Recent Match Report – Essex vs Warwickshire Group 1 2021

Warwickshire 284 (Briggs 66, Harmer 4-89) and 256 for 3 (Yates 120*, Hain 60, Vihari 52) beat Essex 295 (Browne 68, Walter 66, ten Doeschate 56, Stone 4-89, Hannon-Dalby 4-73) and 244 (Harmer 82*, Lawrence 55, Miles 4-70) by 7 wickets

An outstanding century from Rob Yates helped Warwickshire inflict a first defeat on Essex in two years in a slow-burning classic that was decided at 6.10pm on the final evening, with just eight scheduled deliveries of the match remaining.

To put the result in perspective, it was Essex’s first defeat in first-class cricket since 2019 – they had gone 21 games without a loss – and the first time since Simon Harmer arrived in 2017 they had conceded more than two – yes two – to lose a game in the fourth innings. Warwickshire, by contrast, went into this game having won only one Division One Championship match (or Bob Willis Trophy match) at home since September 2016. Harmer has not conceded more runs in an innings when he has not taken a wicket in his period at the club.

This feels like a significant moment for Warwickshire. Their new coach, Mark Robinson, has only been with the club a few months but already there is an added resilience to their cricket. They have now pulled off two challenging run-chases on successive Sundays, demonstrating not just ability but character. The victory at Trent Bridge gave them confidence, no doubt, but Essex present the toughest test in Championship cricket at present. To go toe-to-toe with them for four days and prevail represents an impressive performance.

It will be especially pleasing to them that Yates and Hain should have played such a prominent role in the victory. Both are, to a greater or lesser extent, products of the club’s system – Hain was scouted as a 14-year-old; Yates has played for the county at every level from U10s – and are seen as foundation stones in building for the team’s future. As Robinson put it afterwards, “It feels like we’re heading in the right direction. We’re not perfect, but I hope we’ve made the club proud today.”

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