Early struggle sees Essex go down at Glamorgan

Matt Critchley hits six runs for Essex at Glamorgan in the Vitality Blast

Matt Critchley hits six runs for Essex at Glamorgan in the Vitality Blast - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Glamorgan eased to a comfortable six-wicket victory over Essex Eagles in their first home game of the Vitality Blast in front of a lively Cardiff crowd.

An excellent bowling display saw them restrict Essex to less than a run a ball in their 20 overs with Michael Hogan and Michael Neser taking three wickets each.

Essex struggled to get into the game as a collapse at the start and the end of their innings meant they never really got going with the bat with only Matt Critchley making a sizable contribution at a decent rate.

With just 114 runs needed Glamorgan reached their victory target with 19 balls and six wickets to spare with Sam Northeast top-scoring with 44.

Glamorgan took control of the match inside the opening PowerPlay having put Essex in to bat. Hogan and Neser were hugely impressive, combining to restrict the visitors to 14 for three at the end of the sixth over.

Will Buttleman showed attacking intent from the start of his innings, attempting to slog-sweep Hogan in the first over. Despite this aggression he never really got going and when he played his second big sweep shot off Hogan he was trapped lbw for two from eight balls.

It was also Hogan who claimed the second wicket with Adam Rossington mistiming a pull shot that was caught on the boundary by Neser.

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Michael Pepper had made a career-best 75 not out in Essex's last match in this competition, here he managed three from 10 balls before he drove the ball to Dan Douthwaite at mid-on off the bowling of Neser.

Things settled with the partnership between Paul Walter and Critchley of 58 that brought Essex back into the match but when both fell in the space of three balls to Douthwaite it was Glamorgan who were back on top.

Paul Walter hits out for Essex against Glamorgan in the Vitality Blast

Paul Walter hits out for Essex against Glamorgan in the Vitality Blast - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Walter went to a ball that swung enough to take an edge through to wicketkeeper Chris Cooke. Critchley absolutely creamed a cut shot that was hit straight at Marnus Labuschagne who held on to the catch.

When Daniel Sams was run out and Simon Harmer was caught behind off Hogan from the very next ball Essex had gone from 72 for three to 81 for seven in the space of 10 balls.

Neser finished with career-best figures of three for 13 as Essex ended on a disappointing 113 for nine.

Essex were given some hope of defending this sub-par target when Glamorgan captain David Lloyd was dismissed by Sams for a four-ball duck, but from there a string of partnerships anchored by Northeast put Glamorgan in sight of victory before some big hits from Cooke and Douthwaite got their team over the line.

As with Essex's batting efforts, it was Critchley who was the best performer for the visitors with the ball, finishing with one for 17 from his four overs.

Harmer also bowled a tight spell, but there were never enough runs on the board for them to squeeze out a victory.

Essex head to Bristol to take on Gloucestershire on Friday evening.