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Essex County Cricket Club

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Essex County Cricket Club
One Day nameEssex
CaptainTom Westley
CoachAnthony McGrath
Overseas player(s)Eathan Bosch
Simon Harmer
Daniel Sams (T20)
Team information
Home groundCounty Ground,
First-class debutLeicestershire
in 1894
at Leyton
Championship wins8
Pro40 wins5
FP Trophy wins3
Twenty20 Cup wins1
B&H Cup wins2
Bob Willis Trophy wins1
Official websiteEssexCricket

Essex County Cricket Club is one of eighteen first-class county clubs within the domestic cricket structure of England and Wales. It represents the historic county of Essex.

Founded in 1876, the club had minor county status until 1894 when it was promoted to first-class status pending its entry into the County Championship in 1895. Since then, the team has played in every top-level domestic cricket competition in England.

Essex currently play all their home games at the County Cricket Ground, Chelmsford. The club has formerly used other venues throughout the county including Lower Castle Park in Colchester, Valentines Park in Ilford, Leyton Cricket Ground, the Gidea Park Sports Ground in Romford, and Garon Park and Southchurch Park, both in Southend.

The limited overs team has previously been known as the Essex Eagles but now play simply as Essex.



First XI honours

  • County Championship (8) – 1979, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1991, 1992, 2017, 2019
Division Two (2) – 2002, 2016
  • Sunday/Pro 40 League (5) – 1981, 1984, 1985, 2005, 2006
Division Two (1) – 2008
  • Refuge Assurance Cup (1) - 1989
  • Gillette/NatWest/C&G/Friends Provident Trophy (3) – 1985, 1997, 2008
  • Twenty20 Cup (1) - 2019
  • Benson & Hedges Cup (2) – 1979, 1998
  • Bob Willis Trophy (1) – 2020

Second XI honours

  • Second XI Championship (1) – 1973; shared (0) -
  • Second XI Trophy (0) –
  • Minor Counties Championship (0) – ; shared (0) -

Earliest cricket in Essex


It is almost certain that cricket reached Essex by the 16th century and that it developed during the 17th century with inter-parish matches being played. The first definite mention of cricket in connection with the county is a highly controversial match in 1724 between Chingford and Mr Edwin Stead's XI, which is recorded in The Dawn of Cricket by H. T. Waghorn. The venue is unknown but, if it was at Chingford, it is also the earliest reference to cricket being played in Essex as well as by an Essex team. The game echoed an earlier one in 1718 as the Chingford team refused to play to a finish when Mr Stead's team had the advantage. A court case followed and, as in 1718, it was ordered to be played out presumably so that all wagers could be fulfilled. We know that Lord Chief Justice Pratt presided over the case and that he ordered them to play it out on Dartford Brent, though it is not known if this was the original venue. The game was completed in 1726.

The earliest reference to a team called Essex is in July 1732 when a combined Essex & Herts team played against the London Cricket Club. In July 1737, there was London v Essex at the Artillery Ground, London winning by 45 runs. In a return game at Ilford on 1 August 1737, Essex won by 7 runs. References are then occasional until 1785 when the Hornchurch Cricket Club became prominent. This club had a strong team that was representative of Essex as a county. However, the sources differed among themselves re whether the team should be called Essex or Hornchurch. But there is no doubt that Essex was a First-Class county from 1785 until 1794, after which the county strangely and abruptly disappeared from the records for a long time. An Essex CCC was formed and held fixtures in 1860 and held an Annual General Meeting in 1861, but no further reference is seen until 1876.[1]

Club history


Essex CCC were formed on 14 January 1876 at a meeting in the Shire Hall, Chelmsford. The new club did not become First-Class until 1894, playing its inaugural first-class match on 14, 15 & 16 May 1894 against Leicestershire CCC at Leyton. It was the initial First-Class match played by either club, and Essex failed to win a match against any other county.[2] In 1895, both of these clubs and Warwickshire CCC joined the County Championship. In the club's first championship match, of their first championship season, James Burns scored 114 against Warwickshire at Edgbaston and this was the first century for Essex in First-Class cricket. George Frederick Higgins scored the second championship century for Essex in the same match putting on 205 with Burns for the fourth wicket. The club made a high score of 692 against Somerset with the veteran Bunny Lucas scoring 145, but the most notable feat was by Walter Mead who took 17–119 against Hampshire CCC at Southampton.

Essex CCC 1897

Essex improved rapidly from 1895, so that by 1897 they were in the running for the Championship, only losing it when Surrey beat them at Leyton.[3] They fell off after this despite beating a fine Australian team on a dubious pitch in 1899, never finishing higher than sixth between 1899 and 1932.[4] Their batting on Leyton's excellent pitches was generally good with the "Essex Twins" of Perrin and McGahey and the sound and skilful Jack Russell, but the bowling depended too much on Mead, Buckenham and later Douglas and when available Louden.

With the decline of these players, Essex fell to some of their lowest levels ever during the late 1920s. Their bowlers conceded over 40 runs a wicket in 1928 – about the highest ever with uncovered pitches. The emergence of Jack O'Connor, Stan Nichols and when available, the amateur fast bowlers Ken Farnes and Hopper Read, though, made Essex during the 1930s a dangerous if inconsistent side. They finished as high as fourth in 1933, and owing to their pace bowling maintained almost as high a standard up to the outbreak of war. The batting, however, tended to depend too much upon O'Connor and a number of amateurs who were rarely available, and Essex lost too many games to break the North's stronghold on the Championship.

After World War II Essex fell off, taking their first wooden spoon in 1950.[5] During this period it was left to Trevor Bailey to do all the pace bowling, and he was often unavailable due to Test calls, whilst spinner Peter Smith was frequently overbowled until he retired in 1951 – thus a strong batting line-up led by Bailey and Doug Insole could seldom win games. Not until 1957 did Essex come back into the top half of the table, but Bailey and Barry Knight never had support of sufficient class to permit them to reach the top of the table, even when Robin Hobbs became England's last successful leg-spinner late in the 1960s.

In the 1970s, with overseas players now permitted, Essex were able to gradually strengthen their team to achieve much more than they ever had before. This decade saw the advent of Graham Gooch, one of England's finest opening batsmen, even though he began his Test career with a pair against Australia in 1975. He didn't return to the England team until 1978, but after a slow start began to assert his dominance over Test bowlers as he had on the county scene. Dedicated to training, he forced his burly physique through a tough regime to prolong his career long after some of his contemporaries had retired.

Along with Gooch, county captain and England batsman Keith Fletcher built a powerful eleven in the late 1970s that dominated domestic cricket from 1979 to 1992, when Essex won six of thirteen County Championship titles. The bowling in the first half of this period was borne by tireless left arm seamer John Lever and spinner and prankster Ray East. The South African Ken McEwan and Fletcher were the best batsmen after Gooch. As Lever declined, England all rounder Derek Pringle and fast bowler Neil Foster took over, whilst John Childs crossed from Gloucestershire to take over as the chief spinner.

In the 1990s, Essex had more internationals, including Nasser Hussain, who captained England in several series. Bowlers Mark Ilott and Peter Such earned caps, as well as wicket keeper James Foster. Ashley Cowan toured the West Indies in 1997/98 without playing an international match. Essex were also able to sign England fast bowlers Darren Gough and Alex Tudor, after they left Yorkshire and Surrey respectively.

Led by all-rounder Ronnie Irani Essex won the National League Division 1 title in 2005, their first major title in eight years.

In 2006, Essex successfully defended their National League title in the newly rebranded Pro40 format by the narrowest of margins, having tied for the title on points. The club missed out on promotion in the County Championship only on the last day of the season, losing to Leicestershire while their rivals Worcestershire beat Northamptonshire. In that season's Twenty20 Cup Essex beat Yorkshire to reach the semi-finals at Trent Bridge, where they were beaten by eventual tournament winners Leicestershire. Essex also had Twenty20 success in the first floodlit Twenty20 Tournament, held between the four teams with permanent floodlights, in a series of 2 legged matches. Essex beat Derbyshire 1–0, after the first leg was washed out, and they won the second leg convincingly.

Essex was promoted back to Division one for the 2010 season.[6] Essex won the County Championship in 2017[7] and 2019,[8] and won the Bob Willis Trophy in 2020.[9] Essex won the 2019 T20 Blast, beating Worcestershire Rapids in the final. Captain and player of the match Simon Harmer hit the winning runs and took 3-16.[10]

Home grounds


The club currently plays all its home games at Chelmsford – Colchester's cricket festival has been suspended since the 2017 season.[11]



Current squad

  • No. denotes the player's squad number, as worn on the back of their shirt.
  • ‡ denotes players with international caps.
  •  *  denotes a player who has been awarded a county cap.
No. Name Nat Birth date Batting style Bowling style Notes
10 Nick Browne*  England (1991-03-24) 24 March 1991 (age 33) Left-handed Right-arm leg break
21 Tom Westley* ‡  England (1989-03-13) 13 March 1989 (age 35) Right-handed Right-arm off break Club captain
23 Feroze Khushi  England (1999-06-23) 23 June 1999 (age 25) Right-handed Right-arm medium
47 Robin Das  England (2002-02-27) 27 February 2002 (age 22) Right-handed Right-arm medium
56 Charlie Allison  England (2005-03-02) 2 March 2005 (age 19) Right-handed Right-arm off break
64 Dean Elgar ‡  South Africa (1987-06-11) 11 June 1987 (age 37) Left-handed Slow left-arm orthodox UK passport
8 Noah Thain  England (2005-01-13) 13 January 2005 (age 19) Right-handed Right-arm fast-medium
11 Simon Harmer* ‡  South Africa (1989-02-10) 10 February 1989 (age 35) Right-handed Right-arm off break Overseas player;
T20 captain
20 Matt Critchley*  England (1996-08-13) 13 August 1996 (age 27) Right-handed Right-arm leg break
22 Paul Walter*  England (1994-05-28) 28 May 1994 (age 30) Left-handed Left-arm fast-medium
87 Jamal Richards  England (2004-03-03) 3 March 2004 (age 20) Right-handed Right-arm Fast
95 Daniel Sams ‡  Australia (1992-10-27) 27 October 1992 (age 31) Right-handed Left-arm fast-medium Overseas player (T20 only)
99 Luc Benkenstein  South Africa (2004-11-02) 2 November 2004 (age 19) Right-handed Right-arm leg break UK passport
17 Adam Rossington*  England (1993-05-05) 5 May 1993 (age 31) Right-handed
19 Michael Pepper  England (1998-06-25) 25 June 1998 (age 26) Right-handed
77 Jordan Cox  England (2000-10-21) 21 October 2000 (age 23) Right-handed Right-arm off break
14 Aaron Beard  England (1997-10-15) 15 October 1997 (age 26) Left-handed Right-arm fast-medium
16 Sam Cook*  England (1997-08-04) 4 August 1997 (age 26) Right-handed Right-arm fast-medium
29 Shane Snater* ‡  Netherlands (1996-03-24) 24 March 1996 (age 28) Right-handed Right-arm fast-medium
44 Jamie Porter*  England (1993-05-25) 25 May 1993 (age 31) Right-handed Right-arm fast-medium
65 Ben Allison  England (1999-12-18) 18 December 1999 (age 24) Right-handed Right-arm fast-medium
66 Eathan Bosch  South Africa (1998-04-27) 27 April 1998 (age 26) Right-handed Right-arm Fast Overseas player

Essex players with international caps


Essex county cricketers who have during their career also represented their national team in Test cricket, One Day International cricket or Twenty20 International cricket.




  1. ^ "The Essex County Cricket Club". Chelmsford Chronicle. 11 January 1861. p. 3. Retrieved 6 November 2022 – via The British Newspaper Archive.
  2. ^ Pardon, Sydney H.; John Wisden's Cricketers' Almanac; Thirty-Second Edition (1895); pp. 205–207
  3. ^ Pardon, Sydney H.; John Wisden's Cricketers’ Almanac; Thirty-Fifth Edition (1898); pp. 45 and 56
  4. ^ ^ Wynne-Thomas, Peter; The Rigby A-Z of Cricket Records; pp. 55–58 ISBN 072701868X
  5. ^ Wynne-Thomas, Peter (1983). The Hamlyn AZ of Cricket Records. The Hamlyn Publishing Group Ltd. p. 62. ISBN 0-600-34667-6.
  6. ^ "Essex 'patient' on player search". BBC Sport. 12 November 2009. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  7. ^ "County Championship Division One Table - 2017". ESPN cricinfo. ESPN. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  8. ^ "County Championship Division One Table - 2019". ESPN cricinfo. ESPN. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  9. ^ "Bob Willis Trophy final: Essex draw with Somerset but take inaugural title". BBC Sport. 27 September 2020. Retrieved 17 February 2023.
  10. ^ "T20 Blast final: Essex Eagles beat Worcestershire Rapids to win title for first time". BBC Sport. 21 September 2019. Retrieved 17 February 2023.
  11. ^ Jennings, Ryan (29 November 2018). "Colchester Cricket Festival suspended again next season". www.gazette-news.co.uk. Archived from the original on 8 February 2018. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  12. ^ "The Home of CricketArchive". Cricketarchive.com. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
  13. ^ "The Home of CricketArchive". Cricketarchive.com. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 4 May 2013.

Further reading