June 20 2013 Latest news:
James Long, London24’s Essex blogger
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
After stuttering to a loss in the quarterfinal of the T20 competition and falling an agonising two runs defeat in the County Championship, the last few weeks have summed up Essex’s season perfectly.
The T20 loss was especially disappointing. After restricting Somerset to a par score, Essex never really looked comfortable batting. After losing their “big-name” players cheaply only Tendo showed any resistance in making the defeat look slightly more respectable than it was.
The County Championship loss was actually desperately unlucky but an enthralling last day of cricket. Credit must go to Hampshire as well for agreeing to “set” Essex a competitive total to chase after both teams declared an innings each.
Essex needed 359 to win which they looked like they would struggle to reach at 222-7. Godleman, Smith and Tendo all got starts but failed to push on, Adam Wheater did scored a magnificent 98 however, but was out right at the end of the game leaving Essex only 2 runs short of victory.
Astonishingly, Wheater has come under certain criticisms for the manner of his dismissal. Wheater was caught on the boundary attempting to score a maximum, despite only 2 runs needed for victory.
Wheater claims the ball was in his “zone” and there to be hit, that is completely understandable and therefore he should rightly go for it. If it were not for Wheater’s innings Essex would have got nowhere near Hampshire’s total. Perhaps some blame should be attributed towards the other batsman for being unable to muster a decent score instead.
Wheater is a brilliant prospect for the future, both with his batting and as a possible successor to Fozzie behind the stumps. Wheater also made his way into Essex cult history by hitting a 6 against Middlesex during a Pro40 match. The 6 cleared the ground and smashed the window of an unsuspecting ice cream parked nearby. This shot prompted several jokes littering my twitterscope. Some were questionable;
“Wheater attempted to hit a 6, actually hit a 99”
...and some jokes were even more questionable;
“Wheater must own an Apple Mac because he hates Windows”
However, with Essex’s season looking like fizzling out youngsters such as Wheater should be given as much game time as possible. Promising batsmen like Godleman, Mickleburgh and Foakes need the chance to show what they can do. Also, emerging bowlers Topley (who had a brilliant T20 competition) and Mills need as many overs as possible. In particular, I’d like to see Tom Craddock bowl more, he looked very exciting when he first signed and with leg-spinners in particular, the more he bowls the better he will get.
Essex’s season is mostly finished now so we should look forward, and the future is youth.