Vitality County Championship
Vitality County Championship Logo Fri 17 - Mon 20 May, 11:00

The Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford

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Report: Essex v Warwickshire, County Championship

Day Four

Jordan Cox led Essex to one of the more unlikely successful run chase with a century as Warwickshire were beaten by four wickets at Chelmsford.

Cox, who hit 112 from 192 balls, was joined in a record fifth-wicket partnership against Warwickshire of 176 in 54 overs with Matt Critchley that took Essex within sight of their 330-run target.

Warwickshire were left to rue what might have been.

The match had swung every which way during the first three days with both sides in the ascendancy at various times. Warwickshire had recovered from 104-6 to gain a first-innings lead of 235, but declined to enforce the follow-on. When they were dismissed for 94 second time around, that decision came under the microscope. It left Essex needing 330 to win in more than five sessions.

Critchley reached his third half-century of the season with a smart drive that eluded a diving extra cover for his sixth boundary.

Essex scored 21 from the six overs before the new-ball was taken, still requiring 85 runs to win.

Cox reached his second century for Essex with his 14th four, clipped though midwicket. But he did not last much longer, flicking Che Simmons’s first ball off his legs to Jacob Bethell on the deep square-leg boundary to depart after 192 balls.

It reignited Warwickshire’s intensity. Suddenly Rae was digging the ball in short and Michael Pepper was ducking under a couple of deliveries. Pepper then decided to advance down the wicket, stepped towards leg, was out-thought by the bowler and ended up playing on.

It wasn’t to be for the Bears though as Simon Harmer and Crithcley steered the hosts to their target for a four-wicket win.

Alex Davies said: “It’s a bitter pill to swallow. Congratulations to Essex, they played some good cricket over the four days. But this defeat was our own doing and that’s definitely harder to take. We had a first-innings lead of 235, it’s criminal to lose a game from that position.

“We’ve lost the game in the third innings. Barney and Burgie batted wonderfully in the first innings, but as a top-order we need to look at ourselves hard. We were 50-5 in both innings and we can’t expect the lower order to bail us out.

“The follow-on is obviously a contentious decision, but we couldn’t afford to enforce it really. We’ve got a lot of bowlers injured at the minute: Ollie has run in all year and he’s really feeling the pinch. We’ve got Michael Rae who’s not played a game of cricket in months so he was undercooked, and we’ve got Che on debut. So we needed to get those boys a bit of a rest. But if we’d batted anywhere near what we should have done it would have got them a nice rest.

“Another contributory factor was not wanting to bat last on a Chelmsford pitch against Simon Harmer. We’d earnt the right to either enforce or not enforce by bowling so well and we thought the wicket was going to get a lot worse. If we’d batted last on a pitch against Simon Harmer it could have put us under a bit of pressure, so all those factors combined and we decided not to enforce. The bottom line is if we bat half as well as we can it doesn’t get spoken about because we set 500.

“We’re hurting right now, but we’ll stick together as a group. We’ll reflect individually on our performances, especially as top-order batters.”

Day Three

An unbroken fifth-wicket century stand between Jordan Cox and Matt Critchley gave Essex the chance of pulling off an unlikely Vitality County Championship victory.

Set 330 to win in 170 overs, Essex finished Day Three on 224, requiring a further 106 runs on the final day, with six wickets standing.

Warwickshire, who had amassed 397 in the first innings and looked favourites to record their first win of the season, were dismissed inside 38 overs for just 94 in their second. Essex spinners Critchley and Simon Harmer sharing seven wickets, including all five that fell in the morning.

Essex’s chase had begun disastrously when Feroze Khushi was trapped first ball on his crease playing down the wrong line to Michael Rae.

It became even worse when Che Simmons pulled off a stunning diving catch in the covers to account for Nick Browne.

Essex consolidated either side of lunch as Elgar and Westley stood firm. Westley, dropped on three whipping the ball off his legs to midwicket, hooked Simmons’s short balls and defended resolutely as Rob Yates mixed up his lengths.

Elgar found a gap through the covers for the boundary that brought up only the second fifty partnership in the match – the first was ultimately worth 209 between Ed Barnard and Michael Burgess. Almost immediately, though, Simmons produced a fuller ball and Westley departed lbw for a 69-ball 18.

The introduction of Jordan Cox upped the tempo and the fourth-wicket pair put on 47 in 12 overs as Warwickshire rang the changes until Barnard found one that kept low and pinned Elgar for 60 from 85 balls.

Warwickshire had opted not to enforce the follow-on despite being 235 runs ahead on first-innings. Bears’ second innings lasted just another 75 minutes in the morning session while they added 51 runs for five wickets.

Rae’s nightwatchman duties did not extend long before he was beaten by the extravagant turn of Harmer.

Burgess, one of two Warwickshire centurions in the first innings, lasted 35 balls this time for 18 before he pulled Critchley to midwicket where Luc Benkensein took a comfortable catch.

Chris Benjamin, called down from Edgbaston as concussion substitute for Sam Hain who was struck on the helmet at short leg on day two, faced seven balls before he nicked to Cox at slip.

Jacob Bethell hit Critchley’s first two balls of an over for a towering straight six and an off-driven four. But he skied the third ball and Critchley had time to move to mid-off to claim the caught-and-bowled in figures of 4-24.

Harmer (3-28) wrapped up the innings when Simmons charged down the wicket and picked out Westley stationed on the long-on fence.

Michael Rae said: “We had a bit of success with the new ball and it looked like we might be able to make short work of it, but Cox and Critchley batted really well together. Hopefully we can get a wicket in the morning before the new ball and see what happens. It’s been a wicket where the new-ball has been effective.

“There have been a few innings played where as a bowler you’re trying to bowl that perfect ball. The wicket is luring you into that feeling like you’re not going to get someone out unless you bowl an unplayable ball.

“As you’ve seen we’ve bowled well all game. The new-ball has been really, really challenging. If we can control the run-rate in the next six overs [before the new-ball is due] and take a wicket, then I’d say the game is still on the table for both teams.

“I’m just taking it day-by-day from here. It just depends what bowlers are available [for next week’s Lancashire game]. It’s a big day tomorrow and we’ll see what happens.”

Day Two

Che Simmons made a stunning impact on his first-class debut by blasting a gaping hole in the Essex batting with three wickets in 15 balls as Warwickshire gained a stranglehold on the Vitality County Championship match at Chelmsford.

The 20-year-old Barbadian-born, British passport-holder, sent back Tom Westley, Nick Browne and Matt Critchley in a venomous opening spell of 6-2-10-3 that reduced Essex from 52-2 to 63-5 en route to 162 all out.

Simmons finished with 3-12 to enable Warwickshire to build upon Ed Barnard’s six-and-three-quarter-hour, career-best 165 that underpinned their first-innings 397.

Essex were dismissed inside 52 overs, 235 runs adrift, though Warwickshire opted not to enforce the follow-on. They may live to regret the decision as they lost five wickets in 17.3 evening overs on day two while extending their lead by 43.

Captain Alex Davies departed to the fifth ball, steering Sam Cook to second slip, before Will Rhodes was undone by Jamie Porter and went lbw. Barnard was unable to replicate his first-innings heroics, chasing a Porter delivery down leg-side and was caught behind for a golden duck.

When Dan Mousley patted back Critchley’s second ball and Rob Yates fell to the last ball of the day, lbw to Simon Harmer, Warwickshire were starting to relive the nightmare of their first innings when they had slumped to 64-5.

Simmons’s fellow Warwickshire debutant Michael Rae set the ball rolling when Essex batted. Feroze Khushi tried to whip him through midwicket but only chipped tamely to mid-on. Dean Elgar followed when edging an attempted cover drive off Oliver Hannon-Dalby to second slip.

Then Simmons took centre stage. Westley was induced to hook to short square leg where Sam Hain took his second catch inches off the ground. Browne then hung out his bat and was caught behind and next ball Critchley left his bat dangling and departed to the same combination.

Michael Pepper prevented Simmons celebrating even further by turning the hat-trick ball through midwicket. However, Hannon-Dalby replaced Simmons and had Pepper under-cutting and caught behind.

Jordan Cox refused to be tied down amid the carnage, cracking several boundaries before crashing another ball plumb into the back of short-leg Hain’s helmet who was removed from the action as a precaution. He missed a reverse sweep two balls later and was bowled for 47.

Simon Harmer got a thin touch to Rae to give wicketkeeper Michael Burgess a fourth catch. Yates wrapped up the innings for figures of 3-27 as Cook popped up a catch to Hain’s replacement at bat-pad and Porter left one alone and was bowled.

Warwickshire batted for an hour and a half in the morning. Burgess lasted just seven more balls while adding three to his overnight 105 before edging Shane Snater behind to end a seventh-wicket stand of 209 with Barnard.

Simmons was as equally confident with the bat as with the ball before attempting to sweep Harmer and was bowled. Rae fell the same way but only after launching Harmer’s previous two balls for sixes.

Barnard reached his 150 with a six off Porter and equalled his previous top score of 163 with another maximum over long leg’s head off Critchley. But two runs later he swung at the same bowler and was caught in the deep for his first dismissal of the day.

Warwickshire bowler Oliver Hannon-Dalby said: “Che is an exciting young bowler. He first burst on the scene in the indoor nets bowling a lot of bouncers and put Carlos Braithwaite on his backside, which was quite funny. That’s what we saw today: a young guy with lots of energy, again lots of bouncers flying around and he is an exciting prospect for the Bears hopefully for 10-15 years.

“We’re delighted to bowl them out for 160. Then they came out with a lot of energy, they’re a very good bowling attack and got five wickets there. But if you’d said to us at the start of the day you’re going to have a 280-run lead, five wickets down, we’d have bitten your hand off. We’re still in a very good position to win this match.

“We’ll want to score as many as we can. If we can push on and get up towards 350-400 I think that will be a tough score to beat. There’s still lots of time in the game. I expect they’ll come out all guns blazing tomorrow.”

Day One

An unbroken double-century seventh-wicket stand between Ed Barnard and Michael Burgess rescued Warwickshire and lifted them into a commanding position against Essex at Chelmsford.

The pair came together with the score on 104-6 soon after lunch and by the close, 56 overs later, they had established a Warwickshire record for the seventh-wicket against Essex of 204 and counting that had stood for 92 years.

During an innings in which he initially had to knuckle down before breaking loose, Barnard took his tally in his last four Vitality County Championship innings to 336 runs with an unbeaten 115. Meanwhile, 105 represented Burgess’s highest score for the season. Neither man’s innings was chanceless, but both looked imperious.

Essex had appeared well in control when they claimed five wickets before lunch – four of those wickets falling to catches by Simon Harmer – but they toiled for the last two sessions as their usually consistent strike-force was reduced to ordinariness. Warwickshire finished on 308-6.

Sam Cook took just 13 balls to strike with his 26th wicket of the season after Warwickshire decided to bat on a grass-less wicket that encouraged the bowlers early on before easing significantly as the day progressed. It was unlucky 13 for Rob Yates, who edged low down to Harmer at second slip. Cook bowled another 44 balls before claiming his only other wicket.

In between Warwickshire slipped to 64-5 with Shane Snater grabbing two wickets in the space of six balls, inducing Will Rhodes to thick edge to Harmer again before the off-stump of Sam Hain was removed as he shouldered arms without scoring.

Harmer’s third catch of the innings came off his own bowling as Dan Mousley patted the ball back down the wicket.

Alex Davies had remained resolute at the other end, taking his three boundaries in a 60-ball 19 off Jamie Porter, one driven straight past the bowler. However, Porter had the last laugh as Harmer pulled off a brilliant one-handed catch to his right to dismiss the Bears captain.

Barnard swept Harmer for two fours in three balls, but otherwise settled into an obdurate sixth-wicket stand with Jacob Bethell, who got off the mark with a single from his 26th ball.

Bethell was re-energised after lunch and multiplied this total by five when he tucked Porter off his legs to the square-leg boundary before rocking on to his back-foot to cut the same bowler for another.

The partnership steadied the ship for 20 overs while adding 40 runs before Bethell played down the wrong line and was Cook’s second victim. It was the last of the day to fall.

Burgess and Barnard accelerated the score with their first fifty coming from just 59 balls, though both players survived dropped catches.

A reprieved Burgess reverse-swept Harmer for a smart boundary and reached his half-century from 49 balls with a six over midwicket off Matt Critchley. When Burgess hit Harmer for another four, this time with a more orthodox sweep, he carried the stand past 150 in 40 overs.

Barnard was first to his century, scored off 198 balls; Burgess slowed as he neared three-figures but still reached it from 149 balls.

Warwickshire centurion Michael Burgess said: “It was really pleasing to put 200-plus on the board together there. I think it’s back-to-back hundreds from Ed [Barnard]. He has been outstanding for us all season. I followed his lead and managed to get us up to a bit of a foothold in the game. It’s a long way to go but 300-plus for six is better than 100 for six.

“The lads have been batting brilliantly so I can’t complain [about not having too many chances to bat], but it’s important that we bat deep especially at a time when a team needs runs, and we’ve proved that we do bat deep.

“They have a really good bowling attack. I think we knew with the new ball it was going to be difficult. After the morning it seemed to get a little bit easier, a little bit slower, and I don’t think anyone quite knew what it was going to do on the hybrid pitch.

“We’d adapted pretty well to it, and it is getting a bit slower and starting to spin. So if we can keep them out as long as possible and try and get as many as we can hopefully it will start spinning – and we’ve bowling last on it. It was starting to turn a little bit out there just after tea, and I think it will definitely start to turn tomorrow and day three and day four. We’ll be bowling last on it and that will be our best chance of taking 20 wickets.”

Four Teams. Two Matches. Blast Off is back!

Vitality Blast Off is back and the Bears will launch their home T20 campaign with a huge men’s double-header featuring two big Midlands rivalry games.

Taking place on Saturday 1 June, Derbyshire Falcons host Leicestershire Foxes (2.30pm) before the Bears take on Notts Outlaws (6.30pm). Buy tickets in advance and save.

Buy Tickets

Preview: Essex v Warwickshire, County Championship

Pakistan pace bowler Aamir Jamal is the latest Warwickshire seamer to be sidelined through injury.

Jamal experienced discomfort in his back during his first two County Championship games for the Bears and a scan this week revealed minor injury that rules him out of the trip to Chelmsford.

With six senior bowlers unavailable – Chris Rushworth, Craig Miles, Liam Norwell and Michael Booth also injured, and Hassan Ali touring with Pakistan – First Team Coach Mark Robinson has brought in Kiwi quick Michael Rae to add extra firepower.

The 6ft 6ins – a familiar face in New Zealand First Class cricket who’s also played for New Zealand A – has signed as an overseas on a short term deal and is in line to make his debut against Essex on Friday.

Robinson said: “Our seam bowling injury list is unprecedented, I’ve not been involved with a side that’s had so many injuries. And these are all bowlers that could come into the first team and make a difference.

“Aamir is the latest one. He’d been suffering with a sore back. The scan has revealed an injury, nothing significant but one that’ll rule him out for a while. We suspected he wasn’t at his best, he’s not been getting anywhere near the pace that both he and we know he can bowl.

“He was frightening the Aussie batters in the winter with his pace but he’s not been at that level since joining us, which is frustrating for him.

“It leaves us light. But we’ve got to keep showing the character and spirit we’ve shown so far in riding these punches.

“We’ll take a strong squad to Essex, and we’ve managed to bring in Michael Rae who we hope can make a bit of difference. He’s a very tall bowler, with lot of First Class experience and we’ve been lucky to tap into him quickly.

“Che Simmons also comes in the squad. He’s had a couple of good Second XI games recently and he’s desperate for an opportunity. But we need to look at the wicket and see what it might offer our bowlers.”

Craig Miles bowled one of the finest spells in his Bears career at Surrey – picking up a five-fer in the first innings – before turning his ankle during his fifth wicket celebration.

However, he’s responded well to treatment and could be in line to come back into the side at Old Trafford next weekend.

Essex lie second in the table after five games but lost their last outing at Somerset by three wickets.

However, they boast Division One’s top two wicket takers in seamers Jamie Porter and Sam Cook who have 25 wickets apiece already this term, while South African spinner Simon Harmer took 10 wickets in the corresponding fixture last summer.

Robinson added: “Essex is another tough examination, but one we’ll relish. They have two outstanding bowlers, different to the height and pace we encountered at Surrey, but effective in a different way.

“Harmer caught us on a used, turning wicket last season but we came out on top at Edgbaston. We’ve had good games against them in the past and I’m sure we’ll have another against them this weekend.”


Ed Barnard
Jacob Bethell
Danny Briggs
Michael Burgess (WK)
Alex Davies (C)
Sam Hain
Olly Hannon-Dalby
Jake Lintott
Dan Mousley
Michael Rae
Will Rhodes
Che Simmons
Rob Yates


This will be the 125th meeting between these two team in the County Championship.  Warwickshire have won 35 and Essex have won 40. 

How to Follow

Members and supporters can follow the match live in our Match Centre at, which will include a free to watch Live Stream, with BBC commentary, and a live text commentary. You can also see a ball-by-ball feed and watch highlights of all the action.

Supporters can get involved by sending their match day comments and thoughts on X (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.

Four Teams. Two Matches. Blast Off is back!

Vitality Blast Off is back and the Bears will launch their home T20 campaign with a huge men’s double-header featuring two big Midlands rivalry games.

Taking place on Saturday 1 June, Derbyshire Falcons host Leicestershire Foxes (2.30pm) before the Bears take on Notts Outlaws (6.30pm). Buy tickets in advance and save.

Buy Tickets
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