Cricket: Essex unchanged for Gloucestershire trip
PUBLISHED: 14:21 19 May 2018 | UPDATED: 14:21 19 May 2018
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Essex Eagles continue the Royal London One-Day Cup schedule with a visit to Bristol to face Gloucestershire on Sunday.
They have named the same 13-man squad on duty when the Eagles comprehensively beat Middlesex by six wickets on Thursday in their opening match of this year’s competition.
It was an impressive performance by the Eagles and the chase of 251 runs for victory was underpinned by Tom Westley who took the opportunity of a change of format to rediscover his touch with a well constructed century.
The right-hander had been struggling for runs in the County Championship over the past few weeks but the switch to the white ball triggered a change in fortunes for the Essex number three.
Westley put his run of low scores aside as the confidence came oozing back to his game in an innings filled with characteristic sweetly-timed drives, particularly into the leg side.
By the time he was finally dismissed for a career-best List A score of 134, the Eagles were on the cusp of victory.
It was a welcome return to form as the 29 year-old acknowledged, saying: “It’s always nice to score runs as an individual and I’m very relieved.
“My lack of runs has affected me and that’s because I felt that I hadn’t contributed so it has been a tough period for me and it does weigh on you a little bit. “I had a little bit of luck early in my innings against Middlesex but in white ball cricket, you do need a bit of good fortune because you are looking to go out and be aggressive.
“To go on and get a hundred and help get us over the line was very pleasing and hopefully, it will be the start of a successful white ball campaign.”
Head coach Anthony McGrath was delighted with the manner in which his side prevailed, adding: “We talked before the game about wanting to start this competition well and the lads responded with a really, really, good performance.
“I thought our bowlers did really well to restrict Middlesex to 250 on a good wicket and we managed to take some good catches as well. At the halfway stage of the match, we felt pretty confident.
“Then our batters did the job. It has been a tricky time for them this year but I think their performance on Thursday just underlined what I had been saying all along and that was there was no reason to panic.
“Tom Westley’s innings was superb and he had a really good partnership with Varun Chopra and Dan Lawrence came in and played with freedom as well. So overall we are happy as we prepare for the next game.”
McGrath is looking for at least one win from the next two matches.
“We knew that the first three games all being away gave us a tough start to this competition and although we obviously want to win every game, I think to win two out of the three would be a reasonable start,” he said.
“Gloucestershire are a good one-day side, it will be a difficult test but the momentum is with us and we’ll take that into the game at Bristol on Sunday.
“We are retaining the same squad for Sunday. We’ve got a few other players with niggles which is why they are not in contention but we are hoping to get a few more bodies back in the next week to ten days.”
Essex: Ryan ten Doeschate; Aaron Beard; Ravi Bopara; Varun Chopra; Sam Cook; James Foster; Simon Harmer; Dan Lawrence; Jamie Porter; Neil Wagner; Tom Westley;
Adam Wheater; Ashar Zaidi.