Sports Editor Oscar Frost reports on Warwickshire’s victory over Essex that sees the Bears rise to the top of the LV= County Championship table
Warwickshire secured their second win on the trot against Essex this week, with a four wicket victory.
With the rain across the country recently, the pitch was set to be low-scoring, with a result seeming likely. Warwickshire won the toss and elected to bowl, which proved to be a key moment in the game.
Essex struggled in the first inning, being bowled out for 126, but rallied in the second to score 215 all-out. The Bears scored 242 in the first inning, putting themselves in the driving seat of the game, but lost six wickets on their way to chasing down the 100 total needed to win the match.
Once again, it was Chris Rushworth who rose to the top of this encounter, taking eight wickets across the two innings. This brings him to 28 wickets so far this season, which is the highest in the LV= County Championship.
Rushworth was supported by a four-fer from Oliver Hannon-Dalby in the first inning, and another four wicket haul in the second courtesy of Hasan Ali.
Only requiring 100 runs to finish the match, it seemed as though Warwickshire would ease to victory. However, the Essex bowling attack created a glimmer of hope as they reduced the Bears to 4-65. A solid 23* from Ed Barnard, as well as 19 from Rhodes, however, was enough to push Warwickshire over the line.
Despite a 47-run effort by captain Tom Westley, Essex faltered to just 126 runs in the first inning. The next highest scorer was Dan Lawrence, who was caught by Dan Mousley for just 29 runs from as many balls. This proved that Rhodes’ decision to bowl first after winning the toss was an astute one.
Warwickshire captain Will Rhodes top-scored in the first inning with 63 from 158 balls. Hasan Ali also came up with a useful, and explosive, 53 from 37 balls that saw him smash four sixes. This came as part of a 70-run last wicket partnership with Hannon-Daley, which was “vital” according to head coach Mark Robinson.
Sam Hain also fell just short of a half-century with 45 runs from a century of balls. On a tricky pitch, 242 was a solid total that definitely put some pressure on the Essex batting lineup to respond after their first inning collapse.
They did, though, as Essex were able to rally to score 215 runs in their second inning. Simon Harmer was not out on 50, and Shane Snater came up with a useful 31 runs from number nine. There were no real stand-out scorers, but it was more the case that a string of batters managed to squeak 15-25 runs throughout the middle order. This, however, is not enough to gain a stranglehold on a game where you were bowled out for 126 out of the gate.
Overall, this was another solid win for the Bears that sees them secure top-spot in the LV= County Championship with 79 points. In particular, the Bears’ bowling attack has secured its reputation as one of the most dangerous in the league.
“We are delighted with the start we have made,” commented Robinson, as the Bears secured their third win in the first five games of the season.
The Bears play Notts next, but not until after Notts have faced Essex themselves next week. Notts currently sit third in the table, making it a key fixture for Warwickshire’s league title hopes.
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