Essex return to red ball action as they round off their season
Essex return to red-ball action next week when they round off their season with the first of four County Championship matches starting with a return trip to Wales where they meet Glamorgan starting on Monday.
It was the Welsh county that ended the Essex hopes of securing another major trophy when they recently prevailed in the semi-final of the Royal London Cup when the teams met at Sophia Gardens.
However, that victory for the Men from the Principality set up a final with Durham which saw Glamorgan complete a comfortable win to clinch their first silverware for seventeen years after winning their first-ever Cup Final in 58 years of one-day cricket.
Meanwhile, Essex now reflect on past glories having seen all three major tournaments escape their clutches this summer.
Having failed to finish in the top two in their group after 10 matches in the qualifying round of matches, they are unable to challenge for the right to retain their County Championship tile that they won in 2019 or the Bob Willis Trophy that they lifted last season.
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Now they conclude their red-ball campaign with four matches in Division Two of the Conference system with little more than pride at stake.
Eliminated from the Vitality Blast T20 competition at the conclusion of the group round of matches plus the defeat by Glamorgan in the Royal London Cup last week ended the Essex quest for silverware this time around.
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However, skipper Tom Westley believes that the squad of players have a lot at stake in this final month of the season.
“I just don’t buy the suggestion that there is nothing left to play this season,” he insisted. “If you haven’t got personal pride in your performance as a professional sportsman, then you probably shouldn’t be playing in the first place.
“Any game when you cross the line in an Essex shirt should mean something and it does to everyone in our changing room. When you play for Essex, you are looking to win every single game.
“Of course, it’s disappointing that we haven’t got the opportunity under this new structure to challenge for the County Championship but we’ve only got ourselves to blame because we didn’t finish on the top two in our group.
“Basically, we didn’t play as well as we know we can, maybe teams got wiser to our strengths. We performed well in patches and as a collective at times but we haven’t been consistently effective and that has proved costly.
“But I believe that there are four big Championship games ahead of us. There will be opportunities for some of the guys who played well in the 50-overs format, plus chances for guys who perhaps haven’t had the season they would have liked and who would like to finish on a high.
"There’s the opportunity for senior players to make big runs and take wickets so in my opinion, there is a lot to play for.
“Players will have the opportunity to show what they can do and it can be a platform for the future and for the youngsters to make their mark.
“So, there is plenty to play for but most of all, it’s about personal pride and who you are representing.
“We will have had a couple of weeks since our last game of cricket, a bit of time off and hopefully, will come back fully re-energised and refreshed for the last four Championship matches.”
Following the encounter in Wales starting next Monday, Essex entertain Gloucestershire in the Championship at Chelmsford starting on Sunday, September, 5 then play Surrey at The Oval commencing on Sunday, September 12, before concluding the season with a home match against Northamptonshire beginning on Monday 27th September.