Essex play first pre-season friendly

ESSEX play the first of their pre-season home friendlies when they entertain Surrey in a two-day game at The Ford County Ground starting at 11am tomorrow.

Head coach Paul Grayson has been delighted with the pre-season training.

“The lads have been excellent and we’ve had a superb response from them,” he said. “They’ve been working hard and I’ve detected that there is a steely determination to achieve well this year both as a team and individually.”

In the past two years, Essex have prepared for the season with a visit to Barbados where they practised and played a series of matches but this time around, they opted to stay in this country.

“We haven’t started the past two seasons as well as we would have liked and so we decided to stay here and prepare this year in conditions that we are likely to experience in the early weeks of the season,” Paul explained.

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“We are lucky to have a groundsman like Stuart Kerrison who has no problem with us practising and playing on the ground.”

The only injury doubt concerns winter signing Charl Willoughby who is likely to miss the match as he is suffering from a slight niggle.

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The match with Surrey continues on Thursday, before Essex then play Middlesex on Monday in a one-day game before facing Worcestershire in another two-day match starting on Wednesday, March 28, with both these matches also being staged at The Ford County Ground.

Entry is free on all days and the pavilion is open to all. Play is due to start at 11am, with 100 overs per day the anticipated schedule. Gates open from 9.30am.

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