I am extremely proud to have been a part of.
“The support that the team and myself personally have enjoyed has been phenomenal and is greatly appreciated. The staff, members, sponsors, and supporters have made Essex a fabulous place to play cricket. My professional career would not have been the same without some very special teammates, who I know will be lifelong friends.”
As the match progressed, wickets continued to fall. Jack White claimed 4/40, while Tom Taylor chipped in with 4/67. Having lost their opening pair of Nick Brown and Alastair Cook – Dan Lawrence (33), Adam Wheater (34) and Paul Walter (26) helped steady the ship – Essex establishing a first-innings lead of 89.
The respective attacks were certainly providing the astonished audience with their monies-worth – and there was more to follow as the game crept into Wednesday. Cook continued to stamp his authority, finishing with impressive match figures of 10/41. Porter returned 5/41, and the ever-improving Shane Snater 5/17, including 4/7 during Northants second innings – Luke Procter top-scoring with 24 – the only batsman to reach double figures this time around in what proved to be a dismal couple of days for the visitors.
Despite disruption due to the pandemic, Essex has continued to dominate red-ball cricket. This was their fifth title in the last six years – The county having previously lifted two County Championships, the Bob Willis Trophy and another Division Two title back in 2016.
Essex: NLJ Browne, AN Cook, DW Lawrence (Capt), JS Rymell, MS Pepper, PI Walter, AJA Wheater (WK), SR Harmer, S Snater, SJ Cook, JA Porter
Northamptonshire: RS Vasconcelos, EN Gay, LA Procter, RI Keogh, SA Zaib, AM Rossington (Capt) (WK), JJ Cobb, TAI Taylor, JJG Sales, SC Kerrigan, CJ White
Umpires: NA Mallender and MJ Saggers
Scorers: AE Choat and AC Kingston
Match Referee: PM Such