Essex head into the final home match of the season knowing exactly what needs to be done to clinch promotion to Division One, returning to top flight Championship cricket since 2010.
Just 6 points are required in the match against Glamorgan to prevent challengers, Kent and Sussex catching up.
Captain, Ryan ten Doeschate has spoke ahead of the clash to talk about the side’s preparation and focus when heading into the match on Monday.
“It’s a great position to be in,” admitted ten Doeschate. “The secret is not to focus too much on the six points. Obviously there is the temptation just to go out and get the six points, but we’ll approach the game like we have every game this season.
“We’ll try and set the game up and push things on the first two days. If we follow our processes, and play to our ability, those bonus points should take care of themselves.
“You can’t not acknowledge the fact we only need six points, but we’ll try and steer away from thinking like that.”
Securing the six points this week would mean Essex complete the season’s main aim with a match to spare, against Kent in a week’s time. It was a seemingly strong possibility that the team would need to overcome second placed Kent in the final match of the season, however Northamptonshire’s 10 wicket victory last week boosted Essex hopes.
Ten Doeschate said: “At one stage we thought it was going to take 230 points to win it, and up to three weeks ago there were five teams still in there.
“But our results against Leicestershire and Worcestershire put them out of contention. Kent have applied pressure all the way through, but then slipped up last week.
“Before then we thought we would have to win this game [against Glamorgan] and go to Kent and get a result. But for Northants to do the job for us is obviously great. We still have a little bit or work to do, but we’re delighted with the position we’re in now.”
The batsmen have laid the foundation for Essex’s success with a plethora of big totals, but ten Doeschate said: “Probably most importantly, and least noticed, has been the bowlers who have come on and mopped up a second innings, which is always tough.
“You look at all the county games this season and see how many teams have got into good positions and couldn’t finish it off.”
The Captain was also happy to welcome two familiar faces back into the Essex ranks with Varun Chopra and Adam Wheater set to make that debuts once again, after resigning in recent weeks.
“Certainly the plan from Silvers [Chris Silverwood], and even above Silvers, was to prepare for Division One cricket and we were always looking to strengthen. Getting our own guys, Chops and Wheats, back is great and we are on the look-out for bowlers to go with the exciting potential we have in Beard, Dixon and Quinn.”
Chopra and Wheater are likely to make their debuts against Glamorgan, and ten Doeschate admits: “There is a strong keenness to get them in, but at the same time we want to play our best team, one we think is going to win this game.
“The sentimental thing is that it will be hard to leave out the guys who have performed so well so far, but I think the squad understands that the primary goal is to win another game of cricket.”
You can watch Essex’s hunt for promotion in the final home match of the season. The action starts on Monday with tickets for each of the 4 days available to buy now online. Tickets are priced £13 Adults, £10 Young Adults and £5 Juniors, when purchased in advance. More information – here.