Essex’s season ends in disappointment

Northamptonshire v Essex – LV= Insurance County Championship Division One – The County Ground, Wantage Road – Report

Northamptonshire 369

Essex 211 and 110

Essex won the toss and elected to bowl

Northamptonshire won by an innings and 39 runs

Essex’s faint LV= Insurance County Championship Division One title hopes evaporated as their season ended in disappointment at already relegated Northamptonshire.

Needing maximum batting points to avoid handing the championship to Surrey, Essex were dismissed for 211 and forced to follow on after the home side had posted 369.

Northants Rob Keogh batted superbly, scoring 172 off 167 balls during 216 minutes in the middle. His innings included twenty-five 4s and four 6s. 

Justin Broad hit an unbeaten 54 as the hosts continued to frustrate Essex’s chances. Meanwhile, Jamie Porter (22.2-1-105-4) and Matt Critchley (10-1-42-3) did their utmost with the ball.

Jamie Porter (Courtesy of Essex Cricket)

Tom Westley hit 49 and Paul Walter 41, but with those around them falling relatively cheaply, Essex’s hopes swiftly diminished as Ben Sanderson returned bowling figures of three for 17 and Luke Procter 3/47.

With the title gone, Essex’s second-inning disintegrated, although Walter hit a spirited 73 off 53 balls before becoming one of Jack White’s five victims.

Paul Walter (Courtesy of Essex Cricket)

The result condemned Essex to second place, while Surrey, whose match with Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl, continues on Friday, won the County Championship for the twenty-second time.

Speaking to Ben Kosky from the ECB Reporters network, Essex head coach Anthony McGrath said: “Obviously, we’re disappointed. Even coming in this morning, we thought if we could get up to 400 and Hampshire kept playing as they were, there might be a miracle on the cards.

“We gave it everything and it just wasn’t meant to be, but congratulations to Surrey – they’ve had a brilliant season and they’re deserving champions.

“I can’t fault the guys, they’ve given everything and we won six games on the spin to give ourselves a chance. On the whole, we’ve been magnificent this season but sometimes it doesn’t go your way.

“You fight for six months and with two days before the end of the season, we still had a chance to win it. As soon as we were bowled out below 400, there’s devastation because we wanted first place and, once that was gone, the rest was irrelevant to us.

On the future of Sir Alastair Cook, McGrath added“He’s been very tight-lipped because he’s wanted it that way and particularly because we were going for the title. He hasn’t officially made his mind up, as far as I’m aware but if it is his last game, we’re going to miss him. In case it is, everyone was just giving him a clap.

Sir Alastair Cook (Courtesy of Essex Cricket)

“He wants to do it his own way, he did that with England and, with the amount of cricket he’s played and what he’s given to the game, he deserves that respect and I don’t think we should push him into it.

“I can’t speak highly enough of him. Hopefully, we’ll see him for a bit longer but if not then the service he’s given to cricket, not just Essex, has been phenomenal.”

Northamptonshire: EN Gay, MH Azad, KK Nair, LA Procter (Capt), RI Keogh, SA Zaib, LD McManus (WK), TAI Taylor, J Broad, BW Sanderson, CJ White

Essex: NLJ Browne, AN Cook, T Westley (Capt), DW Lawrence, MJJ Critchley, PI Walter, AM Rossington (WK), SR Harmer, UT Yadav, JA Porter, SJ Cook

Umpires: RJ Warren and M Newell

Scorers: TR Owen and P Parkinson

Match Referee: DA Cosker

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk