Nick Browne and Essex not content with a single County Championship Division One title, they want more!
PUBLISHED: 14:00 12 April 2018
©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468
The South Woodford favourite discusses trying to create a dynasty and why he was always going to sign a contract extension with the club
Nick Browne has been at Essex long enough to know all about the history of the club and he is confident the current group of players can create a legacy like the famous team from the 80s.
The 27-year-old was not even two when the Chelmsford-based club won the County Championship title in 1992.
It was Essex’s sixth success in the league since 1979 with the County Ground outfit winning three during the 1980s (1983, 1984 and 1986).
Opening batsmen Browne played a big part in bringing the County Championship title back to Essex last year and he hopes it is the start of a dynasty.
“If you look at the ages of everyone in the squad, there is no reason why we can’t go on and have more success over the next five to 10 years,” said the South Woodford favourite.
“The core of the team is in its late twenties and we have the young lads like (Dan) Lawrence, Aaron Beard, Sam Cook and of course (Jamie) Porter, so if we keep everyone together, which I’m sure we will do, we could go on and try to create a legacy.
“Everyone talks about the Essex team of the 80s which won quite a few titles and we want to really go down in the history books as well.”
Browne isn’t just trying to talk the talk either, as he signed a new contract extension with the club in October keeping him at the County Ground until the end of the 2019 season.
When asked about the decision to extend his stay at Chelmsford, the Leytonstone-born ace lavished praise on the title-winning squad and the bond between the players.
“Essex is my boyhood team and I’ve been watching the club since I was a little lad and we have an unbelievable group of people here and I’m talking about off the pitch,” said Browne.
“There are so many fantastic people at Essex and all of the squad like to socialise together.
“Normally you expect little bickers to happen during a season because when you have 20 guys in a squad you can’t expect everyone to get on, but we honestly never had anything like that and I think it is remarkable 20 people get on so well.”
With the spirit in the camp so good, it is no surprise to hear it felt weird for Browne and many other members of the squad to not be together so much after the end of the 2017 campaign.
The South Woodford opener did spend some time in South Africa and catch up with a few of his Essex team-mates who live local, but it was strange to be away from the group for so long.
Winter training is notoriously tough, but Browne was only too happy to get back together with everyone again.
He said: “It was weird (after the 2017 campaign finished) because we would spend virtually every day together during the season and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner and stay together and then for six months you are apart.
“At home there are only five or six of us around, so we met up a bit, but it was weird not to be around everyone.”
The squad have been together for a few weeks now as plans are put in place for the start of the new 2018 season.
After stunning the notorious big clubs in the division during the 2017 campaign, the likes of Yorkshire, Lancashire and Surrey will know what to expect from Essex this time around.
It brings greater expectancy and a different type of pressure for a squad under the coaching of Anthony McGrath now following Chris Silverwood’s decision to leave and join the England set-up last October.
Browne is excited about the challenge ahead though and confident Essex will start well.
Last season, when Eagles were newly promoted and Division Two champions, they had a mixed opening month of the new term.
Essex could only draw at home to Lancashire in the 2017 Division One opener and although they did beat Somerset comfortably a week later, they were fortunate to hold out for a draw at Middlesex.
After an up and down opening three games, Silverwood’s team went on to win nine of their final 11 league games to seal a stunning first title victory since 1992.
With former assistant McGrath now at the helm, Essex will look to start even stronger, Browne added: “The end goal is winning the County Championship again.
“I know it is a cliché, but it’s important we start well and try to keep the momentum we had last season. If we can do well early on and get the confidence and belief we had in 2017 then we will be hard to stop.