Essex v Northants
LV= Insurance County Championship
The Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford, Tuesday 21 September – Friday 24 September
Essex: Nick Browne, Alastair Cook, Josh Rymell, Dan Lawrence (c), Michael Pepper, Paul Walter, Adam Wheater (wk), Simon Harmer, Shane Snater, Sam Cook, Jamie Porter.
Northamptonshire: Emilio Gay, Ricardo Vasconcelos (wk), Luke Procter, Rob Keogh, Saif Zaib, Adam Rossington (c), Josh Cobb, Tom Taylor, James Sales, Simon Kerrigan, Jack White.
Umpires: Neil Mallender, Martin Saggers & Peter Such.
Toss: Northamptonshire who who elected to bat
Scorecard: View Here
Day Two Reaction: Dan Lawrence
Day Two Match Report:
Shane Snater ensured that Northamptonshire’s miserable trip to The Cloudfm County Ground was just merely a passing excursion. The 25 year-old took four of the remaining five wickets in 14 deliveries to end with 4 for 7 from 3 overs after the visitors had resumed their second innings on 23 for 5.
Fittingly, Sam Cook took the other wicket to ensure the match was completed in double-quick time.
Victory by an innings and 44 runs ensured Essex of the Division Two title after they ended their campaign in style with the third innings victory in four matches.
This game lasted lasted three sessions and 30 minutes Day Two and enters the record books as the quickest completed match since four day County Championship cricket started.
Having been rolled over for a paltry 81 in their first innings, they conceded 89 runs after Essex were dismissed for 170 but Northamptonshire’s second innings was frankly abysmal as they were shot out for just 45 in 18.2 overs, a total that owed more to abject shot-selection than any demons in the pitch.
Only Luke Procter managed to pass 8 in the innings and he proved the final wicket to fall when having scored 24, he edged a ball from Cook that moved away and was pouched by Adam Wheater. That gave Cook innings figures of 5 for 20 and match figures of 10 for 41 as the visitors equalled their lowest first-class score in matches between the two teams.
Snater started their debacle on day two, plucking out Saif Zaib with the fifth ball of the morning when the batsman swung loosely at a wider delivery to give Nick Browne a juggling catch at fourth slip.
The seventh and eighth wickets fell with the total on 30. Snater found a delivery that trimmed the bails to remove Adam Rossington and Josh Cobb joined his colleague back in the pavilion when he slapped the next ball to Michael Pepper at backward point.
Tom Taylor survived six deliveries before he became another scalp for Snater when he drove to Dan Lawrence at mid-off.
Procter had at least played with some pride and judgement amidst the overall aura of gloom and nondescript batting but his patience finally wilted when he flashed outside off and edged a catch to the wicket-keeper to conclude the match and Northamptonshire’s embarrassment.
From first ball to last, the game spanned just 523 minutes.
Typically, Essex finished the red-ball season in blistering fashion and few of their members and supporters will doubt that had they not been denied the opportunity of battling for the Division One title because of the contentious conference league system, then they would surely have been chasing yet another Championship title to add to the successes of 2017 and 2019.
The last four weeks of this season will serve them with justified hope that County Championship honours may be around the corner in 2022, whatever format the competition takes.
Day One Reaction: Sam Cook
Day One Match Report:
Sam Cook grabbed the headlines incredible opening day’s play at The Cloudfm County Ground where 25 wickets fell and by the close, Essex were heading towards victory as Northamptonshire slumped to 23 for 5 in their second innings, still trailing their opponents by 66 runs.
The visitors had been bowled out for 81 before Essex responded with 170 but faced with 13 overs at the end of the day, Northamptonshire capitulated to 23 for 5.
Cook ended the day with 9 for 26 following up his first innings figures of 5 for 21 with 4 wickets for 5 runs to leave the opposition in turmoil.
Dan Lawrence, captaining Essex for the first time in the absence of Tom Westley whose wife is expecting their first child, lost the toss but the opposition chose to bat first. Presumably, that decision was based on the possible concern of facing leading off-spinner Simon Harmer in the fourth innings but of that was the fact, they overlooked the very serious incisive threat posed by Cook and his pace pal Jamie Porter.
Porter claimed the first two wickets within his first four overs before Cook struck for the first time when having Rob Keogh leg before wicket, one of seven such verdicts in the innings and equalling a record number in an innings for Essex.
Shane Snater won a leg before shout against Saif Zaib after Porter was given a rest to leave Northants 36 for 4. Porter then returned to claim Emilio Gay who top-scored with 38 having gallantly attempted to steer the troubled ship out of rocky waters.
Cook, seemingly unplayable, blew away the next four batsmen with little resistance before Porter completed the Northants debacle with the wicket of James Sales to earn personal figures of 4 for 31. The last six wickets had topped for 22 runs 8.2 overs
Essex passed their opponents score inside 15 overs but by then, they had lost Nick Browne for 20, Alastair Cook for 18 and Josh Rymell for 9, and soon after Lawrence, who had shown his class in an innings worth 33 was caught on the slips.
Michael Pepper departed for 13 to end a 37 runs stand with Paul Walter who scored 26 before he was bowled to leave his side 121 for 6 but a resilient effort from Adam Wheater, who dominated the last four wickets, carried Essex a useful lead before he was bowled by Tom Taylor for 34 who shared 8 wickets with fellow seamer Jack White.
There were 3 overs remaining when Northants started their second innings but 8 balls into their second knock, they lost Ricardo Vasconcelos to Cook and then in the next over, Gay was caught behind off Porter as the pace pair continued their destruction of the opposition.
The visitors moved, with uncertainty, from 3 for 2 to 21 before losing their next three wickets as the on-fire Cook turned up the heat to red-hot claiming Rob Keogh and two night-watchmen, Simon Kerrigan and James Sales, taking his tally for the County Championship season to 57 wickets; Cook’s highest tally in a season so far.