May 23 2013 Latest news:
James Long, London24’s Essex blogger
Friday, June 22, 2012
“The Eagles are well into their T20 campaign now and, as mentioned earlier, this tournament is the only realistic chance Essex have of winning some silverware.”
This week’s article does have an overall sombre tone to it as I would personally like to wish the family, friends, colleagues and fans of Tom Maynard all the very best during this immensely difficult and emotional time.
Also, I would like to take a moment to praise Surrey Cricket Club, and Glamorgan Cricket Club, for their professional and excellent handling of a delicate situation.
The Eagles are well into their T20 campaign now and, as mentioned earlier, this tournament is the only realistic chance Essex have of winning some silverware.
The first game at The Oval against Surrey, which I was in attendance for, pretty much summed up Essex’s season so far. They looked fantastic with the ball, Bopara, Phillips and Napier in particular, and after hinting at promise with the bat, collapsed fantastically to fall well short in their run chase.
Couple of highlights quickly from the evening though, as it became evident that Essex weren’t going to reach their target a few of the Surrey fans started heading to the exits early.
A fellow Eagle fan a few rows in front of me jumped to his feet to ask the exiting Surrey fans; “IS THERE A FIRE DRILL?!” There was a mumbled reply from a young Surrey fan, but he was wearing a Manchester United shirt, in London, and was rightly shouted down.
Also, there is a tradition at Surrey that during the interval a man walks around with a version a “bazooka” and fires t-shirts into the crowd, my friend Mark who was next to me caught one.
He turned in delight as he unravelled it, unfortunately his delight quickly turned to disgust as he realised that had Surrey emblems all over it as well as the dates for their other T20 games.
On Wednesday night Essex had a chance to make amends for The Oval performance as they returned to Fortress Chelmsford to face Kent.
Essex batted first and made a competitive total of 158. The major contributions coming from Jimmy Franklin (this writer’s favourite!) scoring 39 and Captain-Fantastic Foster whacking an elegant 51 off just 27 balls.
It looked like Kent might chip the runs off fairly comfortable, with promising youngster Sam Billings scoring a classy 59.
However, Essex had other ideas an up stepped 2012 newboy Greg Smith to bowl two of the best overs he’ll probably ever bowl. Bowling at the death of the game, Smith bowled his second over and incredibly took 3 wickets, he then came back to bowl his third over and managed to take another two wickets!
This left Smith with figures of 5-17 and meant Kent needed something special off the last over.
Napier was to bowl it and it ended with Kent needing 4 to win off the last ball...Napier galloped in...bowled and sent the batsman’s off-stump cartwheeling away to give Essex their first win of the season! Excellent bowling from the Eagles yet again, although a few more runs next time might make things a little less stressful!
Essex travelled to the second (after Fortress Chelmsford) home of cricket, Lords on Thursday night to take on the Middlesex Panthers.
This is again a must-win game for Essex Eagles, not only because Middlesex wear the most awful patterned kits in cricket history, but because the T20 competition is one Essex need, and could, win.”