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Re: Essex Machine
AGod (IP Logged)
03 September, 2017 10:17
And, of course, I have zero desire to see the new city based teams flourish.

Re: Essex Machine
Loyal of Lhasa (IP Logged)
03 September, 2017 10:41
I got the impression from the T20 radio commentators yesterday that they all felt that the current competition has been going rather well and that it would be a great pity for it to be subordinated by that other thing. I am sure that AGod and I are the bestest of mates when it comes to deploring a competition based on cities and hoping that it will prove a bit of a flop.


Sixty-nine Seasons a Somerset Supporter

Re: Essex Machine
AGod (IP Logged)
03 September, 2017 10:50
I rather hope that it will prove a lot of a flop!

Re: Essex Machine
AGod (IP Logged)
03 September, 2017 10:53
WSM - my assumption is that Mathew has zero intention of picking JM and that he hasn't been playing the seconds games for that reason. He was playing in seconds games during the T20 window and I assume that was to keep him sharp as Matthew did have every intention of picking the man for white ball.

I would surmise that all of the people in the recent seconds game were there for one of two reasons:

A) To keep them sharp in case they are needed for the first team.

cool smiley To further their development as cricketers for the future.

Re: Essex Machine
Angell Face (IP Logged)
03 September, 2017 18:38
"assumption","assume","surmise". All in a six line post. That's pretty good going even by your standards AGod.

Re: Essex Machine
Grockle (IP Logged)
03 September, 2017 20:14
Cheers AG for alteration. Are you still quoting JM from 'Surrey' game of 7 August? Isn't that a little out of date now?


Re: Essex Machine
AGod (IP Logged)
04 September, 2017 09:10
So why do you suppose folks are picked for seconds games, Angell Face?

Re: Essex Machine
Angell Face (IP Logged)
04 September, 2017 14:42
I've no idea AGod, but I have better things to do with my life than speculate endlessly about matters of which I have no real knowledge.

Re: Essex Machine
AGod (IP Logged)
04 September, 2017 14:53
But not, apparently, better things to do than to comment on other people spending their time as they wish.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/09/2017 14:56 by AGod.

Re: Essex Machine
Roger ivanhoe (IP Logged)
04 September, 2017 15:03
Or maybe your Bosses time, more like.

Re: Essex Machine
Angell Face (IP Logged)
04 September, 2017 15:21
Well, I've been retired for 13 years. I don't know about AGod.

Re: Essex Machine
Farmer White (IP Logged)
04 September, 2017 22:44
Here is my very belated post on the Essex match for anyone not at the match and still interested. Other things to do and defeats are harder to write about than victories, at least for me. I have tried to weave in some thoughts on what I saw as a key reason for this particular defeat. I have written it simply as I saw it. As a battle of wills as much as a battle of skills.

I watched all of the first two days, none of the hour on the third because I was by then staying in London and it was pretty clear from the forecast there would be little play, and the first two sessions on the last day. I left at tea, not because of the state of the game but because I would have missed the coach back to the West Country had I not done so. My comments here are based on the approximately seven sessions I saw of the approximately eight (I missed two half sessions) played in the match.

It felt to me, and the scores more or less bear this out, that Essex and Somerset fought toe to toe for the first four sessions, Essex increasingly gained the upper hand in the next two and a half and overwhelmed Somerset in the last one and a half

Somerset’s batting on the final afternoon looked dispirited before tea and defeat felt all but inevitable. I did not see it after tea but the scorecard and outcome suggests nothing changed. Whether the players “appeared resigned to relegation” as Matthew Maynard is quoted as seeing it I am not sure. I think rather they were ground down during the course of the match for they matched Essex in difficult batting conditions for half the match.

By the time they batted a second time Somerset had conceded a 288 run deficit in the context of a match in which 160 seemed a par score, perhaps felt they should have scored more in the first innings, and had to face 60 overs with no prospect of winning at nearly 5 an over and the overbearing will, built up through the season, of the Essex steamroller bearing down on them with the pitch by then taking turn, Harmer to face and Porter seemingly unplayable. The Essex run accumulation in the second session on day 2 perhaps being the point at which the ‘Essex Machine’, as the title of this thread so aptly puts it, started to grind Somerset down.

As to that last afternoon with the match to be saved Trescothick edged his first ball from Porter along the ground to slip and edged his second into his stumps. It was a perfect cameo indicative of Porter’s bowling in this match and Trescothick’s form this season. Byrom and Rouse soon edged Porter behind perhaps not used to this level of pressure and intensity of bowling although Byrom held his own for a few overs.

Abell played no stroke and was lbw well outside off to one that turned sharply from Harmer. Playing a stroke was as likely to have produced an edge I suspect but might have been the safer option. It looked that sort of ball. Many thought it a poor decision including people watching on line at home and sending messages. I watched it on the ECB highlights on my return and it looked a good decision unless you take the view it is impossible for an umpire to be sure with a ball which pitches that wide. The one that bowled Overton seemed to turn at least as much. Hildreth played his normal attacking game for 22 but from beyond the boundary it looked a forlorn charge for the whole innings had the look and feel of a rout. The Essex bowlers were rampant, as they have been for most of the season, and their fielders looked menacingly expectant. I doubt Somerset could have survived however well they had played. Only Overton, for nearly two hours in the end, really stood out for any time against the onslaught.

As a Somerset member said to me when Essex were stalking the Somerset batsmen on that last afternoon, “You can see why Essex are where they are,” and you could. They were palpably powerful. If you look at their results this year, 7 overwhelming victories, no defeats and not outplayed since April you can really can see why they are where they are. This match felt like part of the now established pattern of their season.

Somerset have lost five other matches this season, and I have seen all the defeats except the Lancashire one, I saw none where the winning team played with the almost all enveloping power and control of the match with which Essex played this one. This defeat seemed of a different order because of that than any of the others I have seen. From the commentary I listened to it is possible, on the last two days, Lancashire played with similar dominance.

As to Chelmsford and the rest of the game. Chelmsford is not a pretty ground and it looks faintly, if charmingly, decrepit. Not the sort of place you expect to meet a cricketing steamroller breathing fire. But for those who would like their cricket to be played in the aura of the Fifties it is the place to go. It has an old-style pavilion which looks as if it is constructed of wood although I did not look that closely. No huge stands although it has the now ubiquitous plastic seating. With a bit of imagination you can convert that to wooden benches in your mind and wooden benches would look more at home in this ground than the plastic.

There may have been 3000 people in to take up those seats on the first day and not many fewer on the second. Perhaps 1000 on the fourth. You feel even closer to the action than you do at Taunton if that is possible. There is an ice cream van which sells out of ice cream at 3 o’ clock and you cannot buy a bar of chocolate in the place or much else except some sort of roasted meat (I didn’t look closely for I am vegetarian) chips and drinks. As to what might be available in the pavilion I did not venture inside to find out.

And to make your Fifties idyll complete as you sit watching the cricket you may be fortunate enough to hear, as I did on one occasion, “Scorecard! Scorecard!” as someone actually walks around the ground selling scorecards. If you bought one though, for 10 shillings, you could have been forgiven for thinking the entire Somerset team had deserted the Club for at the head of the Somerset team list was the word ‘Middlesex’.

To watch cricket at Chelmsford is not to fall altogether into a 1950s time warp for it has permanent floodlights. Eight pylons set in pairs with half a normal set of lights on each. They look less intrusive somehow than the normal arrangement. They came on at 5.30 pm on the first day and 3.20 pm on the second. Somerset may not be able to count on full days in their remaining two home matches going late into September. Late enough for early risers to see the glories of Orion in the hour or so before dawn and the last match starting after the autumn equinox. Sunset on a flat horizon on the last day of the Middlesex match being 6.56 pm in Taunton. It will drop much earlier behind the flats. If the match is a humdinger and First Division survival hangs on the result eyes may be more on the sky than the pitch. The pattern of the seasons is probably now set for the immediate future. Somerset may need lights for more reasons than T20.

Back to the cricket and the start of the match. Bright and hot dawned the first morning. Pale and inviting looked the pitch. Somerset elected to toss, Essex elected to bat. Craig Overton bowled the first over from the Hayes Close End for those of you who know Chelmsford. Chopra took two boundaries off it including one pulled so hard through mid-wicket it went past Eddie Byrom’s armpit as he tried to react and hit the boundary board in front of me before I could react. It looked for all the world a 350 for 3 sort of day.

Within not much more than an hour Paul van Meekeren, Craig Overton and Tim Groenewald had turned that expectation into 39 for 4 which would have been 40 for 5 had midwicket managed to hold on to a catch from Browne, slowish past his shin and bobbling out of his hand. The Somerset pace attack looked impressive. Essex anything but. Somerset supporters hardly believing their eyes although one did say, “We haven’t faced Amir yet.” The Essex tail lengthened the 98 for 7 Somerset had whittled them down to after lunch to 159 all out.

Browne finally fell at 99 for 6 to a top edged hook off Overton with van Meekeren running full pelt, diving full length and catching the ball arms at full stretch. Not a Fifties fast bowler’s catch that. Not much, if anything, by way of applause from the Essex crowd either. There was very little overt appreciation of good Somerset play whilst Somerset were in the ascendancy in the way that there is of opposition good play at Taunton whatever the state of the match.

Overton bowled with accuracy, movement and well directed pace throughout. Van Meekeren bowling with real pace and some movement clearly troubled the Essex batsmen. A fit Lewis Gregory might have been a sight to behold in these conditions. Tim Groenewald, understated in demeanour as always, bowled with what to the batsmen must have seemed mean spirited accuracy prizing out Wheater and Foster in the process. Essex 159 all out.

Then before we could absorb Somerset’s stunning success the score was 20 for 3. Trescothick, looking tentative as he has so often this season edged behind. Byrom was badly beaten and bowled by a full ball that seemed to move and lift sharply. It might have removed any left hander. Both to Porter. Porter was a revelation. He opened the bowling with Amir. Amir with a run up and action as smooth as mercury. Porter all bustle and bull at a gate. Porter was the pick. He had pace, movement, apparently both ways, and disconcerting lift of the type which undid Byrom. From his statistics he has been steadily disconcerting batsmen all season. It really was easy to see why Essex are where they are. Somerset had not been profligate with their wickets. Those 20 runs had taken 15 overs of dour concentration and defence. Yet the defence had been punctured 3 times. ‘Essex Machine’. Indeed it was. The Essex crowd applauded Porter as he returned to his fielding position. No Somerset bowler had been afforded such an accolade as they went through Essex.

Hildreth and Abell fought back taking up Somerset’s cause from 20 for 3 with some intent and it paid off at least for a while, Porter perhaps tiring. Hildreth pulled him for 4. Abell leant perfectly into an on drive which skimmed the ground to the boundary. Hildreth struck a back foot drive of heavenly perfection off Harmer and drove Amir through the covers. Together they pushed Bopara around the field and Abell attacked Harmer with a brace of classic sweeps which left the field standing. One in front of and one behind square. When Bopara and Walter joined forces Hildreth drove, cut and pulled them to the boundary whilst Abell pulled Walter behind square for another 4. It was exhilarating stuff. 97 for 3. Just 62 behind. The Essex crowd for the most part, still unappreciative of Somerset skill, quiet.

Then, Essex still probing, still attacking, Abell drove at one from Porter, just too wide and perhaps crucially moving away, and edged it to slip for 30. The wicket of Hildreth though demonstrated what the batsmen were up against when they faced Porter. Hildreth had moved neatly into position for the pull and suddenly looked startled perhaps by the pace but certainly by the steepness of the bounce which seemed to be at an all but impossible angle from the length of the ball from my position at deep midwicket. The ball hit the bat rather than the other way round and found midwicket. A formidable bowler at the moment. 53 wickets at 18.67 in 9 matches this season.

Essex just kept inexorably applying the pressure, which I suspect has been their hallmark this season. Somerset stumbled, revived and eventually reached 164, passing Essex in the end thanks largely to a partnership of 31 between Bess and Groenewald. The Essex and Somerset innings being not dissimilar in shape. From how he looked in his innings of 22* which lasted an hour and a quarter under the most intense pressure Bess looks to be a fighting prospect and as cool as they come.

Before we had reached lunch on the second day Essex were back in and by lunch Chopra, not playing a stroke, and Lawrence had been despatched lbw back to the pavilion by Overton, his bowling looking irresistible. Essex 8 for 2 at lunch as Somerset applied some pressure of their own.

Somerset had overall matched Essex but they had reached their apogee. Things looked very different after lunch but not before a bizarre dismissal left Essex 30 for 3. Bopara had been caution itself. Then out of the blue he charged Leach to be stumped, bat through the stroke and vertical above his head, perhaps three yards out of his ground and still moving forwards when the bails came off. Davies would have had time to drop the ball, look for it, retrieve it and remove the bails without the need to rush. As it was he went into his silent assassin mode. He removed the bails with a swift nudge in which his hands moved no more than six inches. Were he of a different character type in a different age he would have walked into a job with the Medici. No need for an appeal. Bopara, probably wishing the ground would swallow him up, sloped off of his own accord a victim of the most energy efficient stumping you will ever see.

From there Browne and Wheater picked up Essex’s cause and applied themselves to turning the match, batting with focussed determination. And here was the rub. Browne and Wheater are not world beaters but to my mind they looked as if they were batting with a ‘they shall not pass’ mentality. It was as if Essex had decided to win the match and then set about doing it. That strength of purpose may have been the root of their success this year and their domination of so many sides. It has probably grown match by match and they looked, in the second half of this match, as if they felt invincible. It will be interesting to see if Lancashire, their only real challengers, have a similar mindset when they play each other in the next round. If they do it could be a titanic match.

At around 70 for 3 Wheater edged a flier from van Meekeren over slip. Hildreth got enough hand on it to parry it upwards but too far back for anyone to reach. The actual ‘catch’ was obscured from me by a fielder so whether Hildreth might have caught it I cannot say. Apart from that these two batsmen and Ten Doeschate simply, calmly took command of the match. The bowling seemed to lose some of its penetration of the first innings against some intense controlled batting. Somerset only regained some real penetration with the ominous onset of serious turn as the fourth day developed, Leach and Bess wrapping up the innings for 293 before the Essex steamroller was unleashed on the Somerset batsmen and Essex’s seventh victory was in the bag.

As Essex systematically moved into the ascendancy in the match the Essex crowd began to acknowledge good Somerset play perhaps relaxing as their side gained control. A very finely judged long flat out chase from the infield to the rope stopping the ball inches inside the rope by Bess with the boundary boards very close by brought genuinely warm applause.

In the end the Essex bowling won this match but the almost impenetrable batting of Browne (83), Wheater (88) and Ten Doeschate (67) in the Essex second innings turned it. That, I suspect, is where Somerset’s ‘resignation’ came from rather than any acceptance of relegation. Had the team not gained the upper hand against Yorkshire and Surrey in the two preceding Championship games and this one been just another in a long succession of defeats I might have wondered otherwise but the power and determination of this Essex side now has to be seen to be believed.

If there is to be any prospect of avoiding relegation Somerset need to see this match for what it was. A defeat to a team playing with some skill and exceptional strength of will. Somerset need to put it behind them, remember how they played against Yorkshire and Surrey, try to learn something from Essex in the unremitting application of sheer will power to drive the skills of cricket. Then apply, as far as they can, those things against Warwickshire. Then, above all, whatever happens this season spend the winter developing not just their basic cricketing skills, and signing an overseas batsman who can stay the season, but a playing mentality which has the aim of dominating opposition teams from 11.00 am on the first day to 6.00 pm on the last. If you do that the match is unlikely to get anywhere near 6.00 pm on the last day.

Re: Essex Machine
Shepton Paul 2 (IP Logged)
05 September, 2017 08:38
Thank you Farmer, 10/10 as always.

But surely the objective is to criticise our own team and management, not to give the opposition credit? Tut tut.

Re: Essex Machine
AGod (IP Logged)
05 September, 2017 08:54
Sadly, you are right that that has been an exact microcosm of Trescothick's season.

The only team that he did well against? Warks.

Would that lightning strike twice.........

Re: Essex Machine
Wickham (IP Logged)
05 September, 2017 17:48
An excellent read, as always, JCW.

Re: Essex Machine
Tom Seymour (IP Logged)
06 September, 2017 17:37
Another Herculean effort Farmer White for which many thanks. I observed it on here yesterday but didn't have the willpower to digest it until just now.

Above all thanks for confirming my own thoughts that the LBW decision against Abell was a good decision. Not to play a shot to a ball in those circumstances is indeed foolhardy and something that any professional cricketer should know.

I doubt that those who wrote on social media that it was a bad decision really know the law. Quel surprise!

Extremely poor judgement from our captain who got the decision that he deserved. Pure unadulterated kid's stuff.


A glass half - empty or a glass half - full?
Regardless, both glasses need filling up.

Re: Essex Machine
AGod (IP Logged)
06 September, 2017 17:53
It was a poor decision by both batsman and umpire. The batsman because he's given a plank of wood for a reason, the umpire because the benefit of the doubt is supposed to go to the batsman the ump could not possibly have been sure that the ball would hit the stumps.

Re: Essex Machine
Shepton Paul 2 (IP Logged)
06 September, 2017 17:56
Never miss a chance to criticise, Tom.

I mentioned on here that I had seen film of the dismissal and felt, on that evidence alone, that it was guesswork by the umpire that went beyond the point where it should have been given out. I DO know the rules, having played and umpired league cricket for many years. I'm quite content that Farmer thinks the decision was ok, we can agree to have different opinions on, honestly, a fairly minor point in the scheme of things.

I know all the stuff about batsmen having bats with the intent of using them but also recognise that, in the moment, you make what you think is the best decision. If I play at it, I'm more likely to be out than if I don't. Often, that's proven right, sometimes it isn't. There's definitely no requirement to be quite so vitriolic and, frankly, rude about it.

Re: Essex Machine
Tom Seymour (IP Logged)
06 September, 2017 18:13
Rude, dude?

Don't forget that people pay good money (or at least some of us do) to belong to a club whereupon schoolboy errors by our professionals, should not be acceptable.

If you think that they should be, then your opinion and mine differ vastly.

And so it continues.

A glass half - empty or a glass half - full?
Regardless, both glasses need filling up.

Re: Essex Machine
Farmer White (IP Logged)
06 September, 2017 19:10
Firstly thank you to Shepton, Wickham amd Tom for your kind comments on my post.

Secondly, as a statement of mine has become a point of contention perhaps I should repeat it here in full. I have copied and pasted the whole of the relevant section from the post onto here rather than refer people to the post which was at the longer end of even my efforts. But any insomniacs or those with an evening to spare please feel free to try the whole thing!

"Abell played no stroke and was lbw well outside off to one that turned sharply from Harmer. Playing a stroke was as likely to have produced an edge I suspect but might have been the safer option. It looked that sort of ball. Many thought it a poor decision including people watching on line at home and sending messages. I watched it on the ECB highlights on my return and it looked a good decision unless you take the view it is impossible for an umpire to be sure with a ball which pitches that wide. The one that bowled Overton seemed to turn at least as much."

I should add I have no more been an umpire than I have a cricketer, just an experienced and interested observer.

Edited for typo.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/09/2017 19:12 by Farmer White.

Current Page: 17 of 18

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