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Upminster-Essex benefit match ends in tie

PUBLISHED: 17:30 11 September 2017 | UPDATED: 08:23 12 September 2017

Nick Browne hits out for Essex at Upminster (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Nick Browne hits out for Essex at Upminster (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Upminster stalwart John Curtis scored two runs from the final ball to ensure the annual benefit match with an Essex XI ended in a tie on Sunday.

Ravi Bopara hits four runs for Essex at Upminster (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo) Ravi Bopara hits four runs for Essex at Upminster (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

A good-sized crowd braved the autumnal weather, including a brief downpour that cut short the Essex innings, to see the two sides produce an entertaining contest on the 20th anniversary of the first-ever meeting.

And a cheque for £3,500 was handed over to Nick Browne, who captained Essex on the day, to pass on to the Essex Cricket Foundation.

Browne chose to bat after winning the toss, but saw Ravi Bopara fall early to a fine catch on the run by Louis Pickering, who held on as the ball dropped over his shoulder to give Alex Kirkpatrick the prized scalp.

Aron Nijjar impressed on his way to a half-century for the county side, hitting a six and eight fours in his 53 fro 39 balls, and Sam Cook – fresh from his County Championship debut against Lancashire at Old Trafford – played some neat shots batting up the order.

Aron Nijjar hits four runs for Essex at Upminster as Kiren Kullar looks on (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo) Aron Nijjar hits four runs for Essex at Upminster as Kiren Kullar looks on (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Rishi Patel added three muscular sixes in a brief cameo of 29 off 11, but Browne also fell cheaply, stumped by Kiran Kullar off the bowling of Frankie Hazle.

Alan Ison produced a fine run out with a throw from the deep, while Pickering took another good catch, but Upminster saw several other chances slip through the fingers of their fielders before rain forced the teams to take an early tea.

Essex had reached 205-8 in the 27th over and Upminster were given 25 overs to chase victory, after the club’s youngsters had taken to the outfield for some Kwik cricket.

Kullar, aged just 14, caught the eye with some fine shots after opening Upminster’s innings alongside Shafiq Rahman, hitting three sixes and two fours in his 37 off 26 balls, but the big-hitting Pickering and Ison both fell quite cheaply.

Upminster's Louis Pickering (right) celebrates taking a catch to dismiss Essex's Ravi Bopara (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo) Upminster's Louis Pickering (right) celebrates taking a catch to dismiss Essex's Ravi Bopara (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Hazle took advantage of some loose bowling from Arfan Akram, hitting 34 off just 19 balls with three sixes and three fours, to get the home side back up with the required run rate, before picking out Pickering on the boundary, while Kirkpatrick added a cameo 21 late on to reduce the target to six from the last over.

Ross Taylor, having captained Upminster’s under-nines in the Don Coates Trophy final earlier in the day, was given the ball by Browne, having fielded well as a guest for Essex.

And the youngster kept his nerve to restrict the last-wicket pairing of Curtis and Connor Whetstone, who hit fives sixes to finish unbeaten on 43 from just 20 balls, as Upminster closed on 205-9.

Left-arm spinner Nijjar completed a fine all-round display with a superb 6-39 haul from his eight overs, believed to be a benefit match record.

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