Vitality Blast
Thu 6 July, 18:30


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Essex Eagles

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Report: Bears v Essex, Vitality Blast

Bears hopes of reaching their first Vitality Blast Finals Day in six years were ended by Essex who won by two wickets in a thrilling quarter-final at Edgbaston.

Mark Robinson’s men charged through the group stage with 11 wins out of 14 but cruelly bowed out at the quarter-final stage for the third successive year.

Disciplined Essex bowling, backed up by excellent fielding, restricted the Bears to 167 for six. Sam Hain struck a typically polished 52 (36 balls) but, tied down by Harmer (4-0-20-1) and Sam Cook (4-0-24-2), the home side needed some late flailing from Chris Benjamin and Dominic Drakes to at least approach par.

Essex then reached 171 for eight with two balls to spare. Dan Lawrence underpinned the chase with a high-class 62 (41 balls) and Paul Walter’s violent 15-ball 27 retained his side’s control at a vital time mid-innings. The Bears fought hard in the closing overs and Essex needed still three from the last two balls before Shane Snater hit the first of them for six.

Essex chose to field and started brilliantly as Daniel Sams delivered a wicket maiden. Rob Yates skied the third ball of the innings to third man and it was not until the eighth that the Bears opened their account with a top-edged two. Five for one from 14 balls was not the start a brilliant 10,812 crowd had hoped.

Glenn Maxwell pulled the 15th ball for six but Alex Davies fell in the next over, adjudged, after an interminable review, to have gloved a pull at Aaron Beard.

Maxwell added five fours to his six in a punchy 32 but then pulled Paul Walter to deep mid-wicket where Sams took a calm catch and celebrated with a fist-pump to the raucous Hollies Stand. When, 17 balls later, the Aussie accepted another catch to oust Dan Mousley, this time he turned and shushed the Hollies.

Harmer increased the pressure by conceding just three in his first over and bowling Jake Bethell in his second. Hain posted his 25th T20 half-century, from 33 balls, but then sliced Cook to shirt third man.

With Hain went the Bears’ hopes of a really imposing total and it was left to Benjamin (24, 21) and Drakes (21 not out, 13) to eke 34 from the last 21 balls to heave the total over 150.

The Bears needed to strike early but Adam Rossington clouted 21 from 11 balls to make immediate inroads into the target. Rossington was run out by smart work from Davies but Essex thundered to 77 for one from 41 balls before a wobble arrived with two wickets in three balls, Michael Pepper slicing to short third man and Feroze Khushi socking a Jake Lintott full toss to deep mid-wicket.

Successive sixes by Walter off Maxwell reasserted the visitors’ control and Lawrence continued to work the ball round with consummate skill before his departure set up a tense finish.

With seven needed from two overs, Lawrence lifted the next ball, from Drakes, to mid on. A superb over from the West Indian cost just a single and saw Harmer run out from the last ball, leaving six still to find from the last over, bowled by Olly Hannon-Dalby.

That came down to three from the last two balls, the first of which Snater socked for a straight six to end Essex’s quarter-final hoodoo against the Bears who won both their previous meetings in the last eight.

First Team Coach Mark Robinson said: “It is very disappointing and a hard one to take but we were probably second best for most of the game and we have to accept that.

“We fought hard and kept taking wickets when we needed it and stayed in the contest and there was a wonderful running catch from Ethan Brookes and then suddenly we were right back in it.

“It was still a tall ask in the last couple of overs and we are talking such small margins, that ball just going over Barny’s head at mid-wicket so they got a single or it would have been a dot ball with the number 11 still on strike, but fair play to Essex, they probably deserved to win.

“We played some really good T20 cricket through the group in a knockout game what you’ve done before can count for nothing. It wasn’t the easiest of wickets and not a straightforward surface to bat on but we’d have liked a few more runs.”

Preview: Bears v Essex, Vitality Blast

Bears will bid to reach Vitality Blast Finals Day for the first time in six years – and banish the heartache of two successive Quarter Final defeats – when they take on Essex Eagles at Edgbaston tomorrow (6 July, 6.30pm).

A record-breaking North Group campaign featuring 11 wins – the most ever by the Bears in the group stage – was rounded off on Sunday with victory over Durham to leave Mark Robinson’s side clear at the top by five points. 

That was a seventh straight win but progress in the division hasn’t been plain sailing.

The Bears defended a total of just 141 to beat Durham, even less (137) to hold off Northants Steelbacks, and memorably came back to outgun Notts Outlaws last Friday despite being four wickets down in the opening over!

Robinson knows his side have won matches from “funny positions” and believes the way his players managed the stress of those situations, and the character they showed, will stand them in good stead for tomorrow’s showdown.

He said: “It’s undoubtedly one of the best campaigns I’ve been involved with as a player or coach; a great achievement by the players and captained fantastically well by Al Davies.

“Not many games been easy or stress free. We’ve won from some funny positions that you don’t often win from, and got ourselves into a bit of a pickle in some games but got over the line. 

“That’s the sign of a good team, a sign of real character and it’ll stand us in good stead against Essex because if we come under pressure we’ll have the comfort and belief that we’ve been in positions like that before and won.”

The Bears’ last Finals Day appearance came in 2017, when they fell at the final hurdle to Notts Outlaws, and their previous foray into the final four came in 2015 when they beat Essex in the Quarter Final.

An unbeaten 48 from Chris Woakes helped Varun Chopra’s side to victory but his inclusion in the Ashes starting XI means only Olly Hannon-Dalby remains in the Bears squad from that game on 13 August 2015.

Robinson – who confirmed Dan Mousley is likely to start tomorrow despite cutting the webbing on his hand against Durham – said the players are excited and looking for one last push to reach Finals Day.

He added: “It’s always the number one target when you start the T20 competition is to get out of your group. To secure a home quarter final is even better…it will be a special night to play in front of our own supporters and members.

“It’s been a great squad effort to get where we are. We’ve suffered a few hits along the way but ridden the punches well. 

“We lost Hassan Ali for the first half of the tournament, now he’s got a Pakistan call-up, Woakes has been in and out, Mo came in for four games before an England call-up none of us could have predicted, Hainy started the first half flying but then missed a few, and Briggsy who’s our most economical bowler, he’s gone down to injury. 

“So we’ve had to be versatile, resilient and needed other players to come in, step up and perform. Henry Brookes did that against Durham with a Player of the Match display, Jacob Bethell has come in and done great, and Rob Yates has really shone.

“We’re in this together and that should give us great comfort and confidence.”


Alex Davies (C)
Ed Barnard
Chris Benjamin
Jacob Bethell
Ethan Brookes
Henry Brookes
Dominic Drakes
Sam Hain
Olly Hannon-Dalby
Jake Lintott
Glenn Maxwell
Dan Mousley
Will Rhodes
Rob Yates

How to follow

Members and supporters can follow the match live in our Match Centre at The match will be aired live on Sky Sports Cricket.

Supporters can get involved by sending their match day comments and thoughts on Twitter via @WarwickshireCCC and we’ll publish the best ones on our live text commentary in the Match Centre.

Supporters can also watch the Live Stream and get instant push notifications of all wickets, innings and match results via the Edgbaston app, which is free to download on iOS and Android.

Match updates will also be available across the Club’s social media accounts, simply search for @WarwickshireCCC.

£15 tickets for home quarter-final

Bears have secured a home Vitality Blast quarter-final which will be on Thursday 6 July, with adult tickets only £15.

Tickets ware available online at or on the day via the Ticket Office. Members and Season Pass holders can attend for free by scanning their card at the gate.

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