Essex County Cricket Club v Somerset: Match preview

Ryan ten Doeschate
has led Essex to the brink of an unlikely title. Picture: ARCHANT

Ryan ten Doeschate has led Essex to the brink of an unlikely title. Picture: ARCHANT

With their white ball season done and dusted, Division One leaders Essex can now concentrate on Championship cricket as the final run-in to the 2017 season takes shape.

The county currently enjoy a 41-point lead in the race for the title and have five matches left to play starting with the visit of Somerset to The Cloudfm County Ground today.

Essex are the only unbeaten team in Division One and will be hoping to take another step nearer the title they last won in 1992 by completing the “double” over Somerset, who suffered an eight-wicket defeat at Taunton when the two sides clashed back in April.

The West Country outfit are involved in a battle to protect their top-flight status and arrive at Chelmsford in seventh position holding one of the two relegation places and 20 points adrift of sixth place Middlesex.

However, despite their comfortable points advantage, Essex head coach Chris Silverwood is fully aware of the challenge that lies ahead of his squad starting with the Somerset fixture.

“We are under no illusions that there are some very, very good sides in this division and we have a lot of hard work ahead of us in the remaining weeks of the season,” he acknowledged.

“These are very exciting times for us and we are all looking forward to getting back to playing a format that, so far, we have done really well in this season.

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“If we want to keep pushing home our advantage, then we have to continue playing some very good cricket and to pick up from where we left off in the Championship.

“Somerset will present a tough challenge and people should remember that they were challenging for the title last year so, although they are at the wrong end of the table, it’s not that they are a bad side and we will treat them with a lot of respect.

“That means sticking to our processes and game plans that have served us well so far and working hard to ensure that they work for us again.”

Essex squad

Ryan ten Doeschate (captain), James Foster WK, Mohammad Amir, Varun Chopra, Nick Browne, Simon Harmer, Sam Cook, Paul Walter,

Ravi Bopara, Dan Lawrence, Adam Wheater, Jamie Porter, Callum Taylor

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