Essex confident of Trophy success
ESSEX head into today's Friends Provident Trophy final against Kent without fear according to first team coach Paul Grayson.The battle between the two sides in the short format of the game has become something of an epic this season, with Kent currently holding bragging rights thanks to victories in three of the five meetings.
ESSEX head into today's Friends Provident Trophy final against Kent without fear according to first team coach Paul Grayson.
The battle between the two sides in the short format of the game has become something of an epic this season, with Kent currently holding bragging rights thanks to victories in three of the five meetings.
The last of those games saw Essex dumped out of the semi-finals of the Twenty20 Cup at the Rose Bowl - defeat coming by just 14 runs - so today's match at Lord's provides an ideal opportunity for revenge.
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“We know they are a good one day side and we respect them, but we know that they respect us as well,” said Grayson, who was man-of-the-match when Suffolk won the Minor Counties KO Cup at Lord's a year ago.
“They are a good all-round side but so are we and we certainly don't fear them.
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“I feel all the pressure is on Kent as they are the ones with the big wage bill. We may go into the match as underdogs but I know the boys think they can win.
“It's not so much a case of getting revenge, but making sure we have learnt from that experience of losing in the semi-finals. We were a little short that day in the skills level required but only just came up short, that match could have gone either way.“If we can raise our levels from that performance by 10 per cent then we really have a chance of winning. It just depends on who deals with the atmosphere and emotions that come with a packed house.”
Essex go into the match in good limited overs form. Since their defeat to Kent last month they have been propelled to the top of the NatWest Pro40 Division Two table with successive victories over Derbyshire, Northamptonshire and Surrey.
There are a couple of last minute injury doubts for the Chelmsford-based side though, captain Mark Pettini struggling with the reoccurrence of an eye injury, while wicket keeper James Foster has been on a drip to treat a mystery illness.
Other than that, Essex have virtually a full squad - the injured Maurice Chambers withstanding - thanks to the availability of England players Alistair Cook and Ravinder Bopara.
Bopara - who hit a club record 201 not out in the quarter-finals against Leicestershire - played for the England Lions against South Africa on Thursday.
“It makes a big difference to how you play when your team is winning,” Bopara said. “Then as a player you think less about it. You have that mentality that you are going to win every time you walk out.
“So you can go out and express yourself, you can do what you want because you feel collectively, as a team, you're going to win.
“Okay, you don't win every time but you have that feeling every time you go out.
“That's nice because I can go out and play the way I want to play, not worry about getting out in certain situations. I can play whichever way
I want because I know we've got good players in the back waiting to come in. It gives you the freedom to express yourself.”