Impressive Essex return to winning ways by downing Hawks

Essex v Hampshire Hawks – Vitality Blast South Group – Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford – Report

Hampshire Hawks 166 for seven (20.0 overs)

Essex 170 for two (16.5 overs)

Essex won the toss and elected to bowl

Essex won by eight wickets

Essex enhanced their Vitality Blast South Group qualification hopes with a comfortable eight-wicket victory over Hampshire Hawks at a sold-out Cloud County Grund, Chelmsford.

The home side desperately needed a return to winning ways after succumbing to Sussex Sharks last time out. Having taken the ball, Essex restricted Hampshire to 166 for seven. Ben Allison – who will link up with Worcestershire on loan for their next two Vitality County Championship fixtures – claimed four wickets for 44. Matt Critchley had two for 20, while skipper Simon Harmer’s economical four overs went at 4.25. Joe Weatherley top scored for the visitors with 48 from 38, while James Fuller finished unbeaten on 39*.

A second wicket stand of 80 between Dean Elgar and Michael Pepper carried Essex towards their target. The latter was the first to go, caught by Michael Neser off a delivery from Chris Wood.

South African Elgar’s 50 came off 34 balls. He finished unbeaten on 60. Joined in the middle by Jordan Cox, the pair powered the hosts home with nineteen balls to spare. Cox’s 45 came from 25 balls, including five 4s and two 6s. Their unbroken third-wicket partnership gleaned a further 59, with Cox hitting Michael Neser back down the ground to conclude a good night’s work.

Speaking to Alex Smith from the ECB Reporters Network, Essex fast bowler Ben Allison said: “Last Friday was a tough one to take and it doesn’t normally happen at Chelmsford. I think we can comfortably put that one behind us now after a great win tonight.

“It was key to have a good start, they only got 160 so we knew if we got a good start in the powerplay then it was always going to be tricky for them.

“Rosso has gone out there and done exactly what he was asked to do; put pressure on the bowlers, and that has allowed Peps to come in and play a lovely little knock again.

“Elgar is an unbelievable player. He is a character in the dressing room and has been a great addition for the side. For him to do that for us tonight was great.

“He’s proving people wrong. He’s doing it week after week. He has so much experience behind him and showing a lot of people up.

“I was disappointed being left out for two games, it wasn’t easy, but hopefully in the last two games I’ve shown the coaching staff what I can do and I can repay them with whatever they need – today it was wickets.”

This was Essex’s fourth win from seven outings. They return to Vitality Blast action on Friday, June 21 when they face Kent Spitfires at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, Canterbury (6:30pm).

Essex: AM Rossington (WK), D Elgar, MS Pepper, JM Cox, PI Walter, MJJ Critchley, CWJ Allison, SR Harmer (Capt), LM Benkenstein, S Snater, BMJ Allison

Hampshire Hawks: BR McDermott (WK), JM Vince (Capt), FS Middleton, TE Albert, JJ Weatherley, BAC Howell, JK Fuller, MG Neser, BTJ Wheal, JA Turner, CP Wood

Umpires: ID Blackwell and AC Harris

Scorers: P Parkinson and FC Newnham

Match Referee: PM Such

Brian Jeeves