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Essex draw positives after Napier ton

PUBLISHED: 18:00 07 August 2016

Essex's Graham Napier (pic: Adam Davy/PA)

Essex's Graham Napier (pic: Adam Davy/PA)

EMPICS Sport

All-rounder entertains Colchester crowd

Graham Napier hit a stunning century in his last innings for Essex at home club Colchester as their county championship match ended in a draw.

Napier, who is set to retire at the end of the season, had taken five wickets during the Sussex innings, then hit 124 from 155 balls at sunny Castle Park as the home side reached 470-8 before the two captains shook hands.

Essex resumed on 163-4, with an overnight lead of 73, and saw captain Ryan ten Doeschate bring up his fourth half-century in five innings, having faced 120 deliveries.

But they lost James Foster, trapped leg before by Sussex’s day three centurion Chris Jordan, for 38 to make it 210-5, with the lead now at 120.

And Ashar Zaidi was caught at deep mid-wicket by Luke Wells off the bowling of Danny Briggs to make it 244-6 and bring Napier to the crease shortly before lunch.

The long-serving all-rounder put on 59 with ten Doeschate, who reached his century off 201 deliveries and hit 12 boundaries before falling to Wells for 109.

And Napier then dominated a 131-run stand for the eighth wicket with David Masters to end Sussex’s fading hopes of forcing a victory.

After reaching his half-century form 96 balls, with his ninth boundary, Napier went into the tea interval unbeaten on 63 and Essex 366-7.

And Napier’s century came up off 143 balls, with 17 fours, as Essex passed the 400-run mark, before he drove wicketkeeper Ben Brown, who bowled three overs, to Steve Magoffin at long-on to depart for a memorable 124.

Masters reached 47 not out, with two sixes and six fours, as Essex finished 380 runs ahead of Sussex and maintained their hold on top spot in Division Two by a single point from Kent.

They now turn their attentions to the Natwest T20 Blast and a quarter-final against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge on Monday evening.

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