Jamie Porter can spearhead Essex attack in Specsavers County Championship Division One
- Credit: Su Anderson
Graham Napier has backed Jamie Porter to come to the fore in Division One next season, when Essex take on the big boys of the Specsavers County Championship.
The 23-year-old has taken 55 wickets in the County Championship this season, at an average of 29.33, having taken 38 wickets in 10 matches at the start of his first full campaign last season.
Porter has been part of a prolific Essex attack this season, the club sealing the title against Glamorgan last week, despite defeat in that game.
However, there are likely to be some new faces lining up to bowl next season, with Napier and David Masters both retiring after this week’s final four-day match of the season, away at Kent.
Masters has taken 36 wickets at an average of 19.94 this campaign, while all-rounder Napier is the division’s leading wicket-taker with 63.
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“There will be some big boots to fill with myself and David Masters also retiring,” said Napier.
“There is a lot of experience there which will leave a hole in the bowling attack but Jamie Porter has proved for two seasons now that he can be the spearhead of the attack next year.
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“The club will also recruit who they need to replace us.”
He added: “From a batting point-of-view, Tom Westley, Nick Browne, Dan Lawrence and Ryan ten Doeschate have been scoring a lot of runs and have given us the platform to be able to bowl teams out twice this season.”
Napier has no regrets about hanging up his boots – he made the decision at the start of the season – and will shortly embark on a new career, as director of The Graham Napier Cricket Academy at Royal Hospital School, in Ipswich, later this year.
While he is looking forward to writing a new chapter in his career, you get the feeling Napier would have been a key component in what he believes will be an ultra-competitive Division One season.
“I think Essex will always be competitive, that’s the way we have always approached games,” added the Colchester-born 36-year-old.
“At the top level, a lot of it is about that attritional battle, taking games down to the wire and if you can’t win, making sure you are getting something from the game. That’s what we have got to continue doing.
Napier will miss Essex’s final game of the season, which begins at Kent today, because of a slight injury, but his long-time team-mate Masters, 38, should be involved.
“David has been at Essex for six or eight years and he has had a phenomenal career by anyone’s standards,” Napier enthused.
“He never misses line and length, has taken lots of wickets, and has been a great servant to the club.”
n Bowler Matt Quinn has signed a new contract with the club.
Quinn has extended his existing contract by an extra year meaning his contract will run until the end of the 2018 season.
The Kiwi seamer quickly become a pivotal figure for the club in all formats and has taken 22 first-class wickets in 2016 including the memorable spell against Gloucestershire where he finished with figures of 11-148.
“I have loved every minute of my time with the club so far and I am delighted with how everything has gone this season,” said Quinn.