Cambridgeshire v Essex Eagles
National Counties Challenge Match
Tuesday 20 July, 2pm
The Cloudfm County Ground
Essex Eagles: Alastair Cook, Will Buttleman, Tom Westley (c), Michael Pepper, Paul Walter, Ryan ten Doeschate, Adam Wheater (wk), Aron Nijjar, Ben Allison, Aaron Beard, Jamie Porter.
Cambridgeshire: AJ Hancock, Ben Clilverd, Ben Seabrook, Callum Guest (c), Harrison Craig, Kieren Mackenzie, Lee Thomason (wk), Mark Smith, Matt Doran, Nikhil Gorantla, Waqas Hussain.
Umpires: Ben Debenham & Chris Watts
Toss: Essex Eagles, who elected to bat
Result: Essex Eagles win by 25 runs (DLS Method)
Scorecard: View Here
Essex Eagles beat Cambridgeshire by 25 runs (DLS method) in this rain affected National Counties Challenge Match at The Cloudfm County Ground supported by Saffron Building Society.
Set a revised target of 158 to win from 32 overs, the visitors were bowled out for 132 in 28.2 overs despite a 67-run partnership between Callum Guest and Lee Thomason.
But when Ryan ten Doeschate removed both batsmen in 7 balls to leave Cambridgeshire 94 for 6, the Eagles were firmly in the driving seat.
However, the star spell of the match came from Cambridgeshire’s Harrison Craig who returned figures of 5/14 from 7 overs of which two were maidens to restrict Essex Eagles to a total of 179 for 9.
Alastair Cook had raced to a run-a-ball 46 that embraced nine boundaries, when he became the first of the slow left-arm orthodox spinner’s haul of wickets. It was a mighty impressive performance from the bowler who only celebrated his 21st birthday a month ago.
Craig claimed 5 wickets in 29 balls at a personal cost of just 7 runs and having claimed the prized wicket of opener Cook who was caught at long-on, the bowler quickly added Michael Pepper for 3 and Paul Walter for 1 who were both trapped, leg before wicket.
Ryan ten Doeschate also fell leg before to Ben Clilverd before Craig turned a ball past Tom Westley to end an innings of 34 from the Eagles skipper that spanned 36 balls with 5 boundaries.
The home side, who elected to bat, had lost 5 wickets in 46 balls for 21 runs to slump to 112 for 6 yet the Eagles had started their innings in promising fashion.
Will Buttleman and Alastair Cook posted 44 runs inside 6 overs before Buttleman was caught at mid-wicket for 14. Cook and Westley then carried the total to 91 ahead of Cook’s departure.
With Craig causing chaos, the Eagles were relieved of their immediate problems when the umpires took the players from the field ahead of a threat of lightning and heavy rain with the Eagles score on 113 for 6.
That decision was fully vindicated when thunder and lightning arrived prior to heavy rain which caused a two and three-quarter hour delay before play could resume with the match reduced to 32 overs per side.
Adam Wheater held the innings together through the remaining 9.3 overs, posting an unbeaten 37 from 36 balls but there was time for Craig to send down one more over during which he had Ben Allison caught at mid-wicket to complete a memorable bowling performance from the young Peterborough-born spinner.
Cambridgeshire only threatened their hosts whilst the fourth wicket pair were at the crease. Ben Allison took two early wickets whilst new ball partner Jamie Porter was also successful to leave the visitors 26 for 3.
After the 4th wicket stand had been broken, Aron Nijjar struck twice in as many deliveries with the score on 94 whilst ten Doeschate collected his third wicket in 16 balls when Clilverd was bowled with the total on 116.
The impressive Nijjar collected a third wicket, trapping Mark Smith leg before wicket whilst Allison wrapped up the match with a third wicket of his own, taking a return catch off Craig.
Nijjar ended with figures of 3/25 from 7 overs, ten Doeschate 3/22 from 4 overs and Ben Allison 3/27 from 4.2 overs.
The Eagles will begin their Royal London Cup campaign in Southampton this Thursday against Hampshire.