Stylish Essex rediscover home comforts

Brian Jeeves
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Essex v Somerset – LV= Insurance County Championship Division One – Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford – Report

Essex 462/9dec and 170/7dec

Somerset 167 and 269

Essex won the toss and elected to bat

Essex won by 196 runs

A superb all-round performance ensured Essex their first LV= Insurance County Championship home victory of the season and only their second of the summer as Somerset were soundly beaten by 196 runs at the Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford.

In soaring weather conditions, the home side stamped their authority on the game by posting a first innings score of 462 for nine declared. 

Former England captain Alastair Cook majestically hit his seventy-fourth first-class hundred, scoring 128 off 244 balls, including 24 boundaries. Meanwhile, in-form Matt Critchley enhanced his growing reputation with 121 off 143 during an impressive 172-minute stint at the crease.

Alastair Cook (Courtesy of Essex Cricket)

Feroze Khushi contributed an unbeaten 56. Josh Davey (20-1-88-3), Craig Overton (22.5-6-54-2) and Kasey Aldridge (19.1-1-108-2) toiling in the warm conditions with the ball for the visitors.

As so often he has, Simon Harmer then took centre stage, returning bowling figures of five for 64, while Jamie Porter claimed 3/38 as Somerset were routed for 167. Sean Dickson proved to be the only Somerset batter to offer some resistance by scoring an unbeaten 82 off 180 balls.

Simon Harmer (Courtesy of Essex Cricket)

Already firmly in control, Essex extended their advantage. Critchley followed up his first innings century with 52 off 72. Kasey Aldridge took four for 36 for the visitors. However, the home side again declared their innings, on 170/7. The lead, now 465 runs. 

The chase was always going to be too much for Somerset. Nevertheless, the West Countrymen displayed spirit with Tom Lammonby scoring 59, while Tom Abell reached 83. 

Harmer’s three wickets took his match figures to eight for 178, while Porter had 6/69 as the home side confirmed their success in some style and moved up to third in the Division One table.

Speaking to Alex Smith from the ECB Reporters Network, Essex skipper, Tom Westley said: “It feels like it has been a while since we’ve won here. 

We had a huge amount of success for a number of years winning games.

“That was a world-class performance with bat and ball. It shows how dominant we can be when we bat and bowl well.

“I think Chef’s (Alastair Cook) found some form in the last couple of games with that 99 at Trent Bridge, so for him to carry on with a hundred was outstanding.”

Westley added: “Critch has been batting well all year but the hundred at eluded him so it was really good for him to get that hundred at Chelmsford, plus with the ball he broke up partnerships.

Matt Critchley (Courtesy of Essex Cricket)

“It is really pleasing as a captain when different people put their hands up to help contribute to wins. We have struggled with niggles and injuries – like Bracewell going down on the morning of the game – but Allison came in and took a crucial wicket in the first innings.

“I think the club is in a really good place and that result kickstarts our season.”

Essex: NLJ Browne, AN Cook, T Westley (Capt), PI Walter, MJJ Critchley, FIN Khushi, SR Harmer, WEL Buttleman (WK), BMJ Allison, SJ Cook, JA Porter

Somerset:  SR Dickson, TA Lammonby, TB Abell (Capt), GA Bartlett, T Kohler-Cadmore, THS Rew (WK), KL Aldridge, C Overton, MJ Henry, JH Davey, Shoaib Bashir

Umpires: NJ Llong and DJ Millns

Scorers: AE Choat and LM Rhodes

Match Referee: WM Noon

Points: Essex 22 Somerset 2

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk