Essex looking for positive response

ESSEX are looking to respond positively from Monday’s disappointing defeat by Surrey when they face Somerset at the Ford County Ground tonight starting at 7pm.

Graham Napier misses the match because of a hamstring problem sustained whilst fielding against Surrey and Maurice Chambers comes into the 13-man squad.

The home side have won two of their five matches in the competition this year and apart from a comprehensive victory against Gloucestershire, the manner of their performances has been less than convincing.

On paper, the side is packed with potential match-winners and look an awesome outfit but collectively, they have yet to fire as a unit and batsman Matt Walker is hoping that they can discover their best form starting with tonight’s game.

“We’ve been generally disappointing and we are just not getting off to a good enough start with the bat in our matches,” said the former Kent left-hander.

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“It happened again at Surrey but it’s not only that aspect of our game, things are generally just not happening for us at the moment.

“All we can do is to keep working hard and give it our all in an attempt to get back on track and turn things around and get back on the winning trail. Hopefully, that will start on Wednesday against Somerset who are an exceptionally good side in this form of the game.

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“But they are probably just the type of opposition we need to face although it will be tough and every one of our players knows that they need to step up their game. We need to start getting some positive results together and start a consistent winning run and the sooner that happens, the better.”

Somerset, who have been widely tipped as potential winners of the competition, have injury problems. Alfonso Thomas is ruled out, like Napier, with a hamstring problem whilst Lewis Gregory is another absentee because of a wasp sting and Nick Compton is suffering with a neck injury.

The Cidermen have been unfortunate with the weather that has forced two of their matches to be called off but they remain amongst the leaders of the South Division and their director of cricket, Brian Rose, is anticipating a stern test against the Eagles.

“We have some tough games against some tough opposition in a short space of time,” he said. “It’s going to be a big test of our squad because we have a few injures which is frustrating.

“But we still have some big-hitters of the ball in the side and that makes us confident of beating anyone. Essex have to be respected but we shall be concentrating on our own game and if we play as we can, then there is nothing to fear.”

Essex squad: M Pettini, R Bopara, O Shah, M Walker, R ten Doeschate, S Styris, J Foster (capt/wkt), T Phillips, T Southee, C Wright, D Masters, A Wheater, M Chambers.

Somerset squad: M Trescothick (capt), C Kieswetter (wkt), R van der Merwe, P Trego, J Hildreth, J Buttler, A Suppiah, C Meschede, G Hussain, M Kartik, S Kirby, A Barrow, M Waller.

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