What a match!  I’m going to start with a few facts, it’ll become obvious why as you read through.

  • Sam Cook, Essex –                   Age 20,  First Class matches – 11
  • Dan Lawrence, Essex             Age 20,   First Class matches – 45
  • Harry Brook, Yorkshire          Age 19,   First Class matches –  8
  • Ben Coad, Yorkshire               Age 24,   First Class matches – 18

After a weekend of variable weather glorious weather was promised for the Bank Holiday weekend and it didn’t disappoint.  As for the cricket?  Well I’ll try to put into words what happened.

Yorkshire decided to go for the Toss and having won it they elected to bat, that decision on that day appeared to be the wrong one.  Sam Cook  and Jamie Porter opened the bowling for Essex, which might have seemed a strange choice with the experienced Peter Siddle available to captain Ryan ten Doeschate.

Adam Lyth and Harry Brook opened the batting for Yorkshire, both men were back in the pavilion within 3.1 overs, as James Foster caught Brook and Harmer caught Lyth from the bowling of Sam Cook,  Yorkshire were 9 for 2.


Joe Root was next in and he was also next out, next ball in fact as he edged the ball to Alastair Cook, it was a poor shot, the ball was only going to end up in one place.  Sam Cook was on a hat-trick and Yorkshire were 9 for 3.


I was sat next to a couple from Yorkshire who didn’t seem surprised at all and who predicted their team would be all out by lunchtime.  They were actually out by 30 minutes as Yorkshire were skittled out for 50, Gary Ballance was the only batsman to reach double figures with 22.  Sam Cook took 5 for 28 adding Jonny Bairstow and Tim Bresnan to his list.


Unusually Jamie Porter only took 1 wicket, with Peter Siddle taking the remaining 4 for 7 runs, a crazy innings to say the least!


Essex were batting before lunch and the wickets kept falling, with Alastair Cook being added to the failure list for returning England players, he nicked a ball to Jonny Bairstow from the bowling of Jack Brooks for a Duck.  Tom Westley was bowled by Brooks, with another Duck registered and Essex were 2 for 2!  Nick Browne who’s shown some early season form was also back in the dressing rooms before lunch, bowled by young star Ben Coad and Essex were 12 for 3.


Young batsman Dan Lawrence and seasoned all rounder Ravi Bopara, on his 33rd birthday were next at the crease for Essex.  There was to be no birthday innings for Bopara, he was out caught Pujara from the bowling of Steven Patterson for 9, but Essex had reached the heady heights of 58.


Lawrence can be a wonderful batsman to watch and he made the highest score for the combined first innings with 48, clearly disappointed to be out before he reached a landmark.  Simon Harmer had the only other noteworthy innings for Essex, making 36 and being the last wicket to fall as Essex were skittled out for 142.


In a masterstroke Jonny Bairstow opened the batting for Yorkshire with Adam Lyth and he showed the class that has him as one of, if not the best batsman in the England team.  the crowd was a big one and I imagine many came to watch the England players batting, Bairstow didn’t disappoint.  He made a classy 50 from 66 balls including 6 Fours and a Six.  Peter Siddle bowled him out, giving him an unnecessary send off as he ran towards him, while I am an Essex fan, I’m also a Jonny Bairstow fan and really didn’t appreciate that.  Yorkshire made 77 before Bairstow was out, young Harry Brook came in, he was to change the match.


Adam Lyth lost his wicket being caught by Simon Harmer, the ball was juggled but the catch was given and Siddle had his second wicket.  Lyth was clearly perturbed to be given out, but he left the field with a more useful 27 to his name.  22 wickets had fallen in the day, it had been a very variable week weather wise in Essex, but many poor shots were made and good balls bowled.


Cheteshwar Pujara entered the fray, one of India’s best batsmen he also showed his class, he averages just over 50 in test cricket and he made 41 including 6 Fours before he was bowled by Siddle.  Yorkshire were 190 for 3 and on their way to a decent total.

I had plans for the afternoon of the second day as Saracens were playing their last proper season home game, but I was pleased to be able to see Harry Brook lift his bat to celebrate his maiden century, his is a name we’ll hear a lot more of.  he was batting with Joe Root when I left and looked very accomplished.


Brook ended with 124 including 13 Fours and a six, Root had a better innings making 35 before he was bowled by Ravi Bopara, a day too late to be a birthday wicket, but an important one all the same.


Yorkshire made 329 leaving Essex with 238 to get to win what had already been an extraordinary match.  Peter Siddle took 4 for 65 and Jamie Porter 3 for 89.

Browne and Cook opened the batting for Essex with Cook at least scoring a few runs, but just 26 before he was bowled by Steve Patterson.  Tom Westley was out for his second Duck of the match LBW to Patterson, who had 4 Essex wickets by the end of the day bowling Browne and having Bopara caught by Brook.  Essex finished the day on 97 for 4.


I was watching on the BBC app and was happy I’d be watching some cricket the next day. Essex needed 141 runs, Yorkshire needed 6 wickets, I felt some quiet optimism as I walked to the ground in blazing sunshine.


That feeling slipped away as the Yorkshire bowlers swept through the Essex batting line up.  Captain Ryan ten Doeschate was first to go, LBW to Ben Coad for 34.  Essex were 114 for 5.  that went to 115 for 8 as Coad took the wickets of James Foster, who seemed surprised to be given out for a catch by Bairstow on 0 and Simon Harmer who got his own Duck being out LBW to Coad.

Dan Lawrence was amongst the wickets that fell on 114, he became Patterson’s 5th wicket, with his middle stump being sent flying, no doubt on that one.


Essex’s hopes were sent flying in the same way the stump went, Peter Siddle made a resistance with 24 runs but Essex were bowled out for 146 before lunch, a shortfall of 91 runs.  Steven Patterson, not on the list of players at the start, took 6 for 40, Ben Coad 3 for 36.


Yorkshire’s come back was nothing short of miraculous, and well deserved.  The split in the way the wickets fell is an interesting one.  In the first innings 4 players were bowled and 6 LBW’s were given.  In the second 9 players were bowled and again 6 LBW’s given.  I’ve sat through whole test matches with barely a player being bowled, it does make for more entertaining viewing when bails and stumps fly!


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