Worcestershire v Essex
Blackfinch New Road
Friday 11 – Monday 14 April 2018
Worcestershire | Daryl Mitchell* (27), Brett D’Oliveira (15), Tom Fell (29), Joe Clarke (33), Travis Head (62), Ben Cox + (10), Ed Barnard (30), Ben Twohig (42), Joe Leach (23), Josh Tongue (24), Steve Magoffin (64).
Essex | Alastair Cook (26), Varun Chopra (6), Tom Westley (21), Dan Lawrence (28), Ravi Bopara (25), Ryan ten Doeschate* (27), James Foster + (7), Simon Harmer (11), Peter Siddle (64), Jamie Porter (44), Sam Cook (16).
Umpires | Nick Cook & Neil Mallender
Toss | Essex won the toss and chose to bat
Day Three Reaction | Simon Harmer
Day Three Match Highlights
Day Three | Close of Play Report
Peter Siddle and Simon Harmer bowled Essex to a 32 runs success over Worcestershire at Blackfinch New Road to give the Champions the second win of the 2018 season.
Australian quickie Siddle took 5 for 37 whilst Harmer took 5 for 43 as bottom of the table Worcestershire were bowled out for 182.
It was a memorable way for Siddle to sign off from his five-match stint with the County as he earned match figures of 7 for 93 to enjoy the fruits of his labours after taking 8 wickets in the defeat by Yorkshire last week.
The home side had been set 215 runs for victory but they lost their last five wickets for just 22 runs in 14 overs as Siddle and Harmer bowled masterfully with guile and nous to take their side to victory and 19 points.
At 160 for 5, the home side must have fancied their chances of recording a first win since being promoted at the end of last year but they had no answer to the Essex duo.
It was Harmer that ended an imposing 63 runs stand for the sixth wicket when bowled Ed Barnard around his legs for 29 as the batsman attempted to sweep and six runs later, the South African followed up with the wicket of Ben Twohig who picked out Jamie Porter on the deep mid-wicket boundary.
Travis Head proved the top-scorer for the hosts reaching a half-century from 92 balls with three boundaries but the experienced Australian batsman failed to take the initiative and protect the lower order.
Joe Leach was caught at bat/pad by Ryan ten Doeschate when facing Harmer with the score now 173 for 8 before Siddle and Harmer continued their double act when Siddle captured his fifth wicket when Josh Tongue was caught by Harmer at second slip to leave Worcestershire 180 for 9.
Head now on 62, went for broke but only succeeded in driving Harmer into the hands of ten Doeschate at deep cover to send the Essex players into a huddle of great celebration.
The visitors had been dismissed for 275 in their second innings having resumed on 143 for 4 and it was thanks to a mature innings by Dan Lawrence of 71 that gave them their fighting- and ultimately successful – chance.
The 20 year-old batted fr three hours to hold things together assisted chiefly by 24 from James Foster with whom he added 63 for the seventh wicket and then 23 from Harmer as 27 important runs were accrued for the eighth wicket.
Essex now take a break from red ball cricket with the start of the Royal London One day Cup 50 overs competition on Thursday with a trip to Radlett where they face Middlesex.
Day Two Match Highlights
Day Two | Close of Play Report
Essex reached the close of day two on 143 for 4 representing an overall lead of 82 runs over Worcestershire at New Road.
They bowled the home side out for 238 but a typical gutsy innings by Alastair Cook of 65 helped wipe out the first innings deficit of 61 on a pitch that is offering encouragement to the bowlers with the ball nipping around off the seam whilst occasionally also keeping low.
Joe Clarke held the home side together hitting his second century in as many matches before he became one of three wicket s for Ravi Bopara exploiting the helpful pitch top maximum effect.
His century arrived from 161 balls and included 14 boundaries and he was finally undone when he pushed forward ad was leg before.
Daryl Mitchell struck 41 and fellow opener Brett D’Oliveira 37 to support Clarke but elsewhere there was little contribution as seven batsmen failed to reach double figures as the Essex attack maintained an excellent line and length.
The loss of five wickets for 46 either side of lunch brought the visitors back into a match after their opponents had reached 142 for 2 thanks to an 82 runs stand between Mitchell and Clarke.
Bopara returned 3 for 30, Simon Harmer 2 for 29, Peter Siddle 2 for 70, Jamie Porter 2 for 70 and Sam Cook 1 for 46.
Varun Chopra and Cook all but wiped off the deficit with an opening stand of 58 but Essex were to lose three wickets in disappointing fashion.
Chopra, having contributed 21, offered no shot and was bowled by Josh Tongue, Tom Westley reached 26 before he withdrew the bat and was bowled by Joe Leach to a ball that seamed back and knocked back off stump.
Then Cook, having arrived at his half-century from 82 balls arriving at the milestone with the ninth boundary of his innings, was also surprised by a ball that nipped back in and kept low and was bowled by Steve Magoffin for 66.
With the light fading, Bopara (13), edged to wicket-keeper Ben Cox to leave Essex 142 for 4 but nightwatchman Jamie Porter (1 not out) joined Dan Lawrence (9 not out) to see Essex through to the close.
Day One Match Highlights
Day One Reaction | Anthony McGrath
Day One | Close of Play Report
A disappointing afternoon session led to a rapid decline in the team’s fortunes after being bowled out for 177. This was before Worcestershire reached 47 without loss at Blackfinch New Road when bad light brought play to a close with 13 overs still remaining.
The visitors lost 8 wickets in the session after lunch with Josh Tongue producing a superb spell of 3 wickets for 7 runs in 15 deliveries on his way to final figures of 4 for 45.
There had been little sign of the problems ahead when Essex reached lunch on 64 for 2 with Alastair Cook on 34 not out but that was to prove virtually the last of the resistance.
Cook added only three more runs before he was caught at first slip when on the drive against Joe Leach.
The total had advanced to 88 when Tongue took an incisive hand in matters removing Dan Lawrence for 20, Ryan ten Doeschate for 1 and Ravi Bopara for 7 as the visitors slumped to 101 for 6. It was the sixth leg before dismissal for the Essex skipper in as many innings.
Simon Harmer and James Foster put on 24 before both departed in three overs to Ed Barnard; Foster adjudged leg before for 16 and Harmer caught at second slip for 22.
Tongue returned to remove Jamie Porter for 6 but Peter Siddle played aggressively to notch 29. The overseas player, playing his final match for the county before he returns to Australia to be replaced by Neil Wagner, struck 3 boundaries from the 27 balls he faced hitting the ball cleanly until he went back to cut a ball from Leach and was bowled.
Essex were forced to make a change to the side that lost to Yorkshire when Nick Browne sustained a broken finger during net practice yesterday. He was replaced by Varun Chopra who opened with Cook but was the first victim of the day when caught at gully for 10
Tom Westley was the other wicket to fall before lunch, a victim of a fine delivery by Barnard that breached his defences when he had scored 15.
The home side, who started the match propping up the Division One table, made a solid start through openers Daryl Mitchell and Brett D’Oliveira. They grew in confidence after a difficult start against Sam Cook, Porter and Siddle. There was a hold-up for bad light, then play resumed for 14 balls before the light deteriorated once more and play was called off for the day.