Middlesex v Essex
Royal London One-Day Cup
Radlett Cricket Club, Radlett
Thursday 17 May, 2018
Middlesex | Nick Gubbins (18), Stephen Eskinazi (28), Paul Stirling (39), Eoin Morgan (16), Hilton Cartwright (-), John Simpson (20) +, James Franklin (74), Tom Helm (7), Steven Finn (9) *, Ravi Patel (36), Tom Barber (25).
Essex Eagles | Adam Wheater (31) +, Varun Chopra (6), Tom Westley (21), Ravi Bopara (25), Dan Lawrence (28), Ryan ten Doeschate* (27), Ash Zaidi (99), Simon Harmer (11), Neil Wagner (13), Jamie Porter (44), Sam Cook (16).
Umpires | Jeremy Lloyds & Tom Lungley
Toss | Middlesex who elected to bat
Tom Westley struck 134, supported by 59 from Varun Chopra, to ease the Eagles to a comprehensive 6-wicket success over Middlesex in the opening Royal London One-Day Cup match at Radlett.
The home side were bowled out for 250 with Neil Wagner and Ravi Bopara sharing six wickets but that total always looked well below par on the fast-scoring club ground – as Westley was to prove.
He capitalised on a couple of let-offs early in his innings when he had scored 12 being dropped off Steven Finn before growing in confidence and stature with trademark powerful drives particularly on the leg side.
The half-century arrived from 45 balls and included seven boundaries, one of them a maximum blow and by the time he arrived at three figures, he was back to his best, timing the ball superbly and so effectively .
His century took 94 balls and embraced 11 fours and a six and arrived soon after his second wicket stand worth 153 with Chopra had ended after the duo had put their side well and truly on the road to victory following the dismissal of Adam Wheater for a single.
Chopra was content to play the support role relying on judicious shot-selection that saw him reach his fifty from 74 balls with 4 fours and a six.
He was finally undone by spinner Ravi Patel when he stepped down the wicket and was stumped.
That allowed Dan Lawrence to accompany Westley to an 89 runs partnership taking the Eagles to the cusp of victory before both fell in the same over to Patel.
Westley picked out Steve Finn at wide mid-on with his score on 134 and then Lawrence was trapped lbw for 35 but Bopara (2*) and Ryan ten Doeschate (6*) saw Essex over the finishing line with 7.2 overs to spare when they reached 253 for 4.
The Middlesex innings was restrained by some accurate and consistent Eagles bowling although, when openers Nick Gubbins and Steve Eskinazi posted 79 in 13 overs before being parted, a challenging total seemed on the cards.
Wagner ended the first wicket stand having Eskinazi caught in the deep for 28 and then Simon Harmer bowled Gubbins immediately after the batsman had reached a 51-ball half-century.
The off-spinner bowled superbly and might have been better rewarded beating the bat on a number of occasions. He did bag the important scalp of Eoin Morgan who had serenely moved to an imposing 45 when he was leg before attempting to work the ball into the leg side.
Morgan’s departure left the hosts on 184 for 6 but although James Franklin and Tom Helm added 48 in ten overs before Jamie Porter had Helm caught at the wicket by Wheater, there was little left to trouble the Eagles attack.
Bopara ended the innings wiht the final two wickets in the space of three deliveries to finish with figures of 3 for 30 whilst Wagner returned 3 for 40 and Harmer 2 for 38.
Watch the Eagles in action…
You can watch Essex Eagles in the Royal London One-Day Cup this season over four matches at Chelmsford, starting with the visit of Somerset on Friday 25 May (2pm start). Tickets are on sale now with a discount available in advance, priced £15 Adults, £10 Students/Young Adults and £5 Juniors (upgrade to an Eagles Club Membership for just an additional £15 and get entry to all 4 games!).