Essex get better of Upminster in annual benefit match
- Credit: Ray Lawrence/TGS Photo
An Essex XI beat Upminster by 63 runs in their annual benefit match to avenge their 2018 loss in front of a big crowd in Upminster Park.
The county - who are chasing Championship and T20 honours later this month - brought one of their strongest squads in recent memory to the well-supported fixture.
And that after several of their players had appeared in Essex League fixtures the day before, in another show of strength between the county and club game.
Rishi Patel provided the early fireworks alongside opening partner Kelly Castle, as Essex raced to 55 without loss in five overs.
Patel hit Nick Ison's first ball, a full toss, for a big six over the pavilion and brought up his half-century with another maximum down the ground as the over went for 22 runs.
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John Curtis made the breakthrough when bowling Castle (22) with the total on 87, with Patel (76) holing out off Ison to make it 99-2.
Billy Wright bowled Sam Cook, who was attempting to scoop the ball over his own head, for 12 to leave Essex 115-3 before young Will Frost enjoyed an over to remember.
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After taking a catch off his own bowling to dismiss Tom Westley, Frost also claimed the scalp of Jamie Porter (15), who had seen Ison spill the ball over the boundary for a six just seconds earlier.
That left Ravi Bopara and Simon Harmer as new batsmen at the crease and they advanced the scoring at a decent pace to leave Essex 180-5 off 15 overs.
Harmer, on 39, eventually holed out to long off to give Ollie Peck a wicket, but Dan Lawrence was soon peppering the boundary as well.
Lawrence (23) gave Peck a second scalp when also holing out to a boundary fielder in the penultimate over, making it 242-7, but Bopara (58 not out) reached his half-century in the last over and hit James Evans onto the pavilion roof as Essex closed on 264-7.
Aron Nijjar opened the bowling for Essex, as Harmer briefly took over the PA to commentate, and Upminster's James Evans and Louis Pickering made a decent start, scoring 53 in the first five overs.
Porter came onto bowl off-spin and saw Evans hit him down the ground for six, so the Essex seamer switched to pace and, after conceding a four through point, made the breakthrough as Nick Browne held a sharp catch at slip to dismiss Evans for 43.
Louis Pickering was bowled by Ronnie Jackson for 22 soon after, giving Tom Daniels and Frost a chance to shine.
But Frost was bowled by Shane Snater and Daniels followed soon after, picking out a fielder at cover, to leave the hosts 90-4.
Terry Wyatt hit his first delivery faced to the boundary, but then picked out Howe at deep square leg next ball and Rob Mack - making his third benefit match appearance, but first for 13 years - was trapped lbw by Castle without troubling the scorers.
Nick Ison played a nice cameo of 37, before falling victim to the commentator's curse as he picked out a man on the rope, and stalwart Mike Larke followed soon after.
Peck hit his first ball for a six into the pavilion, where several members of the Essex staff were watching the final stages of the fourth Ashes Test, but then picked out Feroze Khushi next ball, leaving Curtis and Wright to produce some late entertainment alongside under-17 Ryan Brown, before Will Buttleman wrapped up the Essex win.
Despite defeat it was another day to celebrate for Upminster, after seeing their firsts avoid relegation and the thirds win the Premier Division title on Saturday.
Harmer then received a cheque for £3,500 on behalf of Essex, thanking Upminster for hosting the day and explaining how the money would go towards all aspects of the county programme, including the women's and disability sections.
R Patel c Evans b Ison 76
K Castle b Curtis 22
S Cook b Wright 12
J Porter c Daniels b Frost 15
T Westley c & b Frost 2
S Harmer c Daniels b Peck 39
R Bopara not out 58
D Lawrence c Pickering b Peck 23
F Khushi not out 0
Total (7 wkts, 20 overs) 264
Did not bat: N Browne, A Beard, A Nijjar, A Wheater, W Buttleman.
Bowling: Brown 2-0-35-0, Mack 2-0-15-0, Curtis 2-0-14-1, Ison 2-0-37-1, Wright 2-0-8-1, Frost 3-0-42-2, Danieels 2-0-28-0, Pickering 2-0-33-0, Peck 2-0-29-2, Evans 1-0-21-0.
J Evans c Browne b Porter 43
L Pickering b Jackson 22
T Daniels c Nijjar c Khushi b Freestone 5
W Frost b Snater 13
N Ison c Jackson b Pepper 37
T Wyatt c Howe b Freestone 4
R Mack lbw Castle 0
M Larke c - b Pepper 13
J Curtis b Buttleman 17
O Peck c Khushi b Buttleman 6
R Brown not out 7
B Wright c Plom b Buttleman 12
Bowling: Nijjar 2-0-13-0, Snater 2-0-20-1, Jackson 2-0-18-1, Howe 2-0-28-0, Porter 2-0-24-1, Freestone 3-0-25-2, Castle 2-0-17-1, Pepper 2-0-17-1, Buttleman 2-0-22-3, Patel 1-0-17-0.
Essex won by 63 runs.